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