Reflections on Returning to IoT North America

As the IoT industry was just starting to glom onto the term the “Internet of Things”, I attended the very first IoT North America Conference in Milwaukee, WI in 2014. Like others, I had been doing “IoT” and working with connected devices outside of my day job for many years. In fact, a good friend and I had been running the Arudino / Open Hardware group in Minnesota since 2011 called Arduino.MN.

Back then, the technology industry just hadn’t put a name to the future state of these devices connected to the Internet and flooding the market over the next 5-10 years. Like Mobile Applications / VR / Big Data / Machine Learning / etc it was all conceptual. However, like others, I knew that this would be a game-changer. The fact there was an Internet of Things conference just 5 hours down Interstate 94 was appealing to me. So, in May of 2014, we made a family trip (literally) with my wife, 2 kids, and my in-laws taking a trip to Milwaukee where I could geek out on all this awesome new technology and they could experience the city of Milwaukee.

It was a blast! The conference was a single track and an intimate setting of many thought leaders from some of the largest companies: IBM, GE, NXP, Schneider Electric. I took vacation time from the dulls of my day job and went to this entire conference on my own dime, not knowing what would come from it.

Well, it’s now 2017 and the IoT has matured beyond anything that I could have imagined. This past week my co-founder, Rod and I taught a 4+ hour session on “IoT – Prototype to Production Workshop” at IoT North America to a group of industry professionals that like me in 2014, are looking to learn about how they can take this new technology and make it valuable to their business. Everyone in the workshop got hands-on and worked with kits from our partners at both M2M DataSmart and Particle!

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet countless other professionals whom I can call friends in this industry to help advance what was started many, many years ago. In fact, well before 2011 the ideas of Ubiquitous Computing, Physical Devices, and Calm Technology all had a huge influence on the direction of technology today. To that point, through passion from the IoT community in Minnesota and a number of key individuals, IoTFuse: Conference 2017 is now in its 3rd year and will be the largest Internet of Things conference the upper midwest has seen. Lab 651 will be there supporting the event and sharing our experience. We hope to see you on April 23rd!

If you have helped advance the Internet of Things in Minnesota, I thank you. We have a great community here and we’re so excited to have the opportunity to return to IoT North America this week to share not only what I have learned from others since 2014, but also to let the world know that Minnesota is leading in this next wave of computing.