Gavin Whitechurch

EVP Product & Strategy, TMT at KNect365, an informa business
San Francisco Bay Area

Leading the strategic focus, and current & future product development in Technology, Media & Telecom at KNect365, informa's communities and events business.

Helping drive the development of technology & communications industries through providing executives with focused market insight and targeted business connections.

Leading the strategic focus, and current & future product development in Technology, Media & Telecom at KNect365, informa's communities and events business.

Leading informa's development in Silicon Valley and their West Coast business presence.

Innovators of Smart Homes, Cities and Everything Gather in Santa Clara
Mukesh Buch
May 14, 2018

Q: Would you give us a brief history of the Internet of Things World Event?

A: The first Internet of Things World Event was held in Palo Alto, California in 2014. It was a hotel-based conference attended by around 700 participants. In contrast, last year’s event was one of the world’s largest IoT shows with an attendance of 12,000.

The focus of our event has evolved over the past five years, from a conference for IT solution developers, to an industry-wide trade show encompassing developer, service providers, and commercial users. By expanding the focus of the show to include the primary users of the IoT ecosystem, we have been successful at rapidly expanding the scope and size of the audience.

Q: What is the primary focus of this year’s event?

A: The focus of the show is the convergence of IoT technology and business; and specifically, on IoT’s impact on digital technology and its strategic implementation. A key issue of the show is how the digital transformation landscape is transforming business.

While the overall thrust of IoT has been known for some time, the implementation has varied, with some aspects exceeding expectations and others not developing quite as expected. Much of the focus of the conference program is on sharing information about best practices, marketplace experiences, and cutting edge IoT development.

In short, the focus for this year’s event is about IoT in action.

Q: Who is the target audience?

A: This year’s conference program is centered around 10 major tracks which include: Smart Cities and Industrial Manufacturing; Energy & Utilities; Smart Property (Construction, Buildings and Homes); and Autonomous and Connected Cars. So, the event covers a diverse range of markets and technology and attracts people from a wide range of vertical markets. It also provides a forum where attendees can learn about the latest solutions and IoT developers can showcase their latest products.

Q: When and where is the event taking place this year?

A: The event will take place May 15 through May 17 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. We have scheduled a pre-conference session for May 14. Our Executive Keynotes Day is on May 15, which is a plenary session with the entire executive level audience. The following two days mostly focused on the vertical market tracts with two Developers Conference tracks running at the same time. The market tracts focus on business management decisions, strategy and IoT implementations.

Q: What will the Developers Conference tracks cover?

A: The Developers Conferences are for professional developers who are engaged in building devices and formulating the solutions. The conference tracks run from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm for two full days and include of a variety of formal presentations. The 30-minute presentations focus on the latest technology and techniques for building applications.

Q: Would you tell us a little about the exhibitors and sponsors?

A: We have about 400 exhibitors signed up for the show this year and expect that the exhibit floor will be sold out. Some of the major exhibitors include companies like Samsung, Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Nordic Semiconductor, AT&T and Verizon. Our title sponsor is Avnet.

Microsoft is one of our other major sponsors. An interesting new sponsor this year is Mastercard. The company anticipates that IoT will provide many different opportunities for them in the future and they are looking for ways to become involved.

What is interesting about the show is its wide range of appeal up-and-down the technology chain, ranging from component manufacturers to major cloud systems – all offering a range of application and solutions for IoT.

Q: Do you have designated pavilions or tech huddle sessions where smaller groups can interact with the exhibitors, developers or vendors?

A: Yes, we provide numerous opportunities for attendees to meet and share their ideas on specific topics especially for attendees on the conference tracks, which are organized around subgroups. We have what we call Networking Gardens, which are networking sessions for the various vertical tracks. We also have a VIP networking party, that takes place at the Levi’s Stadium on May 15, a networking pool party, and a VIP lounge. So, there are a range of activities and opportunities for attendees to meet and exchange ideas.

We will also have two stages set up on the show floor, which will offer scheduled programs highlighting various IoT topics. They will include areas such as security issues related to IoT and new voice interfaces that are changing UI. They will also focus on various markets segments like agriculture and aviation.

