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30+ of the best mobility and IoT conferences in 2017-2018

Keep up with the latest technologies and trends around mobility and the Internet of Things by attending one of these events geared for IT executives, CXOs, decision-makers and technologists.

No matter what field your organization is in, your customers expect to do business with you online—and that doesn't just mean on a PC anymore. The world in which a cell phone is the default Internet device is already here, and the one where wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are ubiquitous is coming soon. Do you have the skills and ideas you need to keep up?

There are dozens of tech conferences out there that either center on mobile and IoT devices or are spending an increasing amount of energy discussing them, and you'd be well served by checking them out. Not only do they represent opportunities to hear great panels and presentations, but you'll also get to network and chat one on one on the expo floor or at the hotel bar.

We've cut the seemingly endless list of mobility and IoT-focused conferences out there down to 31 events that we think would be of particular interest to IT executives, CxOs, and decision-makers. They'll get you out from behind the desk and help you keep up with the latest technologies, trends, challenges, and opportunities. We've divided them into four categories:

  • Conferences we consider a must
  • Conferences that are worth attending
  • Conferences that aren't exclusively mobile or IoT-centric but have strong mobile or IoT tracks and content
  • Some large and legendary conferences whose presence in the industry makes them impossible to ignore—and that have some points of interest for people involved with IoT and mobile

Must-attend mobility and IoT conferences

IoT Evolution Expo

The IoT Evolution Expo offers a nuts-and-bolts approach to the Internet of Things; the speeches and panels will, as the event's website put it, help you "understand how the Internet of Things (IoT) will be the driving forces behind improving efficiencies, driving revenue opportunities, and solving business problems across multiple industries and in nearly all business functional areas."

Going beyond that, Reno Ybarra, who attended last year and wrote about it for the Engage PR blog, said it was a "horizontal" rather than a "vertical" conference. Cutting through the PR speak, that means it's better for getting face time with analysts and media, or for mingling and then selling directly to potential customers.

Who should attend? If you're in a buying mood, you'll have the attention of vendors. IT executives, business executives, device manufacturers, transportation companies, supply chain and logistics pros, sensors and embedded systems companies, systems integrators, and developers will all have something to learn and contribute.


  • Web:
  • Date: February 26–March 3, 2017
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Cost: Ranges from $395 for Aruba partners to $1,095 for those interested in attending training sessions. If you're invited to the IT Executives track, attendance is free.

Atmosphere is Aruba's big conference, and as the networking company looks to move further into the mobile, cloud, and IoT spaces, it becomes an important conference for anyone working in those fields. It's definitely there to promote Aruba's agenda—last year's installment featured plenty of information on Aruba's integration into HPE—but it's got multiple tracks for attendees with various interests, whether Aruba partners or not. The Airheads track focuses on higher-level engineering concepts, while the Training and Partners tracks include lectures and hands-on labs. There's also an invite-only IT Executives track for decision-makers.

Who should attend? Engineers working with mobile or IoT technology will be interested in the technical tracks, whether working for Aruba partners or not. Higher-level execs should try to finagle an invite.

Internet of Manufacturing Business Conference

  • Date: March 7-8, 2017
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Cost: Passes to the conference alone are $1,299; passes to the conference, workshop, and tour are $1,599. You can save $400 from either price if you reserve your ticket before January 27.

This conference aims to assemble the elite, putting VPs and those in the C-suite and IoT manufacturers together and hoping the sparks fly, with lots of time set aside for mingling and one-on-one meetings. Individual session topics range from general discussions of cybersecurity and using IoT for lifecycle management to ultraspecific talks on IoT's use in elevator maintenance and power tool manufacturing. Attendees who shell out for the full package also get a tour of Chicago's UI LABS Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute.

This is the conference's second year. In 2016, a team from manufacturing solutions provider Lean Stream attended and came away impressed by the confluence of "decision makers, influencers and thought leaders" in attendance.

