Launched in December 2015 as a virtual conference, IoT Slam® has become one of the world’s premier IoT conferences. In 2017, the event format turned hybrid, with the inaugural live in-person event commencing at the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA. The event developed from The Internet of Things Community, the world’s largest and longest standing CxO community of senior business leaders and IoT practitioners consisting of 22,000+ members.
The event series has to date covered standards, interoperability, open source, integration, security, infrastructure, business models, research, innovation, best practices, technology, industry implementation and compliance from a horizontal enterprise industry perspective across the entire spectrum of IoT. The overall topics were much as would be expected including 5G, and the role of security. There were several sessions which had great titles, but were more focused on specific products from smaller companies.
Convergence leads to the Artificial Intelligence of Things
Oliver Shabenberger, SAS CTO, and COO, presented on the Artificial Intelligence of Things, which highlighted the history and role of AI in IOT. The combination of technology as a catalyst for impact was a key theme which Oliver termed as the AI of Things: a combination of the 'megatrends' of:
Oliver also made the comment that "Data without analytics is value not realized." (A sage fellow speaker later added the addendum "Data without analytics is revenue not realized")
Momenta Partner's own Strategy Partner, Jim Fletcher, presented on the importance of Edge Computing and how he foresees Edge becoming a significant aspect of IoT solutions across a range of scenarios. He talked about a concept he refers to as "Hives", which are Edge Clouds composed of resources aggregated to accomplish a specific business purpose. He also highlighted the impact that analytics will have on the data collected by IoT solutions.
Network of Things leads to business growth
Day Two of the event was focused on Healthcare but included a presentation by Rahul Vijay, Head of Global Telecom Sourcing at UBER, who talked about the wide range of areas that UBER is working in. Besides the autonomous car, they are now also in newer forms of transport including bikes (always connected), boats and food transport. Many of these peripheral industries are moving faster than the original business with Rahul noting:
“UBER is a network. Think of it as a network of things and people. In most countries, UberEat is growing faster than UBER because food delivery is not regulated, and people like to eat.”
Healthcare is ripe for digital transformation
The closing Keynote was by IBM Fellow Mac Devine who spoke about IoT for healthcare and life science stating that "healthcare had the biggest growth opportunity is it relates to IoT. I think that's also true for the convergence of cognitive analytics, IoT and blockchain."
He proceeded to outline an industry that's stuck with health care legacy systems which were implemented pre-internet, pre-mobile and not interoperable, with some rather disturbing transactions. For example, it's "$250b to process 30 billion healthcare transactions. 15m of those were faxes alone, lots of paper, lots of manual processing."
The combination of AI, blockchain and IoT coming together in real time ability offered a means for very diverse parts of an ecosystem to be able to share data and do it in a secure way. IBM has created a blockchain division focused on creating solutions across thirteen industry verticals. They are also heavily engaged with hyperledger, a collaborative effort to advance blockchain tech by identifying and addressing important features for a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers that can transform the way business transactions are conducted globally, both open source and open standards-based.
Another panel on AI discussed data ethics, hot on the heels of the EU's GDPR with discussion around the importance of deciding what data not to collect and how you get rid of data or avoid collecting it in the first instance.
The conference was attended by around 450 people with over 2000 virtual participants - it's a model that may prove enticing to other conference organizers, particularly for attendees wishing to gain knowledge without the prohibitive barrier of travel and accommodation costs.