14 IoT conferences to attend in 2020
The Internet of Things has grown from novelty status to driving autonomous vehicles and running smart homes and factories. IoT’s phenomenal growth has created fertile ground for new disciplines to rise and mature across industries, such as smart cities, healthcare IoT, and Industrial IoT.
IoT conferences change from year to year to reflect these new realities, which can make it challenging to find the best conference for your interests and budget. Other new technologies are also impacted heavily by rapid changes in IoT, including blockchain, edge computing, advanced analytics, machine learning (ML), and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI). Many of these technologies are tightly integrated now and yet conferences also teach and explore the unique limits and possibilities of each.
In short, all of these emerging and converging developments mean that general IoT conferences may be too broad to hit all the bases for every IoT interest, but specialized conferences may not be broad enough in scope for some attendees.
This guide is meant to help you choose the best conferences to attend based on the information you are seeking, the time you have available, and the budget you have to spend. Because there is no universal “best” conference for everyone, the listings in this guide are ordered by date rather than a rating.
IoT Solutions World Congress
Dates and location: Oct 29-31, 2019, Barcelona
Cost: 100€ (US$111) to 1,195€ (US$1,329)
With the goal of bringing together the best minds in the IoT business and a focus on the hottest topics impacting IoT, the IoT Solutions World Congress draws nearly 20,000 people from well over 100 countries to their three days of exhibitions, training tracks, and workshops.
With events focused on topics from women's leadership in IoT to test beds and experimentation platforms accessible to attendees, the conference offers a diverse set of events and activities all centered around the common theme of planning, deploying, and developing IoT solutions for now and tomorrow.
Dates and location: Feb 11-14, 2020, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Cost: Free to $2,995
This year’s theme is “The Thinking IoT Arrives.” That’s a not-so-subtle nod to the emerging trend of coupling IoT with machine learning and AI. Everything from specific business cases to the various technologies that can be used to morph connected IoT into smart IoT will be discussed and explored. That lineup of technologies includes blockchain, augmented reality, and virtual reality, too.
One of the longest running conferences of its ilk, IoT Evolution Expo tilts toward an IT, managed service provider, and carrier audience. You can expect the focus to remain on improving efficiencies, driving revenue opportunities, and solving business problems with IoT.
This year, the collocated events have changed to keep up with the times. Last year, they were the Smart Cities Conference, Industrial IoT Conference, IoT Evolution Health, and LPWAN Expo. This year, collocated events are the Intelligent Edge Expo, the Industrial IoT Conference, and the Smart City Event. There are plenty of crossover learning and networking opportunities.
Industry of Things World
Dates and location: March 11-13, 2020, San Diego, California
Cost: Starts at $895 and tops out at $3,495
This conference has two tracks: One is business topics throughout, and the other is technical from beginning to end. From digital manufacturing transformation to the digital factory, no concept of modern Industrial IoT (IIoT) is left unexplored.
Want to know how to retrofit legacy equipment? Need to know how to use machine learning techniques and frameworks to find issues early, how to tie together edge with cloud, or find system degradation before it fails? You’ll learn the nuts and bolts of making it all work here.
Not technical minded to that degree but need to separate fact from myth so you can make smart business and budget decisions? The business track will cover how to determine IIoT value, calculate ROI, reshore production and talent, rev up your supply chain, and speed up innovation.
IoT Tech Expo
Dates and locations: Nov. 13-14, 2019, Santa Clara, California; March 17-18, 2020, London
Cost: Free to $1,499
This is one of the biggest IoT conferences in the world and a hotspot for face-to-face power networking. Last year, more than half (56 percent) of attendees were director level or above, meaning chief technology officer, head of innovation and technology, IT director, developer, or start-up founder. That has been more or less the case for years now, and this year’s draw is expected to be more of the same.
Key topics covered this year include IoT in manufacturing, transport, supply chain, logistics, automotive, construction, government, energy, utilities, insurance, healthcare, and retail. A special note on the convergent tech and data analytics for AI and IoT conference tracks: I’m hoping that somewhere in those tracks will be deep and informed discussions on the emerging shift from cloud to edge computing as the prominent choice for real-time analysis and machine decisioning. I don’t see that mentioned as a stand-alone subject in the agenda, but it’s bound to crop up throughout given that data and analytics is the backbone for all things IoT.
Co-hosted events happening alongside this conference include AI & Big Data Expo, Cybersecurity & Cloud Expo, Blockchain Expo, and the 5G Expo. There’s a lot going on at this conference—be sure to plan ahead so you don’t miss anything.
