Another year another CeBIT, only this time things are a bit different.

The Exhibition

CeBIT Australia Showfloor - Image Courtesy of Hannover Fairs

CeBIT Australia Showfloor – Image Courtesy of Hannover Fairs

Over the past few years CeBIT has made an art out of unintentionally alienating the Australian M2M and IoT community, slowly long time exhibitors began to pull out and the show and last year we were left with a skeleton crew of people flying the M2M flag.

Fast-forward to 2015, there is still a distinct lack of M2M companies participating in the exhibition – alongside M2M Connectivity, M2M One and KORE were Telit/GLYN and Multi-Tech Systems. Speaking to other exhibitors there is a distinct feeling of trepidation; a second year in the Olympic Park and mainly brand new staff at Hannover Fairs left a lot of us unsure what the show would hold.

M2M Connectivity and KORE decided to take out a large portion of the show floor together and create their own unofficial “M2M Zone” to showcase solutions, and products in a single location. This certainly helped as it gave visitors some direction but also allowed us to showcase a large portion of the M2M/IoT ecosystem in one location, with raw components like modems, modules, antennas and sensors from M2M Connectivity, connectivity to mobile and satellite networks from M2M One and KORE and finished devices in healthcare, water management and telematics from mCareWatch, Pervasive Telemetry and MTData. It was much easier to give those wanting more depth of knowledge on M2M a strong frame of reference.

Over the 3 days the feelings of unease began to settle as visitors, delegates and VIPs began to visit stands and walk the floor things felt sunnier. The new staff at Hannover Fairs put on an excellent face, taking the time to really engage with exhibitors asking them about previous shows and how they can improve for the following year, and assuring that 2016 would finally bring an M2M specific area and focus to the exhibition.

As a showcase for traditional ICT solutions and enterprise level technology CeBIT still remains Australia’s leading show. The Start-Up section and university technology displays are great areas to find some exciting new developments – As an exhibition for M2M/IoT focused businesses there is still some work to be done by Hannover Fairs but I feel like the new team behind the show are forward looking and can bring something new to 2016.

 

Paul Budde welcomes everyone to The Internet of Things Conference - Image Courtesy of Hannover Fairs

Paul Budde welcomes everyone to The Internet of Things Conference – Image Courtesy of Hannover Fairs

The Internet of Things Conference

CeBIT has always done a great job with content for their Campus and Conference sessions and this year was no different. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to spend the whole say in the IoT Conference but what I saw was excellent.

Opening up and MCing the session was Australian Telecommunications stalwart Paul Budde. It was interesting to compare the style of someone like Paul who I would call more of a telecommunications generalist, to a M2M subject matter expert like Shane Murphy who MC’d, Connect’s IoT conference. Paul’s line of questioning was very much focused on the big picture and future trends where Shane was more on the immediate future and what companies are doing now.

Andrew Scott from Telstra was the first up, providing some key insights into how the countries leading telco intends to innovate and compete in the IoT space, whether their decision to spread themselves across large swathes of the IoT ecosystem is a good one or not will have to wait and see but for now they are pushing the industry forward in Australia and bringing in leading edge global solutions into the local market.

Tom Fisher was up next, flying the flag of a company that has really put their money where there mouth is in the cellular M2M/IoT space, Jasper. Tom is a great speaker and while a some of the content was a bit marketing heavy he provided some quality insights into how Jasper view the IoT and backed up his content with relevant case studies. A great soundbite from Tom’s presentation was “The Internet of Things isn’t really about Things, It’s about service”, a view I strongly agree with.

It wouldn’t be an Internet of Things conference without everybody’s favorite prediction, the Ericsson 50 Billion! This time it was actually delivered by Ericsson, Warren Chaisatien presented some good views as well as some stargazing, I’m not sure how pushing 5G as the new frontier for IoT is going to help as customers still struggle with the decision to move to 3G or LTE.

I missed a majority of eHealth NSW’s presentation but what I did see seemed to talk about empowering health providers make more informed decisions which is always welcome.

The panel discussion on collaboration managed to get away from the core topic dominated by Simon Kaplan from NICTA and Craig Morton from Moving Data who used the session to pull up some of the shortcomings of the industry in a discussion that was refreshingly critical. There is a tendency for the majority presentations we see paint a wholly rosy view of the industry, where having a more “warts and all” approach might help us identify the areas we need to work on to accelerate uptake and collaboration.

M2M One had the honor of running one of the afternoon round table sessions, being given the dubious title of “Getting started in the IoT”, luckily we had a great turnout from companies in various stages of implementation. The main standout from our session was the gulf between those already implementing connected technology strategies and those with no idea how to get started. This is symptomatic of the noise in the industry; the hype has overtaken rational thought, especially in larger companies causing a decisional paralysis. Daryl Chambers and myself wanted to enforce that it’s not about having an IoT strategy but more about using connected technology to compliment business initiatives.

I really liked some of the points raised by Simon Kaplan in his later solo session on collaboration. His view of Australia as the ‘Petri Dish of Asia’ (in a positive way!) is one I’ve shared for some time and anyone who wants to push Australia to the front of the IoT industry gets my vote.

Hopes for 2016

On the whole CeBIT left me somewhat conflicted, as an exhibitor the show underwhelmed but I feel like 2015 was a bit of a “rebuilding year” in which new staff had the unenviable task of taking over mid-planning. As a delegate and participant in the conference side of the show, I felt like the show was a success with some great local speakers and relevant content.

I’d like to urge as many people in the industry as possible to provide feedback to the new team at Hannover Fairs and show them that there is an appetite in the industry to participate in the show as long as they can address the concerns we’ve raised over the past few years and hopefully 2016 can be a strong year for M2M/IoT at CeBIT.

Did you attend CeBIT? Do you have some thoughts on how shows in Australia can better showcase the Machine-to-Machine and Internet of Things space? Let us know on Twitter @M2MOneAU or on LinkedIn at M2M One

James Mack

General Manager – M2M One

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog site are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of M2M One or M2M Group.

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