On 28th and 29th October the first EAI IoT360 Summit was held in Rome under the patronage of the European Commission – Representation in Italy.
The event, aimed at fostering innovation in Europe in the context of Internet of Things (IoT), attracted a wide audience of well engaged participants, offering a rich combination of exhibits, innovation-oriented sessions and speakers with proven experience in the domain of turning research ideas into successful businesses.
The Summit was opened with a welcome message from EC Representation in Italy Marilena Berardo, Prof. Tiziana Catarci from La Sapienza and EAI and CREATE-NET President Imrich Chlamtac, all highlighting the importance of turning innovation into growth and opportunities in this booming IoT domain.
Big industry was represented well across manufacturing and telecom operators domains, with keynotes from Ericsson (Jan Färjh) and IBM (Gabi Zodik) as well as panels from leading experts of Telecom Italia (Roberto Minerva, Fabio Bellifemine), SK Telecom (Kang-Won Lee), Alcatel Lucent Bell Labs (Fahim Kawsar) and standard bodies like OMG and Industrial Internet Consortium (Richard M. Soley).
From this industry-segment world-class speakers, the audience was able to gather insights into opportunities and challenges as we move from connecting “everybody everywhere” to “everything everywhere”. While focus on wireless technology research will enable within few years access speed in the region of 1Gbps (Prof. Maurizio Decina) we still commit toward design of flexible networks that can offer the right performance according to what type of edge devices they are connecting. A common trend that was outlined in many sessions throughout the summit was the increasing empowerment of the network edges as a means to support envisaged billions of connected objects without unnecessarily overloading and / or grinding to a halt the operation of the core network. From the perspective of application domains, automotive and health came on top of the list: this is where IoT is envisaged will bring the biggest business opportunities.
To support the innovation spin of the event, IoT360 Summit also featured many contributions from representatives of recently formed SMEs, growing their business in the domain of the Internet of Things. More specifically the booming London IoT community was well represented with Mischa Dohler (Worldsensing, King’s College) and Usman Haque (Xively, Thingful.net, Umbrellium), Michela Magas (Stromatolite), Dom Guinard (Evrythng) as well as the community of open platforms and makers with Martin Spindler, Claudio Carnevali and Simone Cicero animating a lively discussion with Charalampos Doukas (CREATE-NET).
A common view that emerged amongst many of these innovators was that European IoT community started its journey already few years back with worldwide leadership, which it somehow failed to retain as IoT technology made its way up to the peak of popularity in the Gartner Hype-Cycle.
The main message however was that huge opportunities still remain. There is now the need to ensure the research community can be more exposed to understanding the difference between products and prototypes; heterogeneity is to be embraced rather than tamed with cumbersome comprehensive interoperable solutions that are unpractical to use; IoT-harvested data should be structured around user consent (to strive where European consumers have unique needs); the importance of creating markets by engaging users while designing / deploying solutions was also enhanced during the Summit, as well as the fact that merging powerful edges with IoT sensing and actuation will enable moving towards new “skillset delivery networks” paradigms. These were the key messages that came out of the two-day summit discussions on technology and innovation.
Besides these more technology oriented tracks, to achieve the promised 360 degrees coverage of the IoT innovation landscape, the Summit also included sessions dedicated to consensus-building enablers, focusing on the importance of standardization and social-acceptance. Attendants of the Summit also took the possibility of exposing and discussing their ideas with funding and IPR experts following a whole plenary session on funding opportunities for IoT, where the European Commission also took the stage to illustrate Horizon2020 new requirements in the context of IoT (Ari Sorsaniemi talking about upcoming deadline for IoT collaborative projects in LEIT-ICT H2020 workprogramme).
The busy schedule of the IoT360 Summit also featured a whole track dedicated to innovation matters, with speakers from acceleration programmes, IPR monetization experts and private funding representatives.
On the exhibit front participants also had the chance to see a wide variety of demos and vote for their preferred one, with the stand of the EU iCore project scoring the highest number of preferences and winning the best-exhibit award.
The event attendance numbers, as well as the highly positive response and feedback from the audience, partners and speakers, confirmed the community interest for this IoT360 Summit, strategically positioned to bridge the gaps between researchers community-only conferences and more business oriented type of events. The Summit was a first of a series in the domain of IoT innovation and is due to take place on a yearly basis from now on.