Reflections on the 2016 IoT Summit

The Everything IoT Summit 2016 was held for the 2nd time at Sydney’s Australian Technology Park. The event was organized by Eitan Bienstock, the founder of Everything IoT, who believes that IoT will be the next big technology wave after PCs and mobile. The Hon. Victor Michael Dominello, The Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, NSW, opened the Summit by sharing a few IoT projects that the NSW government is working on.

He also challenged the audience to think of new ways to use IoT and big data in the future. Here are a few of those ways…


IoT Is Not Just For Humans

The Summit explored a range of ways IoT has impacted our lives, as well as the lives of other living things. For example, Genevieve Bell of Intel Corporation shared her thinking around the Internet of Living Things. There are many IoT projects that have given humans new ways to learn about animals, from the cat secrets project (tracking felines revealed that cats can have two homes), to the cow chores project (cows are capable of milking themselves up to 6 times a day!), and finally to the snow owl project (who knew that Owls could reveal weaknesses in IoT infrastructure).

Apart from these interesting and fun projects, the Summit speakers also challenged us to think about the impact of IoT technologies on the animals themselves. These projects including gluing a camera onto the animal’s body, giving an electric shock, or playing a sound to communicate with animals. Are these intrusions worth the benefits? Is this fair to treat animals like this for the benefit of future humans?


Tech Solutions to Infrastructure Challenges?

LPWAN (Low-Power Wide Area Network) could be the biggest innovation and opportunity to support IoT growth. LPWAN is a wireless, wide area network that is used to connect IoT devices with low-bandwidth connectivity, focusing on range and power efficiency. Matthew James Bailey, IoT Pioneer, talked about few projects that he has worked on, including a few focused on food security and crop monitoring to increase yield. These projects require infrastructure for IoT devices to send data back to a central point for further (big) data analysis. With the current WAN infrastructure, it is hard and expensive to connect up the IoT in rural areas. LPWAN could be the answer to having an easy and cheap IoT infrastructure.


Can IoT Create Better Leaders?

IoT may help equip the next generation of strategic leaders to make decisions in an increasingly complex and data-driven environment. Jason Jameson of IBM Watson IoT talked about the importance of cognitive IoT, a combination of cognitive computing technologies and data generated by connected devices. With cognitive IoT, we can have a smart system that gives insights to humans in ways our own brains are incapable of thinking. As the world continues to move at the speed of technology, current data sources may no longer be sufficient. Humans may need to get insights from new data sources, and the IoT can help.


Bringing IoT Back to Reality

Technology needs to be used to solve current, real problems. Technology for the sake of new technology itself is not what we’re after. This is another interesting insight from the Summit, this time delivered by Tim Harvey, GM Regional and Agribusiness Banking for NSW at Commonwealth Bank. Mr. Harvey talked about his recent project to introduce technology to growers. The CBA team learned that when they first listed to pain points, and then brought in technologies to solve specific issues, they were much more likely to receive positive feedback and gain adopters.

This seems obvious, but taking a user-centered (and problem-centered) approach can be challenging, especially when there are so many exciting technologies to experiment with.


In summary, the IoT Summit was an interesting event to attend, and we came away with some insights and inspiration. We look forward to a packed house at next year’s IoT Summit.