Behind the Scenes at IoT Solutions World Congress 2018 in Barcelona 

IoT for All presents exclusive interviews with industry leaders who met at IoT Solutions World Congress to collaborate on the IoT solutions to tomorrow's most pressing problems.

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Flying under the American radar since its inaugural event four years ago, IoTSWC has impressively grown their annual congress over 40% in the past year. Organized by Fira de Barcelona in partnership with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), IoT Solutions World Congress (IoTSWC) has become the most important industrial IoT (IIoT) event on the calendar; with 16,250 attendees from more than 100 countries and 341 companies participating this year. The world’s leading IT companies, software platforms, hardware manufacturers, telecommunications professionals filled the packed halls with discussion centered around digital transformation in varying industries including networked transport, smart manufacturing, healthcare, energy and utilities, construction and infrastructure, open industry, cross-sectional IoT technologies, blockchain, and artificial intelligence.

IoT For All was able to meet with the organizers of IoTSWC, including Roger Bou, Director of IoTSWC, Richard M. Soley, Executive Director of the IIC and President of the IoTSWC advisory committee, and Bill Hoffman, President and COO of the Object Management Group and learn more about their aspirations.  When discussing the success of the event, Bou expressed his gratitude for the growth of the conference and stated, “for me what is really important is not the numbers, but the quality. We have attendees from over 160 countries. The difference between IoTSWC and other tech events in places such as Dubai is that 43% of our visitors come from the vertical markets. At IoTSWC, the decision makers and buyers in manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, and other large industries are all represented.”

To Bou, the strength of IoTSWC and its growth is in part because of the inclusivity of all industries. Attendees see the event as a solution for their industry. Soley added, “It’s worth mentioning that there’s an IoT event every week somewhere in the world. You could point at this one [IoTSWC] and say it’s the biggest, because it is the biggest, but that’s not the interesting thing. The interesting thing is that it’s focused on customer applications and end-user stories. We insist on a user story for every session, panel and keynote. It’s what the audience wants”. 

In addition to meeting with the organizing committee, IoT For All canvased the entire show and spoke with representatives of more than 14 companies to get their unique insights about the market. One thing is clear, solutions are what customers are clamoring for and the IoT industry is rising to meet the demand.

SAP

SAP Leonardo was relaunched in 2017 as a complete digital innovation system spanning a myriad of enterprise-specific problems. Dr. Marc Teerlink, Global VP at SAP Leonardo, New Markets and AI, spoke about them at IoTSWC. He told us that Leonardo is “not just a platform. It is a layer/stack of technologies, but most important it’s pre-solved business problems”. SAP can use Leonardo to co-innovate with clients to bring solutions to market and work with OEMs as either clients or partners going forward.

At IOTSWC, Dr. Teerlink worked to provide layman explanations of what AI is and what it means to SAP. The goal for SAP is to use AI “to do the same thing with more data, less effort and more convenience”, He made a point to say that AI is defined as a stack of technology infused with knowledge that will augment or replace (through automation) one piece of a puzzle. For more intelligent and efficient systems to come to fruition, AI must be adopted by the enterprise.

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Hitachi Vantara

IoT is “architectural disruption, not a product” according to Brad Surak, Chief Product and Strategy Officer of Hitachi Vantara. Brad leads Vantara a new business entity within Hitachi to take advantage of the broad portfolio of innovation, development and experience of Hitachi Group companies for offering data-driven solutions to commercial and industrial companies.

Brad says the IoT market is “still pretty early, scaled implementations are starting but we are still early. The data management side of IoT is unique, and scaling is the real problem”. As data flows in from the edge, companies need to be able to manage data in a more flexible way. Hitachi data systems plug into Vantara to help scale and manage data well.

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Microsoft Azure

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a $5B commitment to IoT and is focused on advancing the industry on several fronts from digital twins to IoT Central with a unique approach to partnerships that drive customer solutions.

