RIoT’s Response to COVID-19

2020 has kicked off with a lot of energy and excitement, with growth across our RIoT Lunch & Learn event series, with Atlanta becoming the 4th city for the popular RIoT Lunch and Learn Series, and new cities like Philadelphia and Washington D.C. in the 2020 plan.

But as everyone is aware—in-person convening has become a serious discussion topic with the spread of COVID-19.

As data-driven ecosystem builders, we know that systems work best when every component is working in harmony. We drive the IoT ecosystem forward when industry, academia, government, investors, nonprofits and startups are all coordinated. We teach our startups to be purposeful in bringing business and technical decisions into synchronization. We strive to make all parts of a team work towards common purpose and priorities.

All available data indicates that COVID-19 will grow more serious before it abates. As good world citizens, RIoT must be a part of a greater effort to prevent the spread of the virus. If others are doing their part, but we are not in harmony with them, system performance will suffer.

Thus – until further notice – RIoT is postponing our large-format event series. This starts with a formal announcement of postponement of this month’s RIoT Developer Day. We will communicate new dates for Developer Day as soon as possible.

We will also cancel the IoT Demo Night networking portion of the Emerging Tech for Enterprise conference in Philadelphia this April. [Note: The conference itself will continue as a live, online event, with registration lowered to only $99.]

Case-by-case, we will also cancel or postpone smaller format events, like our RIoT Lunch and Learns. For now, as we strive to best serve our community, a few of these will continue unless public health guidance and measured data drive an even greater level of care.

We’ve spoken with a number of sponsors and participants in the ecosystem and resoundingly have gotten support for these decisions. But we know that part of the value of joining the RIoT community is meeting face-to-face with participants. As we work through this public health crisis, RIoT will explore temporary analogs for that human contact. In IoT parlance, we’ll attempt to create “Digital Twins” of our event series where feasible. And if these methods are successful, we may continue new practices, even as we get back to face-to-face convening down the road.

We will not let this crisis slow our energy or effort to authentically connect you to others in the ecosystem, to work together, and to drive new business. We will continue communicating through our newsletterwebsite and social media.

And we will look for new ways to contribute to both the RIoT ecosystem and the worldwide efforts towards the current health crisis. One idea we are brainstorming is to hold a virtual conference that explores how IoT, AI and other emerging technologies can be tools in support of public health and to combat this pandemic. A few years ago, RIoT held a successful event to address the opioid crisis, and since then, we have worked with a number of startup companies working directly in that space.

We have a platform—and importantly, a committed RIoT ecosystem—that if coordinated, can make a positive difference. RIoT would ask you each to reach out with ideas on how you would participate in an event like this. What could you contribute to its success?  What is your company already doing that we could help amplify?

RIoT Sponsors will have two exclusive opportunities to convene with us virtually – through RIoT Sponsor Slack channel and through the RIoT Quarterly Sponsor Call, scheduled for Tuesday, March 24th, 1-2pm. If you’re a sponsor and you have questions about connecting into these virtual convenings, please reach out to Caroline Griffin.

In the meantime, to all our sponsors, partners, members, supporters, and ecosystem builders—thanks for being a part of the RIoT community. And stay healthy!


While You’re Here – Updates on RIoT Q1 2020

  • Meet the 7 startups in our latest accelerator program. RIoT’s efforts to unlock the entrepreneurial potential of small and rural communities could not be off to a better start—in large part due to the amazing Greenlight and GigEast teams in Wilson.
  • Season 1 on the RIoT Underground has just wrapped. If you have not already, you’ll give it a listen. We’ll be back in the studio soon, recording another year of the best stories on new technology that you’ll hear first, through RIoT.
  • RIoT’s smart city efforts are getting national recognition. The stormwater data-sharing project led by RIoT and a team of municipal partners has won first prize in IDC’s 2020 Smart Cities North America Awards in the Smart Water Category. A delegation from RIoT, the Town of Cary, City of Raleigh, Green Stream Technologies, Cisco, Oracle, and more plan to attend the award ceremony next month at Smart Cities Connect.