Who should attend? High-level execs looking to chat with other high-level execs about what IoT technologies can do for their manufacturing business.

Google I/O

I/O has been around only since 2008, but Google's stature and Android's omnipresence has made it one of the most important events in the mobile world to attend. And I/O isn't just about mobile. With Google's moves into Google Home and other smart devices—what Jerry Hildebrand, writing for Android Central, called "the rise of the machines"—I/O will become more important on the embedded and IoT fronts as well. And this year, you get to do it all indoors.

Who should attend? Anyone whose company is involved with Android or that piggybacks onto the growing variety of Google web services, mobile apps, and hardware.


  • Twitter: @liveworx
  • Web:
  • Date: May 22-25, 2017
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Cost: Post-February 15 prices: $895 (online) $995 (on-site) for two-day pass to $1,395 (online) $1,495 (on-site) for all-access four-day pass

LiveWorx bills itself as a way to "find new value born from the industrial Internet of Things," and last year more than 4,000 people attended. Attendees will be perhaps a bit overwhelmed with choices, with "cutting-edge use cases, interactive Q&A's, live demos, fireside chats, deep-dive technical lectures, small working groups, tech-powered panels and more" vying for their attention in fields like IoT for start-ups, predictive service, systems engineering, connected field service, data management, and smart manufacturing.

It's a lot to take in, but Bob Ferrari, author of the Supply Chain Matters blog, attended in 2016 and noted with approval that, compared with 2015, the conference was "more focused on broader and more succinct strategies and actual technology, [while] users seemed to outnumber prospective technology providers looking to cash in on a new wave of technology." Hopefully the conference moves further toward the specific and practical this year.

Who should attend? The LiveWorx website suggests that 18 different job titles in 35 different industries would be interested in the conference. Ambitious, but it speaks to the fact that designers, engineers, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs all have a stake in the IoT changes to come.

Apple WWDC

Development topics will cover all of Apple's products, of course, but because so much of Apple's ecosystem is now mobile (iPhone) or embedded (Apple Watch, Apple TV) much of the energy at the show will inevitably focus on those areas. In recent years, most outside attention has focused on the conference's keynote speech, which has become an annual high-profile opportunity to roll out new products and big software updates. The 2016 show underwhelmed many in that regard, but Jeff Haynie, writing for the Appcelerator blog, thought it offered a lot of red meat for developers who really wanted to unlock the platform that underlies Apple's products, so that may be of interest to those trying to figure out how Apple's tech fits into a mobile, integrated world.

Past attendees sharing their experiences on Reddit and Quora felt that it was a good conference for networking with other developers, if you're willing to make an effort, and also a great chance to talk to Apple engineers, which is a real plus with a company so notoriously opaque. And if you want to be part of the vibe but don't get the golden lottery ticket, don't fret: Several independent events are usually held in San Francisco in parallel with WWDC. One of the better known ones is AltConf, which is blessedly free.

Who should attend? iOS and MacOS developers.

Sensors Expo & Conference

  • Twitter: @sensorsexpo / #Sensors17
  • Web:
  • Date: July 27-29, 2017
  • Location: San Jose, CA
  • Cost: Ranges from $599 for a pre-conference pass to $1,349 for a VIP pass; on-site rate ranges from $699 for pre-conference pass to $1,549 for VIP pass

There's something to be said for a conference that's done one thing and done it well for decades. For 30 years, Sensors Expo & Conference has doggedly focused exclusively on current and upcoming sensors and sensor-integrated systems. But even old standbys have to change with the times, and this venerable conference appears to be doing that, as the somewhat arcane world of industrial sensors becomes subsumed into the exciting Internet of Things market segment. In 2016, the conference moved from its traditional Midwest haunts to Silicon Valley, and Patrick Mannion, writing for EDN Network, approvingly noted that the conference is seeing a "clear shift in emphasis to a more holistic approach to sensor integration and system design."

