The Destiny of Future-Focused Technologies

Experts Deliver Insights at Executive IoT and Cloud Security Summit

If you pay attention to the headlines, you would think that, as a country and as a society, we have never been more divided. Because we are humans who crave the concept of clan, it is only natural to seek experiences that exemplify how we can come together.

What better way to discover new ways to connect than at an invite-only Executive IoT and Cloud Security Conference? Think I’m joking? Last week, I traveled to Bellevue, Washington, to the Predictera Summit to join an exceptional group of professionals dedicated to exploring how intuitive technologies can create a world with less friction.

Here are a few of the highlights:
More Clarity on the Future of IoT

Everyone has something to say about IoT and John O’Brien, CEO of Radiant Advisors, has compiled this into an actionable report. This market study explains why IoT draws snarky speculation. As it turns out, the industry is simply in early stages. Many companies use IoT “to invent new business models and capitalize on insights into customers and products.” Therefore the utility stays contained within company silos. Many speakers asserted that the next big leap will come when cloud and data science platforms rise up to fill these identified “technology gaps” and that next-generation wireless network, 5G, will be a key enabler.

This analysis was easily translated into practical application.  Satyen Yadav, General Manager, IoT Edge & Device Services at Amazon Web Services, presented the AWS IoT button, an end-to-end solution available to both developers and enterprise customers. The WiFi-based button comes with a companion mobile app that registers in the cloud with one click, making the transition to trigger services simple and immediate. MillerCoors is branding their button for ‘emergency beer’ delivery.

Other speakers covered Workplace IoT and how connected technology is creating more integrated, intuitive work experience that is customized to the user thanks to GeoFencing, beacon and sensor integration.  Chris Matthieu with Citrix, presented how empowering things will empower people to work more effectively and efficiently while creating a more enjoyable workplace experience.

Insights on Why Data Matters

As connected devices collect more information and integrate with existing open data sets, we are becoming a world that is awash in data. Next comes the challenge of organizing, standardizing formats and sharing.  But all of this activity and the best devices are only as good as the insights they can generate, a point eloquently made by Daniel Spurling with Endra. The right IoT models focus not only on the business operations, but on enabling the core strategies of the company that deliver real value.

So with that knowledge, what are companies to do? Jack Phillips with the International Institute for Analytics (IIA) showcased their Analytics Maturity Assessment (AMA) which overlays two industry frameworks to deliver “an honest, unbiased, quantitative assessment” of how an organization uses analytics. It’s similar to a report card on a company’s ability to increase revenue, reduce costs, optimize performance and improve overall decision-making.

Greater Assurance About Security

Perceived threats about online security are a major factor in why smart city and connected technology aren’t advancing as quickly as they could. The seamless integration of IoT comes with concerns about privacy and data security. So it turns out that it is people, not machines that are causing the congestion.

There was significant conversation on these topics from the perspective of autonomous vehicles and what the next few years will mean in terms of mobility. Adrian Pearmine, with DKS Associates, and Elliot Katz of DLA Piper outlined the incredible potential the sector has to increase driver safety and decrease traffic congestion and fatalities. And again, it is humans that will slow the roll in this sector. Opacity and a lack of clarity around regulatory and legal issues coupled with the political complexity of communicating and educating the general public will govern the pace of these technologies.

Speaking of the inefficiency that humans bring, it turns out that machines are more efficient at detecting cyber threats than people are, which is another level of automation that is being developed in the evolving world of IoT. Nicole Eagan, CEO and Founder of Darktrace, passionately demonstrated her company’s technology, which is a sophisticated tool that leverages AI to build immunity against attacks, 77 percent of which are launched against cloud services. Eagan explained how hackers are leveraging IoT devices in the “new area of borderless networks” and how visibility and the ability for executives to visualize the risks are important factors in combating the ever-increasing threats.

A City Perspective

The conference took place in the City of Bellevue, a town of nearly 135,000 people with its own identity and focus with close neighbor, Seattle. Chief Technology Officer, Chelo Picardal, provided some insight on how the city is shifting from a Seattle suburb to an urban center and a “gateway to the world” citing that the city is 40% foreign born. The area’s economic growth is impressive, but meeting the expectations of a tech savvy, innovation expectant resident base can have its challenges. “We are constantly focused on how to deliver services better, aligning our vision and principals so that we use technology strategically and enhance its return on investment (ROI).”

Bellevue is focused on six main elements in their smart city strategy: transportation, safety, connectivity, water, buildings and energy. When citing impressive stats such as the highest level of cardiac survival rates, Picardal is quick to cite the regional 911 system bolstered by wireless dispatch which is then enabled by a robust fiber network. For a decade and well in front of most municipalities, first responders in Bellevue have enjoyed an adaptive traffic management system that comes with the ability to preempt traffic signals.

Stay tuned for additional information from this first-class conference including interviews with Seattle CTO, Michael Mattmiller and other subject matter experts who presented at Predictera. At the end of the one-day gathering, I not only felt more informed about the status of IoT data and the cloud, but also more hopeful about how these connected technologies can contribute to a more secure, sustainable and friction-less existence.