Image Credit: Sara Armbruster

According to Director of Microsoft Azure IoT, Sam George, and Bert, as the industry begins to grow, companies need to simplify IoT to connect to business owners who do not understand it. Microsoft sat down and asked themselves, “What do companies need to build IoT solutions” for the future of digital transformation to succeed? The answers to this question resulted in the announcement of Microsoft’s support for the Azure security center for IoT. This center allows security engineers and IT departments control to point it at Azure subscription with services in it. Best practices and alerts (security score). This will work with all IoT Hub, device SDKs, etc.

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Bigbelly

The world leader of smart waste & recycling systems for public spaces, Bigbelly helps communities deploy smart, solar-powered, sensor-equipped waste & recycling stations that communicate real-time status to collection crews to enable efficiencies. CEO, Leila Dillon explained during our interview that by being smart waste focused, Bigbelly provides a better way for municipalities and the education and private sectors to handle waste. With an ~80% reduction in collections, companies benefit both from the hardware (bins) and software (status of how full a bin is through the cloud and company software) that Bigbelly develops.

What’s most interesting about the company is how they handle and manage power. Bigbelly has a patented method to harvest power and the way the company handles that power enables them to put bins in locations with very little, if any sun, eliminating a myriad of issues and helping organizations “keep waste in its place”.

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Real-Time Innovations (RTI)

Real-Time Innovations (RTI) is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity company behind the mature and popular Data Distribution Service (DDS). DDS provides distributed middleware that enables subsystems to share mission-critical data in real-time with a guaranteed quality of service. The announcement of RTI Connext 6, the first connectivity software for highly autonomous systems, brought a lot of excitement to the conference floor.

According to David Barnett, VP of Products and Markets at RTI, the ability to handle large data efficiently through an optimized, cross-platform service allows industries to more easily integrate their systems. RTI’s deployed systems include medical devices and imaging; wind, hydro and solar power; autonomous planes, trains and cars; traffic control; oil and gas; robotics, ships and defense.

Follow RTI on Twitter — RTI also won the 2018 SIIA CODiE Award for Best IoT Solution

SAS

As one of the largest and most respected analytics companies in the world with over 14,000 employees worldwide, SAS provides bespoke and general purpose analytics products that drive industry solutions across verticals including forecasting, drug trials, retail, oil and gas, and supply chain. Jason Mann, Vice President of IoT, spoke about the IoT division’s focus on becoming the analytics engine of choice for all manner of IoT applications. By shifting from a renewal business model to flexible device- or consumption-based pricing and providing sophisticated, hardware-agnostic distributed analytics enhanced with edge services, SAS provides unrivaled breadth and depth for customers. Mann points out that as a market, IoT has a “broader expanse of data that is providing a path to additional value in many industries”. Given their long history of deep subject matter expertise in many industries and through recent investments in distributed edge computing, SAS is well-positioned to drive sophisticated IoT solutions for customers in the years to come.

Image Credit: SAS Portugal

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Multefire Alliance

The MulteFire Alliance is an independent and international member-driven consortium of developers and users in the application of LTE. Multefire envisions extending the LTE ecosystem, enabling new vertical markets and use cases and delivering an interoperable ecosystem. One step toward these goals was the announcement of their Release 1.1—an update to their Release 1.0 that already supports neutral host and private LTE-based deployment models.

Lori Mesecke, Public Relations and Strategic Communications for Multefire, told us that Release 1.1 was optimized for IoT applications, adding additional support for spectrum bands (along with NB-IoT and eMTC support) extending the LTE ecosystem for new applications.

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Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)

The world’s leading organization transforming business and society by accelerating the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) is focused on accelerating the adoption of the industrial internet and addressing the biggest issue, confusion.

Stephen Mellor, CTO of IIC told me that the biggest risk for project managers is what you don’t know you don’t know. There needs to be a mechanism to evaluate where each company is in their IIoT process. This problem led to IIC’s development of the IIC Resource Hub, an automated tool to direct individual PMs to a particular area of interest, vastly eliminating the amount of risk a PM starts with and helping them find the fastest way from a project idea to a fully-functioning and running system.