A variety of tracks at the conference include power management, optical sensing and detection, novel use of sensors, and much more.

Who should attend? People who work in the design, development, and deployment of sensor technologies—and that can range from startup engineers to executives at big semiconductor companies.

The IoT Village at DEF CON

DEF CON is a notorious conference that began within the underground hacker community but has now grown into an important gathering of security pros that still keeps its alternative edge, with attendees aiming to crack systems and reveal vulnerabilities in real time. The IoT Village is a sort of conference within the conference at DEF CON, organized by security consulting and research firm Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

Attendees at last year's IoT Village found 47 exploits in 23 devices. One attendee bragged, "I can shut down the equivalent of a small to mid-sized power generation facility ... I can use that device as a Trojan within a target's network to spy on them. It looks very likely that I can remotely physically damage a solar array using this manufacturer's device."

Who should attend? In the words of ISE, it's for anyone who's a "security researcher, a device manufacturer, a member of the law enforcement community, or anyone else with even a passing interest" in addressing challenges around IoT security.

Mobile World Congress Americas

  • Twitter: @GSMAEvents / #MWCA17
  • Web:                              
  • Date: September 12-14, 2017
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Cost: Ranges from $300 for an exhibition pass to $1,800 for a VIP pass

MWC's Barcelona edition is, as we've noted above, one of the monster events in the world of mobility. It's been based in Europe for years, and there's been a Shanghai edition. But in 2017, the GSMA is finally bringing an expo to the United States. The event's themes are somewhat narrower than those of its European counterpart but are still insanely ambitious: consumer IoT, content and media, policy, “the fourth industrial revolution,” and networks and sustainable development.

In some ways, MWC's first foray into the Americas will have a hard time living up to its hype. Over at Fierce Wireless, analyst Peter Jarich has a pretty good outline of the metrics by which we'll decide whether this was a successful show or not. You might want to hold out for the 2018 edition in Los Angeles—or you might want to take the plunge this year.

Who should attend? Anyone whose job touches mobile will have something to see or learn, including app developers, operators, equipment vendors, and pros from the Internet, financial, marketing, and entertainment industries—especially if you don't have the money or inclination to make it to the show in Barcelona.

Minds + Machines

  • Date: October 25-26, 2017
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Cost: TBA

GE's tech focus and long history in manufacturing makes it a perfect company to work on the Internet of Things, and Minds + Machines is its conference focused on industrial IoT. John Bromels, writing for Motley Fool, noted that last year's conference served as a vehicle for GE to toot its own IoT horn, but there are other reasons to attend: Last year's conference featured sessions that covered a range of topics catering to a variety of professional roles, ranging from hackathons to discussions of business strategy.

Who should attend? Developers, execs, and "thought leaders" interested in IoT.

IoT Tech Expo North America

The IoT Tech Expo aims to bring together business leaders and developer to discuss the IoT space. Topics cover the gamut from smart cities to supply chain management to autonomous vehicles, and heavy-hitter speakers will be on hand from companies like Oracle, Visa, and Ford.

The IoT Tech Expo organization is known for running trade shows in Europe, but this is only the second year for the expo in North America; still, they're making a big splash. Last year, Device Plus haunted the floor recording videos of various IoT gadgets, including this phone-activated deadbolt lock.

Who should attend? Developers and the CxOs who want to meet them.

Mobile World Congress

The GSMA is the major mobile industry trade group, made up of 800 mobile operators and 250 mobile ecosystem companies, and Barcelona's MWC is its annual showcase; the 2016 installment was attended by more than 108,000 people. While it began as a mobile communications show, it has "evolved tremendously," in the words of 2015 attendee Martine Naughton, who works in European marketing for Aria Systems, "showcasing some of the world’s major technology breakthroughs, from wearable devices to connected cars and homes."

