“From a vertical market perspective, the pace of technology change in IoT and nascent 5G can be daunting,” said Simon Fletcher, conference chair and CTO at Real Wireless. “What is becoming more important is a change in thinking to focus more on the demand side and identifying where the IoT can make a real difference, rather than just a technology push.”
Steve Baker from TTP encapsulated the dangers of companies focusing too much on technology and not on how to monetise it, by paraphrasing President John Kennedy. “Ask not what we can do for the Things, but what the Things can do for us,” he suggested.
Conference attendees heard from speakers across a range of vertical sectors. Ian Simmons, VP R&D for automotive company Magna International, said the industry had changed more in the past five years than in the last 50. “Drivers of this change come from the sharing economy, stringent fuel economy and emissions targets, and advanced technology challenges of autonomous vehicles, connectivity and the IoT.” However, David Wong, Technology and Innovation Manager at SMMT, highlighted one key barrier to connected vehicles. “About 4600 miles of British roads have no 2G coverage from any provider – let alone 3G or 4G.”
Cambridge Wireless presented awards to some of the leading disruptive companies emerging in the IoT space. The winners were: Thales and Ogenblik, for Best Collaboration; Trackener, for Best Progress; MobiCycle, for Most Commercial Potential; Open Energi, for Most Transformative Idea; while Heartfelt Technologies won the award for Idea Most Likely to Benefit Society.
“While it may be some time before predictions of many billions of connected devices becomes a reality for consumers, it is clear that the early winners in the new connected world will be those who can identify real customer needs and drive disruption in vertical industries,” said Bob Driver, Cambridge Wireless’ CEO. “These companies may be established players who are fast to adapt or agile new players – but the race is certainly on.”