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Summary of IoT Tech Expo (London) 2018

If you weren’t able to attend IoT Tech Expo in London last week, this article will get you up to speed on what happened at the conference.

IoT Tech Expo was unique in that provided opportunities to connect with leaders at the intersection of internet-of-things(IoT), artificial intelligence(AI) and blockchain.  Speakers showcased discussed their projects and many vendors shared their expertise.  Presentations and panelists discussed real-world implementations from John Deere, Porsche, Pfizer, Harley Davidson just to name a few.  The conference itself covered a lot of ground: there were entire speaker tracks for IoT Developers, Connected Industry, Connected Transportation, AI Analytics for IoT, AI in the Enterprise, Blockchain for the Enterprise, Blockchain for Enterprise, Cryptofinance & ICO Strategies, Blockchain for Business, and Blockchain development.

This article shares some the key take-aways and interesting anecdotes from IoT implementations we collected from the show.

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Key Takeaways

There were a few recurring topics that surfaced in almost every IoT presentation and panel discussion:

  1. Spend time building a business case
    Almost every presenter had experience working on a project that focused on building a technical solution to a product definition which later failed due to problems related to customer adoption, internal (sales & marketing) adoption, internal executive support, and other issues. All recommended establishing a strong business case, so when the project hits a bump there is executive sponsorship or customer support to help overcome obstacles.
  2. Security Considerations
    Explicit consent for GDPR is a real challenge when building physical devices that produce data is used for multiple purposes. One example was second generation parking solutions that sent video streams containing sensitive data to the cloud for processing.  Most third-generation solutions have moved video processing capabilities to the edge where all video streams are processed and deleted on site and only anonymous analytics are collected in the cloud.  In addition, vulnerabilities with physical devices can be more profound than your online information.  Panelists presented multiple approaches and solutions to address security issues from hardware, networking, data privacy etc. 
  3. Technical Solutions
    Many presentations described technical solutions and real-world implementations of hardware, software, analytics, blockchain and other technology solutions that are running live. Although the technical landscape is vast, most technical problems are considered to have been solved in one form or another, it's just a matter of finding the right partner and appropriate for your specific solution

Here are a few anecdotes shared at the show that I found captivating describing some of the most cutting-edge technical solutions:

Funding Programs for IoT

If you have a new IoT idea or project, there are several funding sources you need to be aware of and can tap into.  There was a unique collaboration between Indiegogo, Arrow and IBM working together to support start-ups with funding, hardware expertise and cloud expertise respectively.  A panel shared available funding sources available in the UK:

  • Government grant programs for innovation and technology
  • Government loan programs
  • Crowd-funding for pre-orders
  • Crowd-funding to sell equity in your company a new offering from Indiegogo
  • ICOs are relatively new and emerging way of funding a project
  • University/Industry/Corporate partnerships
  • Startup Competitions

If you want more information, for specific funding programs in North America email: [email protected]

Computer Vision in Agri-tech

Even though Esprida has a lot of experience in Agri-tech and IoT projects (based on building ConnectedCrops for real-time crop monitoring), John Deere showcased an innovative solution the developed in conjunction with a recent AI acquisition in the valley.  Traditional approaches to applying herbicides have been to a tractor to spray an entire field to protect from pig-weed and all kinds of unwanted plants.  John Deere is commercializing a new solution that will dramatically reduce the amount of herbicides in our food supply.  Their solution installs multiple cameras directly on the boom arm that are pointing towards the ground.  The computer vision algorithms analyze the video to identify unwanted plant growth and unwanted plant growth (i.e. pigweed), and then re-orient precision sprayers to spray herbicides directly onto the weeds and not on the crop.  The solution reduces sprayers and herbicide costs but more importantly will help put less herbicide in our food supply.

 

Blockchain and IoT working together

The show was heavily attended by suppliers and vendors of blockchain and implementations in multiple industries from gaming o equity.  One of the most advanced show was a company who have built a smart-contracts platform for soft commodities.  They currently have 17 sites under operation, and over 500 farmers represented by the system the system measures the quality and quantity of stocks and automatically triggers smart contracts when the silos are filled.  This is the first of its kind development in the commodities industry.  Currently, farmers don’t get paid until their grain has completed administration and processing, and commodity traders are not able to trade until they officially have title of the commodity; this new platform speeds up the entire process where farmers can get paid as soon as silos are filled.

 

Cool Companies

This provides a snapshot of some of the interesting new product offerings presented at the show:

Esprida – IoT platform vendor focusses on Connected Products Solutions (rather than generalized IoT Platform) and specializes in the Innovation process.

1nce – A new MVNO vendor that has an IoT optimized SIM cards with support for many bands, a single price for 500Mbs of data over a 10-year lifespan.  Insert SIM once and forget about it.

Indiegogo – Crowd Funding Platform that can be leveraged to raise money from pre-orders as well as equity in your firm.  A large portion Indiegogo’s campaigns are Connected/Smart IoT product, and they offer some relationships with Arrow and IBM as a resource to new start-ups.

Bentley - provided some insight into the solution they have developed to update firmware in their vehicles.

Porsche – did a presentation about their use of blockchain to validate supply chain and original parts and components.

Zerynth – IoT agent company that has a platform that supports almost 20 different microprocessors and hardware environments.  A very versatile development environment that will work on just about any embedded environment.

Amplified Engineering – IoT gateway company that sells very robust gateways to pull data from existing or new sensors and send information to the cloud.

Big Clown IoT – Is an interesting hardware provider who makes rapid-prototyping kits to production devices.  They have literally plug’n’play boards that snap-together to dynamically add/remove capabilities for power, CPU, Sensors, buttons, LCDs, and connectivity.

 

Summary

The IoT Tech Expo held in London provided a unique European venue to see blockchain, IoT and AI solutions in action.  The show a success and shared a lot of real-life solutions in action today.  Key IoT takeaways were: spend time validating the business case, security in IoT is different from traditional IT security, and most IoT technology problems have been solved, it's just a matter of finding the right partner. 

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

Asad obtained his B.Math from the University of Waterloo and then his MBA from Cornell. Asad has been at the helm at Esprida, responsible for Platform Development, Technology Integration/Delivery, and Marketing. Asad has spoken at conferences about IoT technical adoption and also designed IoT solutions that solve technical challenges of integration costs, machine learning, artificial intelligence, security, big-data, high-speed messaging, and data visualizations.

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