2017's show pushed further out from just an event where new cell phones are debuted: Analyst Dan Beier provides a rundown of what CIO-focused info was showcased there, including material on artificial intelligence, IoT's maturity (or lack thereof), and the importance of "business platforms."

Who should attend? Who shouldn't? Anyone whose job touches mobile will have something to see or learn, including app developers, operators, equipment vendors, and pros from the Internet, financial, marketing, and entertainment industries.

International Wireless Communications Expo

  • Twitter: @IWCEexpo
  • Web:
  • Date: March 5-9, 2018
  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Cost: You can visit the exhibit hall for free if you register by November 8. Varying packages include different levels of access to workshops and town hall meetings, scaling up to the Super Pass at $1,699 ($1,799 after November 8).

IWCE is one of the longest-running wireless shows out there (2017's edition was the 40th) and is pretty sizable as well (last year attracted 7,000 attendees). It's a nuts-and-bolts show for those who want to take deep dives into wireless tech: Last year's keynote speaker was a Google program manager who discussed shared spectrum services in the 3.5 GHz band, whereas other tracks covered topics like LMR-LTE convergence.

This year's topics aren't set yet, but suggested areas of discussion are intriguing and include signal optimization, IT and communications integration, and drones and UAVs and wireless network infrastructure. It's also colocated with a Network Infrastructure Forum, if that's of interest to you.

Who should attend? Wireless engineers looking to make contacts and learn more on tightly focused topics.

Internet of Things World USA

Billed rather confidently by its organizers as the "leading Industrial IoT event in the USA," Internet of Things World USA aims to bring together execs and decision-makers involved in the Internet of Things "scene," broadly defined. Topics include the cloud, robotics, automation, standards, interoperability, security, and data. The 2018 lineup is still being solidified, but there's a promise of discussion of blockchain and how it relates to the Industrial Internet of Things.

Who should attend? Anyone involved in "digital transformation" to take advantage of IoT, including IoT specialists and strategists, IoT novices, cloud computing adopters, and big data analytics experts.

Mobile Innovation Summit

  • Twitter: #Mobile18
  • Date: March 21-22, 2018
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Cost: Ranges from $1,495 for a basic Silver pass to $2,395 for an all-access pass that includes access to video recordings and an invite to the Digital Channel Network. You can also get a $600 "on-demand pass" that only provides online access to material after the fact.

The Mobile Innovation Summit bills itself as a place where high-level execs can get the skinny on mobile innovations from tech mavens at big companies, getting firsthand accounts and case studies of moves to mobile. The list of speakers from last year seems to bear that out, with big guns from Google, Vimeo, LinkedIn, MasterCard, and others in attendance. (Next year's lineup is still TBA.)

The Mobile Payments Today blog covered the 2016 conference extensively, sharing tidbits like an IBM strategist explaining how incentives can coax users into exchanging data, or a GM marketing exec explaining that, thanks to mobile phones, many buying processes are completed before a customer talks to anyone at a company.

Who should attend? Execs or high-level tech folks in charge of app development, mobile strategy, or mobile media for their companies.

Worthy of your time

OpenIOT Summit

  • Twitter: @eventsLF / #OpenIoT
  • Date: February 21-23, 2017
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Cost: $700 through February 5, $850 thereafter

The IoT revolution didn't necessarily start with big vendors. Much of it began with experiments with off-the-shelf parts fitted with open source software. The Linux Foundation's OpenIoT Summit is for anyone looking to examine how open solutions can fit into their IoT strategy. There are chances to talk with tech experts in both formal and informal settings.

A look at last year's presentations shows that there will be content that runs the gamut, from the high-level visionary ("Avoid the Silos and Help Build the True Internet of Things") to the extremely technical and specific ("The Better Alignment of Managed Flash to System Behavior"). Linus Torvalds made an appearance last year too.

Who should attend? System architects who want to help put together IoT solutions from open hardware and software, plus the developers who will be roped into doing it with them.