What is interesting about the show is its wide range of appeal up-and-down the technology chain, ranging from component manufacturers to major cloud systems – all offering a range of application and solutions for IoT.

Q: Can you give a breakdown of the expected attendees by function and industry?

A: For the most part, our audience consists of senior level decision-makers who are either interested in implementing IoT solutions in their companies or are developing IoT solutions for the market. Some are mid-level technical managers looking for operational technology, but many are CTOs or CEOs. About 25% of the attendees fall into the developer category and do the nitty-gritty work of creating the building blocks of IoT and IoT solutions.

Q: Is there a dominant IoT focus at this year’s event?

A: IoT is a very diverse technology with many different, potential applications, but the hottest areas at the moment are Industrial IoT and Smart Cities. So, we have strong representation from the industrial supply chain companies, retailers, and banking groups. There are also quite a number of chief information officers and chief innovation officers from cities looking for ways to implement new technology in their cities.

The Autonomous Vehicle and Connected Car areas also have a substantial following and we have attendees that represent most of the players in the automotive industry. Whether its Energy & Utilities or Smart Homes, the event offers plenty of opportunities for attendees to connect with those technology supplies or decision makers in each of the different submarkets.

Q: Do you plan to have an event app available for attendees?

A: The IoT World web site provides up-to-date information about the program where attendees can see the full agenda. It includes detailed information about the Developers Conference, speakers, show floor, sponsors, and our startup activity, which is called Project Kairos.

In terms of networking capabilities, we will be releasing an app before the show opens that will provide a platform for attendees and exhibitors to connect at the event.

Q: What is Project Kairos?

A: The event’s startup activity is called Project Kairos, which allows new companies the opportunity introduce their ideas at a very low cost. We have over 100 startups exhibiting over the two days of the show. They also participate in our pitch off competition for a chance to win our Innovation of Things Award.

Kauris Project offers startups a high-value opportunity to reach both their IoT market and a targeted audience of potential investors, as well as to network with their peers.

By expanding the focus of the show to include the primary users of the IoT ecosystem, we have been successful at rapidly expanding the scope and size of the audience.

Q: Are there any other aspects of the show you would like to highlight?

A: Our VIP Outreach and Management program is an important feature of the show. We have a dedicated staff that work with the VIPs to make sure they maximize their time at the event. They help manage the VIP’s calendars and arrange meetings with other company representatives.

I think Project Kairos, the Developers Conference, the vertical market, and the tracks, as well as our focus on IoT in Action, from strategy to implementation, are the key features of the show this year.

Q: Do you have a keynote speaker at this year’s event?

A: We have keynote sessions every day with a variety of keynote speakers. For example, Walter Copan, a Trump appointee charged with sorting out the Cybersecurity Framework for the United States, will be talking about the security challenge around IoT. We also have keynotes from a number of major cities looking into the role that IoT can play in aiding, supporting relief efforts, and predicting the impact of natural disasters.

The Chief Information Officer of City of Miami and the CIO of Farmers Insurance will be discussing the impact of Hurricane Irma using IoT. We also have the Chief Data Officer of the City of San Diego talking about how they were predicting the Thomas Fire using IoT, what lesson they learned, and how those lessons can be used to react more effectively to future fires.

We also have Erik Ubels, the Chief Technology Officer at OVG Real Estate talking about the world’s smartest building - The Edge - which is in Amsterdam and currently occupied by Deloitte. Kiki Del Valle, the senior vice president of Mastercard will address some of the transaction aspects of IoT.

In health safety, we have a speaker from Sutter Health, a major healthcare provider, talking about how they are using IoT in connected healthcare and precision medicine. We have a wide range of individuals from different industries like the Vice President of Research and Development from The Kroger Co. talking about how they use IoT, and the Chief Human Resources Officer of GE Digital talking about the challenge of bringing IoT to the workforce through skills development.

Q: Can you shed some light on your title sponsor Avnet?

A: Avnet is a staunch supporter of IoT World and will be giving the opening keynote presentation. They’ll be talking about how to learn from the market, implement IoT solutions, and how work within the ecosystem IoT partners. They will also give some insights into how to build applications for the retail healthcare industry.

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