Thoughts on CeBIT Australia 2015 and The Internet of Things Conference

Thoughts on CeBIT Australia 2015 and The Internet of Things Conference

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.

Thoughts on Connect Expo 2015 and the Internet of Things Summit

Thoughts on Connect Expo 2015 and the Internet of Things Summit

Last week saw the sophomore year of Connect Expo a new tradeshow in Melbourne. For those of you not familiar here is a blurb form their website complete with their not so subtle jab at a certain show in Sydney that might be happening next week… real smooth guys.

“ CONNECT™ is a large annual trade show organised in partnership with the Victorian Government, which runs together with ten business summits – designed for business people to understand how the convergence of a number of technology megatrends are creating a perfect storm of disruption which will impact the way we live and do business in the future.

CONNECT™ offers a contemporary alternative to Australia’s more traditional, large-scale exhibition/s held in Sydney. “ – http://www.con-nect.com.au/about.html

 

Almost double the number of exhibitors from 2014

Almost double the number of exhibitors from 2014

In a lot of ways Connect was a vast improvement from the 2014 show, it felt bigger and more impactful with nearly double the exhibitors and a lot more content. Overall I thought the show was a good one, I’d have liked more focus on M2M/IoT but hey I’m biased…

Saying that; even with its improvements the show still feels like its not quite found its identity yet especially with the Summits – it felt like the organizers threw a collection of 2014s tech buzz words in the air and caught the first 10. As a marketing exercise I can completely understand where they are coming from, but as a participant I thought it felt a little disjointed.

The Expo

I thought on the whole the show floor had a better layout than last year, and the organizers managed to effectively group companies in a similar space together into “Zones”.

A running joke with the other companies in the “IoT Zone” was that we guess the term M2M is officially dead, as probably 80% of the companies identified as “M2M Companies” rather than IoT but hey, you’ve gotta move with the times!

I caught a couple of the presentations on the show floor in-between manning our booth, the highlight of these was Chris Boek from Metropolis who is always an engaging speaker at these events.

As an exhibitor my biggest concern is always the flow of traffic from the conferences to the show floor, and while there were a few quiet periods I thought the organizers managed to give conference attendees and delegates enough reason to walk through the show to make it feel busy enough.

The IoT Summit

The IoT Summit at Connect Expo

The IoT Summit at Connect Expo

On the second day of the show I took some time away from the booth to visit the IoT Summit and see what new and exciting things were going on in our industry.

Note: Unfortunately I missed the panel session and round tables as I was back at the stand but from all accounts it sounded like the content was very good.

The Summit was chaired by good friend and Australian M2M industry veteran Shane Murphy, now working as an independent IoT/M2M commentator and consultant. (You can follow him at @stcmurphy) – Shane kept the summit moving at a good pace and threw in some good insights and questions in the quiet moments.

50 billions IoT Devices... Why Maciej why?

50 billions IoT Devices… Why Maciej why?

Having seen presentations from Industry giants Cisco, Huawei and Microsoft before I had a pretty good idea of what to expect – I made an offhanded comment early on about how long it would take to see that infamous Ericsson prediction of 50 billion devices, Maciej Kranz from Cisco had the dubious honor of pulling that old chestnut out 10 minutes into the summit.

I completely understand why these companies are always invited to speak at M2M/IoT events, and they certainly do a good job of sticking to the party line and saying all the right things to make Enterprises salivate but I can’t help but think a lot of the hype and diatribes do more harm than good sometimes.

I thought Greg Stone from Microsoft delivered the better of the presentations from the “big 3” and I’m genuinely interested in what Microsoft are doing with Azure and their new IoT suite of tools. I could do without the Internet of Your Things nonsense though; I know for the enterprise players, branding is probably 80% of the battle but please try and let things happen naturally occasionally.

The afternoon case studies were really the gem of the Summit with three excellent examples of practical uses for IoT applications.

Ozzie to Oyster - Sense-T using sensors to improve marine agriculture.

Ozzie to Oyster – Sense-T using sensors to improve marine agriculture.

Amanda Castray from Sense-T showcased how their unique sensor network in Tasmania is bringing huge potential gains to the agriculture and farming industries.

Wattcost's stick on sensors can read most meters

Wattcost’s stick on sensors can read most meters

David Soutar from Wattcost showed how they are putting a more practical and user friendly spin on smart home appliance monitoring and usage, with their simple “stick-on” beacon.

 

Buzz Products using IoT to disrupt marketing and engage customers with branded products.

Buzz Products using IoT to disrupt marketing and engage customers with branded products.

Slade Sherman from Buzz Products let us experience the lighter side of the IoT by showing a range of their branded consumer IoT products used in a variety of marketing campaigns and the #buzzbolt which responds to positive tweets with a green light and negative ones with a red light, making the whole presentation more interactive.

1% Savings in Rail can equal up to $600 Million in savings!

1% Savings in Rail can equal up to $600 Million in savings!

The Summit was closed by an excellent presentation from Mark Sheppard from GE Australia/NZ who talked about the “Industrial Internet of Things” (I think we used to call that M2M…) and how a large scale manufacturer of products like GE can get huge returns on investment by using sensors and remote control and automation to improve efficiency by just 1%.

All in all I thought Connect was a success and certainly a step in the right direction for Australia to stake its claim in the IoT & M2M Space. We’re looking forward to coming back next year and seeing how the organizers have responded to feedback from exhibitors and delegates.

Did you attend Connect? 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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