At IoT World, held in Santa Clara, California, from May 13-16, 2019, manufacturers joined companies from a wide number of industries to network and explore how the Internet of Things is changing the way people do business. Zach Butler, portfolio director for IoT World at Informa Tech, sat down with Manufacturing.net to provide an inside look at the show.
Launched in 2014 by Informa, IoT World has grown exponentially along with its subject matter. In 2019 about 12,500 people attended, up from 700 people the first year. Butler noted that while the show grew by leaps and bounds from 2014 to 2016, it has seen continued but more gradual growth after the initial spike in interest. This matches the rate of adoption among companies; the show was primed to catch the increasing adoption of IoT. Now, nine different tracks that span IoT allow companies that use multiple applications to network and learn based on particular subjects.
This year, he said the show floor is seeing more physical/industrial applications and vehicles. From automotive, IoT is trickling into other sectors.
“Automotive is probably the pinnacle of application because automotive covers everything,” Butler said. “Auto manufacturing is one of the most precision industries out there, and then car makers need to make vehicles that can save lives. So they use a lot of different technology in there.”
Butler specified that he thinks of IoT as a movement, not a technology. Of course, the term covers a wide variety of devices and systems. Some see artificial intelligence as a component of IoT, while Butler speaks of it as an analytic tool sitting on top of some of the IoT capabilities in wide use now.
As for the path to the future, Butler said that he’s seeing more companies move to edge computing and on-premise compute. Many companies are choosing to use edge computing instead of going to cloud computing.
“We’re still in the cloud revolution,” Butler said. “Companies are going to change and reinvent and miss out on capturing potential new areas of business.” In particular, he said, these areas include data services—information as a service. “[Manufacturers can] own more of the life cycle of the customer with maintenance and training.”
For companies that are already involved in As-A-Service support but want to move further into analysis and other applications of IoT, Butler said, look at your goal first, not what technology might be presented to you. “Start with the outcome. Are you looking to improve the quality of your product? Or are you looking to find new business models? Once companies know that, they need to know how to change … and IoT provides data to create those outcomes.”