The Internet of Things economy is growing in Charlotte, NC.  Last week, over 280 people attended RIoT XI, held at UNC Charlotte’s Center City, to hear about “North Carolina’s IoT Leadership and Charlotte’s Opportunity”.  The futuristic Center City building served as an ideal backdrop to the forward thinking discussions by speakers and the conversations between fellow RIoTers.

This was RIoT’s first trip to Charlotte, the event was a success, and we had a blast. For all the pics, visit here.

Tom Snyder, our Executive Director, sums up the reason for hosting events outside of the Triangle. “The RIoT community continues to grow because there’s strong interest to understand the implications of connecting billions of devices to the internet. Educating municipalities, businesses, and citizens on the impact of IoT is crucial for our state. Bringing everyone together early and often will ensure we stay competitive regionally, nationally, and globally”.

Indeed our goal is to make sure communities across the state are aware of what’s happening. If the 3rd industrial revolution put electricity into every object, IoT will become the 4th industrial revolution, embedding intelligence into every object. As this occurs, industries will be transformed and reinvented over the next 10-20 years. Charlotte, a city with a long history of innovation, will play a critical role in our state’s ability to capture a big slice of the IoT pie. The RIoT crew asked our speakers to inform, educate, and delight. They delivered.

DSC_0245Two speakers focused on direct applications of IoT. Dan Roselli, founder of Queen City Fintech, delivered the first presentation of the night, highlighting how financial services and IoT interconnect. The opportunity will be huge, as every single financial transaction that occurs between devices and people will need new technology and new innovations to ensure privacy, security, and accuracy. Dave Giles of Meridian IT spoke to a case study of their work with IBM. This project saw a shift from reactive maintenance in industrial facilities, to using IoT to predict and prevent equipment failures.

Jeff Sural, the Director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office with the NC Dept of IT, spoke to the role that broadband will have on IoT. We’ll need leadership from federal, state, and local governments to ensure that communities across North Carolina can have affordable access to broadband. We must be proactive to close the digital divide, and let all residents enjoy the benefits of the Internet of Things.

jackson-1Finally, Senator Jeff Jackson delivered an impassioned speech about the opportunities and challenges of IoT. On one hand, we are presented with new possibilities to improve the efficiency of government. Smart electric and smart water metering systems alone can save millions in energy costs, while significantly reducing waste. On the other hand, IoT will bring challenges. As new industries emerge, new jobs will be created, but old jobs will be eliminated. His point: we must plan for this outcome, and be prepared to retrain and re-educate a workforce.  The state government must also ensure it passes legislation that makes our state as business friendly as possible, encouraging companies to grow in and relocate to our state.

“We had such a supportive group to help make this event happen,” says Larry Steffann, our fellow RIoT Co-Founder and GM of the Wireless Research Center.  “We owe repeated thanks to UNC-Charlotte, HQ Charlotte, the City of Charlotte, Charlotte IoT, Holly Eskridge and Christa Wagner Vinson for the incredible facilities, their support, and their warm welcome of our group to their city.”

The next RIoT event takes place on September 20th in Wake Forest, NC, and will showcase all types and manners of autonomous vehicles.