IEEE 6th World Forum on Internet of Things
Dates and location: April 5-9, 2020, New Orleans
Cost: $850 for IEEE members, $375 for Life members, and $1,000 for non-members; tutorial and one-day passes also available along with early-bird and student discounts
The year 2020 marks the sixth World Forum on IoT conference for the IEEE, its premier IoT event. This is the conference where IEEE presents the best of the best in the IoT world. Here you’ll find papers, presentations, speeches, and talks by the most outstanding minds on IoT in the research community, the public sector, and industry. Extensive peer reviews mean only the brightest minds, the most solid ideas, and the most reliable of research findings make their way to the conference’s podiums, workshops, and published papers.
The theme this year is “The Internet of Intelligent Things.” This is the conference where budding and emerging innovations are welded to reality by skilled technologists from a broad variety of disciplines. You can expect that “intelligent things” include what’s just over the horizon, too.
2020 verticals include agriculture, energy and power, environment and ecology, healthcare, industry and manufacturing, and smart cities.
IoT World 2020
Dates and location: April 6-9, 2020, San Jose, California
Cost: $2,595 for Everything pass, $2,395 for three-day pass, and $2,095 for two-day pass, with early-bird discounts; Keynotes + One Track, Expo Plus, and Startup Pack passes available
The call for speakers has been issued, and event organizers are still working to finalize the agenda. But this large conference has followed a recognizable pattern in years past, moving from presenting the latest and greatest in IoT to showcasing ecosystems and advanced applications in burgeoning verticals ranging from autonomous vehicles, IoT security, and smart cities to the connected consumer, manufacturing, and supply chain.
If any of those tracks fit your specific interest and you’re also interested in meeting partners in established ecosystems, this is a good conference to attend. This conference also tends to be well organized with speakers hailing from well-known companies and think tanks.
Dates and location: March 22-27, 2020, Las Vegas
Cost: $1,495 for Technical Training 1 and 2, $995 for Edge Conference, $995 for Airheads sessions, and $595 for Partner sessions
Hosted by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, this event is all about how you can use intelligent edge capabilities using Aruba products on the Aruba Mobile First Architecture. There are a lot of hands-on training sessions and plenty of opportunities for certification testing, too. The Enterprise Network Security track succinctly addresses the plenitude of security issues in IoT, mobile, and cloud, and the innovations that are evolving to address them.
ACM/IEEE IoTDI 2020
Dates and location: April 21-24, 2020, Sydney, Australia
This is ACM/IEEE’s fifth Conference on Internet of Things Design and Implementation, or IoTDI for short. This year, the conference is colocated with IC2E, the international conference on cloud computing. IoTDI is also an official part of CPS-IoT Week, an event centered on cyber-physical systems and IoT research, comprised of seven top conferences (HSCC, ICCPS, IPSN, RTAS, IoTDI, IC2E, and ICFC) as well as multiple workshops, tutorials, competitions, and exhibitions.
In a nutshell, these combined and colocated events represent both the best of technical expertise and leadership but also the complexities in the interconnection and roles of IoT with cloud computing and cyber-physical systems.
As you might expect, given the organizations behind this event, this is a highly technical and detailed conference and series of events. But if your intent is to emerge as an expert of the technical side of IoT, this is one way to advance toward that title.
2020 IEEE International Conference on Fog Computing
Dates and location: April 21-24, 2020, Sydney, Australia
If you’re a bit confused about the difference between edge and fog computing, you’re not alone. Here’s how the IEEE explains it: “Fog computing is the extension of cloud computing into its edge and the physical world to meet the data volume and decision velocity requirements in many emerging applications, such as augmented and virtual realities (AR/VR), cyber-physical systems (CPS), intelligent and autonomous systems, and mission-critical systems.”
Or, as I like to describe it: end-to-end hybrid computing (centralized + distributed) at incredible speeds for IoT of any kind.
While the multitude of definitions floating around are often foggy at best, the real-world implication is that IoT now connects the digital worlds to the physical worlds in ways that are increasingly difficult to unwind. In other words, the wall that once existed between the digital and the physical worlds is gone for good.
So, if you need to know how to successfully complete your mission or your organization’s mission in this newly converged world, this conference will likely be helpful to you. Keep in mind that this conference is organized by the IEEE, so everything here has a technical slant on a broad view of fog computing, including "computation, connectivity, mobility, sensing and actuation, theories, and systems.” And yes, it is one of the colocated conferences noted in the main conference just above in this list. However, I felt it warranted more description for those looking to learn this specific aspect of modern IoT deployments.
