The Launch of RIoT ED

In late 2015, Larry and I had a year’s worth of RIoT events under our belts, a growing and vibrant community

established, and a roster of well-respected local, national, and international sponsors participating.

We huddled this latter group of sponsors together to recap the year, to chart the next, and to hear their direct feedback on what we were missing.Riot ed big

The feedback was instant and immediate. To continue growing and to fulfill our mission of staking a claim as a global hub for IoT innovation, we needed to evolve. Formal events every two months wasn’t enough. Piling on more Powerpoints and networking events wasn’t the answer, either.

In a moment of clarity, this group crystallized how early we are in this next industrial revolution. When you’re early, the biggest challenge any group or company faces with getting their ideas and products adopted is education. The market doesn’t know what it’s missing.It doesn’t even recognize it has problems that need solving. The feedback: only by educating the market in an open and neutral setting, can we involve more of the state, include more industries, and accelerate adoption of solutions to problems both old and new.

Voilà, RIoT ED was born.

Developer Day, The first RIoT EDucation program, takes place on April 21st at IBM’s RTP headquarters (info and registration here). With help from many people and companies, we’ve designed this hands-on workshop specifically for engineers and developers. They’ll get a full day of interaction with cutting-edge technology from the teams and people that built the products. Competitors work alongside competitors for the common good, and for the sense of trust and rapport this builds. Heavy hitters presenting their wares include NXP, STMicroelectronics, IBM, ACS, Nordic Semiconductor, and ANSYS.

After April’s Developer Day event, RIoT ED shifts towards a series of four courses we’ve dubbed the “MBA in IoT”. Developed for the non-technical and running May through August, these monthly 2 hour lunch sessions provide an opportunity for business leaders and policy makers to become fluent in the IoT landscape. They’ll receive an overview of the market and numerous successful use cases, the devices that make up IoT, how to approach data analysis, and designing for their end users. We’ll share more about these events as they draw near.

It’s our goal that the impact of RIoT ED will be felt for years to come. Companies in our area will gain a more thorough understanding of the solutions available. Our engineering workforce and business leaders will build for technology that’s coming, not what’s on the shelf today. This gives them a competitive advantage, ensuring that when their 18-months-to-build product launches, the tech inside isn’t already obsolete.  This in turn makes our region and our state more competitive to attract outside funding, and positively influences companies considering opening new office locations. It also has a direct impact on our economy. We’ll have higher percentages of industries adopting new technology that improves their bottom line and creates new sales channels. Once we’ve worked out any kinks with these first few events, we’ll bring RIoT ED to a city near you.

Much like the “year of mobile” took more than a decade to actually arrive after the advent of the cellular phone, the “year of IoT” is also years away from reaching its potential. It doesn’t even matter if we call it IoT at that point either.

What matters is that we get a jumpstart on this coming revolution by educating our workforce, our industries, and our policy makers.