IoTFuse is a small and cheerfully Midwestern conference that could provide a great way to start getting your feet wet in the Internet of Things. Last year's program combined a solid round of technical programming with a keynote from "cyborg anthropologist" and TED Talk star Amber Case.

Mitch LeClair, writing for the SC Times, discussed the emphasis in his afternoon keynote on strategy and vision in the IoT business, moving to "create solutions people love," consider consumers' needs, and so on.

Who should attend? Both developers interested in nuts and bolts and entrepreneurs or business types looking for bigger picture introductions to the Internet of Things.

Internet of Things Developers Conference

Focused on solving the technical and business challenges of IoT, the Internet of Things Developers Conference will feature an exhibit floor, in-depth technical sessions, tutorials, business strategy, and hands-on demos. While attendees will get plenty of hands-on technical content on topics like security, biometrics, and energy use, there will also be material for managers and execs who need to figure out how IoT is going to fit into their business strategy.

Who should attend? Developers and product designers working on IoT projects.

IoT in Oil and Gas

The oil and gas industry was in on IoT before it was cool, with drilling and refining machinery among the first markets where Internet-enabled sensors really took off. The IoT in Oil and Gas Conference in Houston, ground zero for the energy extraction industry, offers talks and panels featuring both tech pros in oil and gas and high-level representatives from major vendors.

Last year, as Karen Bogman wrote in Rigzone, a lot of energy was focused on how both vendors and internal IT can make a pitch to oil and gas company to invest in IoT in light of plunging energy prices. This pitch to both internal and external industry audiences makes for an intriguing look into an important and specific IoT market segment.

Who should attend? C-level execs, IoT project leads, software architects, and systems analysts from oil and gas companies—along with those who want to sell things to them.

TAP Conference 2017

  • Twitter: @button
  • Date: September 28, 2017
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Cost: $599; $650 after September 4

Button, the company behind the mobile marketing app of the same name, has an intriguing event, now in its second year, that focuses on mobile content monetization. While obviously it has its own agenda in the space, the company brought together a collection of outside speakers, both from content (e.g., BuzzFeed) and sales (e.g., Casper).

Button pitches the conference as "counterprogramming" to the massive Advertising Week expo, looking to take the concepts of making money on mobile platforms beyond just advertising.

Who should attend? Web and app designers and mobile programming types looking to better understand how these platforms support real-world businesses.

Mobile Shopping 2017

Mobile Shopping is pretty much what it says on the label: a conference aimed at discussing all the ways we try to sell people things on mobile devices. But that's not a niche anymore. It's rapidly becoming the mainstay of people who buy things.

The Mobile Shopping agenda follows the path from acquiring to converting and then to keeping mobile customers, and also offers a glimpse of the "future of mobile," which may be of most interest to the more technical attendees.

The Yottaa mobile e-commerce blog called last year's edition a "thought-provoking boutique conference," and praised the talk by the head of mobile at Zappos's, which focused on the "frictionless experience" of mobile shopping.

Who should attend? CMOs, CTOs, CIOs, or anyone who works under their umbrella and aims to understand how online commerce is changing.

Droidcon SF

Droidcon is a popular worldwide series of Android conferences that aims to connect developers with sponsors and Android experts, and San Francisco's edition is entering its second year in 2017. Its program committee is a suite of heavy-hitters who work on tech at places like Uber, Pinterest, and the New York Times. Last year's talks ran the gamut from programming nuts and bolts to recaps of what's new with Android for automobiles and VR.

And if you're part of the Bay Area tech community, it can't hurt your career to come: Android Headlines rated last year's conference as one of the top five places to hire an Android developer.

Who should attend? Android devs or team leaders—or those looking to hire them.

Security of Things World USA

  • Date: November 16-17, 2017
  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Cost: $2,295, with discounts for team booking

The Internet of Things is a truly disruptive set of technologies that will both transform the ways businesses work and leave the world riddled with tiny Internet-connected devices, many of which are wildly insecure. Security of Things World USA bring a variety of security experts together, from both private industry and the U.S. government, to scare you straight and convince you to lock down your IoT systems—or as the conference's website puts it, "secure your cyber physical systems by bridging them with innovation."

