RIoT IX, held Tuesday at The Raleigh Convention Center, was a chance for RIoTers to answer, “If I had $10M

to invest in IoT, where would I invest?” Over 300 people were in attendance to share their answers—another example of an NC RIoT event attracting RIoTers who want to define and harness the emerging IoT industry.

riotix-crowd2Want to see all the pics from the event? Check out our album here.

RIoT is quickly becoming a must-know group, regionally for the RTP and nationally for the IoT community. As exciting startups and serious large-tech investments bolster the Internet of Things (IoT) field, RIoT has become the brainspace where interested engineers, programmers, investors, and executives can share questions and ideas. Outside the Convention Center, a 55-foot IoT truck from @NXP welcomed attendees and demonstrated the sheer power of IoT for RIoTers to marvel and explore.

Back inside, keynote speaker Daniel Chu of Verizon Ventures laid out the vision and investment approach that his large organization adopts when funding IoT companies. He described how their IoT investment strategy centers on security, analytics, and industrial IoT. He also shared that Verizon’s vision extends beyond the most commercially visible IoT products, like smart watches and fitness wearables, to consideration for IoT tech in business, manufacturing, and industrial segments.

His discussion of analytics paired well with the backdrop of the Data 4 Decisions conference, held in Raleigh last week. While machine-to-machine communication has existed for decades, enabling that communication to occur over the internet creates vast amounts of data. But data alone is meaningless. We’ll need analytics solutions to turn that data into something meaningful, valuable, and actionable.

riotix-beltbuckleAs a part of RIoT IX, five companies pitched their products to a panel of investors in a pitch contest. Representing industrial IoT were Vestal Industries, ProAxion, and Entigral Systems. Two companies showcasing consumer-facing products were TiO for “turn it on” home automation and FokusLabs for anti-distraction wearables.

ProAxion, which provides an affordable predictive maintenance hardware for manufacturers, won the pitch contest. Along with fame and glory, they took home the RIoT championship belt buckle.

RIoTers also heard from CED’s Dhruv Patel, who presented “The State of VC in NC.” CED data showcases how NC companies now secure substantial funding from the west coast, New York, and Boston, in addition to investment from the Southeast.

As RIoT’s organizers, Larry and I believe that the event continues to help build momentum and energy, but we’re not yet full capitalizing on everything our region has to offer.  We’ve got established expertise within our large-scale tech companies, very supportive policy makers, a strong talent base, a growing startup community, and powerful academic support from higher education groups.

If you’re asking yourself where would you invest, the answer is clear. Right here in North Carolina.