How to Attract Industrial Customers and Make them Understand that IIOT is not Science Fiction

How to Attract Industrial Customers and Make them Understand that IIOT is not Science Fiction


I have not missed any of the previous IoTSWC since I collaborated with Fira Barcelona in the first conference in 2015. Every year I have written posts to summarize my visit. Last year my key takeaway in the article “IOTSWC 2018: Business 2 – Networking 2” was  “In order to turn this conference into a world benchmark for Industrial IoT, the organizers must find a balance between business and networking. I suggested that in order to attract more end customers they should include more sessions explaining real success histories presented by customers and more verticalization of solutions in the exhibitor’s booths. The same advice applies this year.

Read below my analysis of # iiotswc19, a conference that the organizers dreamed once it became such an attractive event for the industrial Internet as the prestigious  MWC, but the reality of IIoT has made it less attractive year after year, at least for the IoT pioneers and many  IIC members like ABB, Schneider, Bosch, GE, Cisco, Fujitsu, Huawei, Ericsson, Accenture, Intel, PTC,……

I will start commenting on the official news

DAY 1 RECAP: “Connecting everything opens up business opportunities”  –

Sorry Richard Soley, I do not agree with you when you said: “IoTSWC19 is about real success stories, not technology.” Most of the sessions and discussions were technical, very technical and few industrial customers explaining their business success histories.

Vendors keep excessive secrets about new references in a market that need transparency and good news to flourish. Do customers really believe that it is an industrial secret that will put their business at risk for unveiling a successful IIoT project in a conference?

DAY 2 RECAP: “The value of IoT is not in connectivity but in the ability to combine data from different sources”  –

Sorry Joe Barkai, I do not agree with you when you said “Many people think that the value of IoT is in connectivity, but the connectivity is going to become a commodity. The value of IoT is in being able to aggregate different types of data to make better decisions”.  Unfortunately, I could not talk with you understand why you consider IoT Connectivity the Ugly Duck of IoT.

Probably this year IoT connectivity was king at #iotswc19. In spite 5G IoT was minimum represented, the battle for IoT connectivity among large Telco Operators like VodafoneOrangeDT IoTBICS; IoT MVNOS like Transatel; IoT LPWAN connectivity providers like SigFoxEverynetThingStream; satellite operators like Eutelsat, all present in the exhibition area, show the value of select the right connectivity for each business case and the need to make interconnectivity among IoT networks more easy, cheaper and secure. I regret Telefonica did not come this year (a symptom that something happens with Telefonica IoT).

DAY 3 RECAP: IoT and AI, the perfect match –

I agree with Marta Muñoz when you said “Now companies are looking at data and trying to make sense of it”, but what can she say when presenting a study on the combination of AI and IoT conducted by IDC and sponsored by SAS.  Luckily for iotswc19, “Artificial Intelligence has not devoured yet the Industrial Internet of Things”.

Sorry, Mark Wolff, I do not agree with you when you said: “IoT won’t work without AI”. There are many use cases in which we do not need AI to be successful with IoT. But I understand that working at SAS you must keep the focus on your company strengths.

As you know I wrote a book/report about Edge Computing. This is a personal area of interest; therefore, I dedicate some time to talk with some vendors like FogHornDellHPEMicrosoft, IoTech. There are still a few references and the speech is very technical.

Regarding IoT Security, all companies need to continue working hard to avoid security and privacy continue being the weak points of their story.

As many colleagues, including Organizers, asked me during the conference about my feeling of this year edition, here below some topics to improve at #iotswc20. As Deloitte is helping them to improve the next edition, hope they can read my article and take some notes.

Topics to improve at #iotswc20

  1. PROGRESSIVE SHRINKED CONFERENCE – No one who has come other years can think that this has been the best conference ever. Perhaps the new visitors or new opportunistic companies like Nutanix that have opted to come to Barcelona despite the political situation in Catalonia, El Brexit, the US-China trade war and the economic slowdown have nevertheless had their reward. However, I was sad looking at the booth or presence of some years ago leader IIoT companies like Cisco, Dell or PTC and the absentia of ABB, Schneider, Accenture and many other top IIC member. In the positive news, big companies like Microsoft, SAS, HPE, Deloitte, Vodafone, Orange,… still committed with this conference.
  2. THE SPANISH ZONES AND THE IIOT VENDORS APPROACH TO MAKE BUSINESS IN SPAIN  I blame organizers one more year for distinguishing between Spain, Catalonia and Barcelona zones as if they like to demonstrate the world where the IoT innovation and development is.