Who should attend? At last year's conference, 61 percent of attendees were CXOs, board members, and managing directors. The content is aimed at decision-makers who will be looking to implement security initiatives at their companies.

Embedded World Conference

The Embedded World Conference has run every year since 2003; its organizers call it Europe's biggest conference devoted to embedded systems development. It addresses all major topics in this sector with papers and classes, and focuses on concrete solutions. In recent years, its focus has moved with its industry segment into the world of the Internet of Things. The 2017 conference will focus on the theme of "embedded goes autonomous," examining the intersection of IoT and AI.

Although it's intended for primarily developers, the Embedded World Conference will interest anyone trying to see the possibilities of the emerging IoT landscape. 2016's conference was a place where people like Embedded Computer Design editor Rory Dear went to find out if Android was finally moving to the embedded space. And vendor offerings were spread all over the IoT food chain, as William Wong wrote in Embedded Design.

Who should attend? Developers and designers of embedded systems, and those who want to get a look at the new embedded and IoT products that will underlie future rollouts.

Broad conferences with IoT and mobile interest

CTO World Congress

This conference is the big brother to the much beloved developer-focused DeveloperWeek, and takes place concurrently. The congress focuses on the role of the CTO as the "new key strategic leader in the corporation." Anyone contemplating an IoT rollout in their company will want to check out the CTO Perspective on Emerging Technologies track.

Who should attend? CTOs, we hope it's not too obvious to say.

Forrester Digital Transformation

  • Twitter: #FORRDigital
  • Web:
  • Date: May 9-10, 2017
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Cost: $1,750 for those working for government, education, or nonprofit agencies; $1,850 for Forrester clients; $2,050 for non-clients. $500 discount if you reserve before February 10

The Forrester Digital Transformation conference provides high-level programming for high-level execs who want to use new technologies to change the way their business works. "Digital transformation" is a buzz phrase that can accommodate a lot of different technologies under its umbrella, and a look at last year's program reveals plenty of coverage of mobile and IoT topics that will no doubt be continued in the new year.

The spin is what you would expect for a conference for decision-makers: Last year NTT Data Services Senior Vice President Raman Sapra spoke at a session where he emphasized a "business-first approach," which he defined as looking at digital from the lens of new business models and business results, not from the lens of technology alone.

Who should attend? Execs and decision-makers at businesses looking to change the way they do things with cutting-edge tech, whether the businesses themselves have a tech focus or not.

Cloud Expo

  • Twitter: @CloudExpo
  • Web:
  • Dates and Locations: June 6-8, 2017, New York, NY; October 31–November 2, 2017, Santa Clara, CA
  • Cost: Tickets get more expensive the later you buy, ranging from $995 before January 31 to $2,500 bought on-site

Formerly Cloud Computing Expo, this dual-coast pair of events from Sys-Con aims to cover the full spectrum of cloud-related technology and buzzwords, including the Internet of Things, big data, FinTech, microservices, DevOps, WebRTC, and digital transformation. Jason Bloomberg, writing about the 2015 event for Forbes, called it heavy on vendors and light on bottled water, but said it was a great opportunity to get a real sense of what products were available from enterprise vendors in this space (as long as you don't mind the sales pitch).

Joel Shore attended last year's show, and providing a yin to the sales emphasis yang, wrote in SearchCloudApplications about how the emerging field of cognitive computing, which should interest anyone building smart devices, was a common strand among several sessions.

Who should attend? CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, directors of infrastructure, technology enthusiasts, etc.