Internet of Manufacturing
Dates and location: June 15-17, 2020, Chicago
Cost: $1,295 for Manufacturer pass, $245 for Academic/Association pass, and $2,995 for Solution Provider/Consultant pass; group and early-bird discounts available
IoT has permeated nearly every industry. It comes as no surprise then that some IoT conferences would evolve to address issues and opportunities specific to a given industry. This is one of them.
Interestingly, an IoT conference held in Dallas every year has changed its name to Internet of Manufacturing South and is a sister event to the Chicago conference. No word yet on when or if the Dallas event will occur in 2020, or if the two events will rotate years instead.
This will be the fourth year for this two-day conference. It takes a well-rounded approach to covering IoT for manufacturers. Topics include building the business case, IT-OT convergence, analytics and AI, and edge computing.
While the specifics of the conference agenda have yet to be released, those of past years point to a stellar combination of industry heavy-hitters in the lineup, from the sponsors and speakers to the attendees, who typically represent some of the largest and best-known manufacturers in the world. It’s a good place to go to immerse yourself in Industrial IoT.
Open Source Summit + Embedded Linux Conference North America
Dates and location: June 22-24, 2020, Austin
Cost: $1,000 for standard pass; early-bird, hall pass, academic, and hobbyist rates available
While details of this event will not be finalized until later this year, it’s highly likely that the Open Source Summit will remain combined with the Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) as it was last year. Both events are highly technical and slated for developers and architects. In other words, this conference is suited more for the IoT doers than the IoT high-view thinkers, broadly speaking.
ELC is the vendor-neutral technical conference for companies and developers using Linux in embedded products, while Open Source Summit is the same for Industrial IoT.
If you are a developer working or planning to work with IoT, this event is where you need to be. If you are a Linux wizard or aren’t all that familiar with Linux, you’ll walk away with better skills and higher earning power. Read the conference agenda closely to make sure you attend sessions that match your skill and interest levels.
Mobile World Congress
Dates and location: Feb. 24-27, 2020, Barcelona
Cost: €4,999 (US$5,508) for Platinum Experience, €2,699 (US$2,973) for Gold pass, and €2,199 (US$2,422) for Silver pass; topic and exhibition hall passes available
MWC Barcelona is the largest mobile-focused event in the world, with more than 100,000 attendees and 2,400 exhibitors. The latest and greatest in mobile devices are announced and showcased at the event
Attendees interests can range from the latest mobile device to the newest 5G connectivity and management solutions with tracks and panels that explain the changes and advances in mobile and edge connectivity and devices worldwide. It allows the attendees to, in one place, get a feel for the globalization of the industry and how it can potentially impact their core business.
Dates and location: June 9-11, 2020, Boston
Cost: $499 to $999
The LiveWorx20 conference focuses on digital transformation, specifically five areas: augmented reality, Industry 4.0, Industrial IoT, CAD, and emerging tech. With specific content for a broad range of attendees, from architects to C-suite executives to system integrators, the conference provides features such as hands-on access to the latest technologies, a customizable agenda across six industry tracks and six technical tracks, and the opportunity to network with 6,500 of your industry peers.
Conference details are available on the website, with a bare-bones agenda and placeholders for additional content that will be updated as the conference data approaches. Access to 2019 conference content is available with registration on the conference website.
Dates and location: June 23-25, 2020, Las Vegas
The HPE Discover conference takes a more holistic approach to IoT. Here nuances, issues, and opportunities in using IoT are explored, but they are also examined in light of an organization’s big picture and future goals.
For example, the 2019 HPE Discover event covered swarm learning from real-time intelligence provided by AI, blockchain, and IoT. It’s the combination of these technologies that are likely to deliver the most pronounced and profitable business advantages. Other interesting and related topics included “cloudless” computing, the digital revolution in manufacturing, and 5G, which is likely to soon be an imperative for IoT deployments.
While the HPE Discover 2020 conference agenda is not yet finalized, there is little doubt it will also take a practical business tact toward the latest innovations in which IoT plays a starring role.
Did we miss any conferences or events?
We worked hard to bring you the best conferences and events on IoT based on the freshness and usefulness of content and the best networking opportunities as well. But if we did miss a conference or event you find useful for any reason, please share that info with us in the comments below.
This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.