I blame to the most relevant Spanish companies like LibeliumAmpliaIoTSens, for prefer to pay for their own privileged space based on their current interests and strategy rather than lead a huge Spanish Pavilion.

I blame Spanish and Catalonian Governments for not create a powerful Spanish IoT Ecosystem rather than 17 regional mini-ecosystems. Now that we are campaigning for the next elections, more dialogue would be good to analyze how to improve our national IoT brand and make the country more attractive to investors.

I do not blame foreign IoT vendors RelayrEurotech  …) for not betting on investing in Spain yet. Here the IIoT looks like more future than the present.

  • KEYNOTE SESSIONS –   With all my respects to 2019 edition keynote speakers,  the sessions were a déjà vu of key legacy messages. I miss Jonathan Ballon and other visionaries form vendors, analyst and industry customers predicting the future of IIoT, not the past or the present.
  • THE AWARDS WINNERS CEREMONY – Congrats to Eiffage together with Bioservo Technologies; Cartesiam.ai with éolane; and Zyfra. I feel stupid because I did not talk with any of these companies. Not in my radar (except Zyfra). Maybe If I was aware of the selected companies in advance I could meet them and attend the ceremony.
  • The AI and BLOCKCHAIN FORUMS – I have not attended any of these Forums. What I expected is that the Industrial IoT solutions that require these technologies were part of the main IIOT Forum. Why take them out of the main Forum? If they have other solutions not related to IIOT, why bring them to this conference?
  • SIDE EVENTS  – As a loyal visitor of IoT events I like to join parties in exhibitors’ booths at the end of the day while discussing industry outcomes. However, I feel uncomfortable when I registered for several interesting workshops that I hardly ever can attend because I must reschedule meetings and decide to attend sessions that occur at the same time. I think that filling the agenda with so many workshops prevent us from getting maximum value from the sessions and the exhibition area if we decide to attend these workshops. Looks like the objective is to bring more people to the conference rather than bring more value to people who attend the conference.
  • STARTUP .FONT – In me search of IoT Security vendors, I was talking with some of the 10 selected Startups (Boaz Shedletsky CEO of Sternum – IoT Security and Robert Brown Co-Founder of Jitsuin)  but was not able to attend their pitch in front of a jury formed by industry leaders and investor. I hope the organization share the video and create a pitch area in the startup zone to minimize walking loss time.
  • TEST DRIVES –  Very interesting meeting with Stephen Mellor (CTO at Industrial Internet Consortium® (IIC™) in which we talked about how the announcement of three new Test Drives (Connected Worker Safety, Intelligent Video, and IoT Sensor Implementation) available as part of its Accelerator Program will help companies advance their digital transformation strategies. We share some ideas to involve more customers next year and make the conference more attractive with more industry and business focus and less technical sessions.
  • NETWORKING BROKERAGE EVENT – I complemented my visit with 3 pre-scheduled 20-min meetings. I decided whom to meet and I established connections that I hoped can accomplish my future projects and reach my goals. The first time I used these brokerage services a couple of years ago was not fruitful. I try one more time this year in spite I knew most of the people/companies here do not have a budget to pay for my services. Unfortunately, I was late in 2 of my meetings because I had to reschedule other meetings with exhibitors and could not find a new slot/table free.  It will be great to update the platform with new free slots suggestions so you can try to meet the people before you leave. But in any case, good service.
  • The value of partnership in Industrial Internet of Things” was one of the articles I wrote in 2015 for the Organization. In 2019 we see this value. Big Vendor booths showed the value of their ecosystems. It will be great if the ecosystem convinces customers to present together success histories next year.

Summary

During my 2 days at IoTSWC19 I verified that we continue with the IIoT evolution, not revolution. This year the conference was not the best ever. Fira Barcelona and Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) should work hard to attract more industrial customers and they need to evangelize with examples to show SMB enterprises that IIOT is not science fiction or future but present.

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