Gartner Catalyst

  • Web:
  • Date: August 21-24, 2017
  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Cost: $3,100 if registered before June 23; $3,400 standard price; $2,900 for public-sector employees; group rates available

Catalyst is more nuts and bolts oriented than Gartner's Symposium/ITxpo, but it's still very much aimed at decision-makers; in Gartner's words, it's "designed to leave you with a blueprint for project planning and execution." A quick glance at last year's agenda reveals plenty of focus on mobile and IoT topics, as well as the other innovative technologies you'd expect—big data, the cloud, and so forth. Last year was particularly cloud-heavy, as Conner Forrest wrote about in TechRepublic.

Catalyst is a big show—like, really big, with thousands of attendees—and if you're going, you might want to take the advice of Erin Symons at Zinc: Divide and conquer with co-workers, and make time to network casually.

Who should attend? Tech pros working in applications, business intelligence, infrastructure and operations, and security.

Smart Industry 2017

  • Twitter: @SmartIndustryUS
  • Date: September 18-20, 2017
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Cost: $1,295 for individuals, with group rates available; $1,795 for industry solutions providers

Smart Industry is the conference arm of the magazine of the same name, which focuses on how digital transformation is changing manufacturing—and the Internet of Things is a huge part of that. With industrial giants ranging from Caterpillar to Lockheed Martin in attendance, it's a great way to learn how IoT affects real-world business.

Smart Industry is a relatively new conference but has inspired a lot of positive buzz. Last year, attendees heard talks on how the Internet of Things can help spot unexpected bottlenecks in industrial processes and how IoT can contribute to data collection to produce outcome-based business models.

Who should attend? Control and automation engineers, IT architects and developers, operations management and staff, and maintenance and reliability management and staff.


  • Twitter: @appsecusa / #appsecusa
  • Web: 
  • Date: September 19-22, 2017
  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Cost: $400-$500 for one-day pass to $700-$995 for two-day pass; $800 for one-day training session to $1,600 for two-day training session

Focused on application security, this conference goes deep into topics, with mobile technology and IoT well represented in last year's schedule and sure to make an appearance again. The conference is organized by the nonprofit Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), an organization devoted to improving app security from a vendor-neutral perspective.

Attendees won't just spend all their time getting into the technical weeds. Last year, for instance, Sean Carberry reported in FCW that there was a lively discussion of the potential shortcomings of the federal government's new cybersecurity assurance program and its impact on decision-makers.

Who should attend? Developers, auditors, risk managers, technologists, and entrepreneurs.

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the mother of all Gartner conferences, aimed specifically at CIOs and technology executives in general. The 2017 agenda isn't set yet, but the ITxpo generally aims to keep decision-makers abreast of the big picture and emerging technologies for the coming year.

Andrew Hickey of A10 Networks attended the 2016 ITxpo, and noted that the concept of "intelligence" was a key thread, especially as it applies to the Internet of Things. Prepare for more IoT and mobile content this year.

Who should attend? CIOs and senior IT executives.

IT/Dev Connections

This conference is aimed at developers and IT professionals of all stripes, focusing on plenty of topics. Mobility and IoT are in the mix, but there's also big data and BI, virtualization, DevOps, enterprise management, cloud and data center, development platforms and tools, and enterprise collaboration.

Tech tracks are largely, though not exclusively, focused on Microsoft products, and can tackle the larger management and institutional problems surrounding that venerable company. As Michael Morisy reported in Windows IT Pro, last year's conference featured a panel discussing the changes in the industry Microsoft pros have experienced over the decades, including the company's sometimes disorienting move away from a Windows-exclusive ecosystem.

Who should attend? Developers, admins, and IT pros.

TechCrunch Disrupt

TechCrunch, the AOL-owned blog focused on startups and web entrepreneurs, runs the twin Disrupt conferences on each coast, aimed at anyone involved with or interested in the intersection between the startup world and emerging technologies. It features hackathons, provocative panel discussions, and A-list speakers. Many leading companies use Disrupt as a springboard, so it's a good spot to see what's coming next.