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Behr Technologies Inc. (BTI)

Founded in 2018, Behr Technologies Inc. (BTI) is the worldwide licensee of MIOTY™, the leading wireless communication technology for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). According to their CEO, Albert Behr, the Toronto-based company is competing against LoRA as the WiFi of the IIoT. Their first commercial product was launched in April 2018 at the Fraunhofer Institute in Hannover Messe, Germany. The institute, where the MP3 was invented, developed the MIOTY protocol that is now commercialized by BTI. BTI is poised to take on LoRA with its LPWAN solution that has facilitated communication in a 20km radius, enabling the transmission of 1.8 million messages per day.

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Rigado

In eight years and after about 100 projects, Rigado has figured out where the gaps are in connectivity and gateway issues. The company provides edge-as-a-service (EaaS) infrastructures for Commercial IoT solutions such as asset tracking.

CEO, Ben Corrado and VP of Corporate Development, Brad McMahon from Rigado spoke to us about how many companies have little competency in how to transfer data off an IoT network, process the data and push it to the cloud. This is where Rigado stepped in with their hardware gateways and App store model that provide visibility into the entire workflow of the gateway. Users are able to see what applications are connected and what is running in one single place. At $9 a gateway per month, Rigado is offering EaaS solutions that are becoming more popular in smart buildings, logistics and healthcare.  

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Telit

Offering the industry’s broadest portfolio of IoT products and services, Telit introduced the xE310 family of miniature IoT modules to enable secure, flexible connectivity.  Alon Segal, CTO and Errol Binda, VP Marketing at Telit shared that the new form factor will enable Telit to meet growing demand for ultra-small, high-performance modules for wearable medical devices, fitness trackers, industrial sensors, smart metering, and other mass-production applications.

Image Credit: Chris Carpentier

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Crosser

With a focus in IIoT, Crosser is enabling edge computing and enterprise integration with user-friendly, flow-based software solutions and a real-time analytics engine. The Crosser edge computing solution enables real-time enterprise integration that offloads cloud services and provides decision-making capabilities close to IoT sensors and edge devices. CEO, Martin Thunman shared that one of the challenges that Crosser sees in the market is a shortage of developers with the software skills required to build solutions. Because of this challenge, Crosser’s flow-based programming methodology has successfully made it possible for non-engineering customers to bypass complex, general purpose IoT services from cloud providers and go directly to storage and analytics; thereby accelerating time to market.

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Momenta Partners

Momenta Partners is a group of connected industry specialists with three distinct but interrelated practices: advisory, talent and venture. Insights Partner, Ed Maguire expanded on Momenta’s approach and described how the three business units work synergistically to solve customer and business problems. The advisory group works with clients early in their IoT journey to help them discover pain points and advance their business with a digital playbook. The talent group identifies and recruits the human capital required to execute business goals for both clients and startups and the venture arm invests in promising companies focused on connected industry raising seed to Series A rounds. The three-pronged approach allows Momenta to focus on established industries that need to embrace new technology, new business models, and new ways to go to market. From cloud computing to AR, blockchain to VR, Momenta helps companies understand the realities of IoT beyond just the theoretical benefits and focuses on culture and talent as a key enabler for success.

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Yanzi Networks

When talking to Yanzi Networks CTO, Lars Ramfelt, I was intrigued by the advantages Yanzi has over its competitors. According to Ramfelt, “Our platform is the most trusted, the most scalable, the most secure, and the most easy-to-use sensor platform for smart buildings and offices. We use state-of-the-art IoT and cloud technology to provide solutions for the most discerning tenants, clients, and partners.”

As one of the lowest cost data aggregation solutions on the market, Yanzi specializes in smart spaces and uses standard technology to allow for scalability that is fast and easy. All of these features combined with an enterprise security model has brought them to the forefront of the real estate and facility management industry.

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