Who should attend? Anyone interested in seeing what the startup world has to offer in emerging technology.

Very big and very legendary


  • Twitter: @rsaconference
  • Web:
  • Date: February 13-17, 2017
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Cost: Full conference passes are $1,995 through January 13, with prices increasing to $2,695 when purchased at the door. Discounts available for students, group sales, and one-day passes

RSA is a huge and venerable security conference, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. But it's up to date on the topics you need to know about. As noted by Jonathan Varian in this Fortune article, the 2016 conference featured content on the dilemmas posed by Apple's refusal to decrypt an iPhone for the FBI. Martin Fink from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise made a pitch that, in light of the huge amount of data security tools need to parse, "the security problem is now an analytics problem."

Mobile and IoT topics will continue to get the spotlight this year: The conference's official blog just put up a long article about "the weaponization of IoT," for instance, which will be the subject of a sandbox session this year.

Attendees should do their pre-conference homework and sketch out a game plan, since this is a very large conference, with 33,000-plus attendees and more than 400 speakers.

Who should attend? Security professionals at all levels of an organization.

South by Southwest (SXSW)

  • Twitter: @sxsw
  • Web:
  • Date: March 10-19, 2017
  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Cost: $1,125 for a badge for Interactive events; $1,450 for a Platinum badge that also offers access to film and music events

SXSW is at this point a behemoth of a conference, mostly known as a music and film industry confab with an important tech track (they call it "interactive") that overlaps with the creative side. The design and creative mindset is reflected in many of the panel topics, including "Designing for the Internet of Things," "The Internet of Things You Don't Own," "Opening a Film In a Mobile World," and "Back to the Future: Securing Marty McFly's World."

Who should attend? Developers, entrepreneurs, and execs looking to not only be inspired by some visionary, slightly off-center tech talk, but also eat some great tacos.

Microsoft Build

Microsoft's Build conference has always been a little less flashy than its Apple equivalent. But with an audience of developers building apps for Windows, Office 365, Edge/IE, SQL Server, Azure, Xbox, and HoloLens—using tools such as Visual Studio 2015, Visual Studio Code, and ASP.NET vNext—it's hugely important and influential. And under new CEO Satya Nadella, the company is pivoting to a platform-neutral model that will just broaden the conference's appeal.

Daniel Rubino, writing for the Windows Central blog, offered an extensive analysis of the goodies for developers at last year's conference, capturing some of the technologies the company is pitching to developers in hopes of seeing results a few years down the line. AI and "intelligent" apps, built into Windows at all levels from the PC to the Xbox to mobile phones, should particularly intrigue mobile developers and visionaries and surely get attention this year as well. Last year also saw a lot of activity around Internet of Things initiatives Microsoft hopes to integrate into its Azure cloud platform.

Who should attend? As mentioned, developers and execs at companies who work on products not just for Windows, but for iOS, Android, and the cloud.

Interop ITX

  • Twitter: @interop
  • Web:
  • Date: May 15-19, 2017
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Cost: Ranges from $249 for a Business Hall Pass to $2,899 for a Five-Day All-Access Pass

The venerable conference once known as Network/Interop hit its 30th anniversary last year, and this PC Magazine interview with founder Dan Lynch is a great look at where it's been. But Interop has more than kept up with the times, with a variety of technical content arranged along six tracks; people interested in IoT or mobility issues will be interested in the Data & Analytics and Cloud tracks particularly. There's also a Leadership & Professional Development track with plenty of meaty content for managers and IT executives.

Who should attend? Technology leaders, ranging from department heads to executives.

E3 Expo

A video game conference may seem a bit frivolous for people on the more "serious" side of IT, but know this: Many tech innovations roll out on gaming platforms first. And if you're interested in mobile tech, you can't ignore the fact that millions of people use their phones primarily as a gaming device—and IoT may be the next frontier.

Who should attend? Software developers, entertainment industry executives, venture capitalists, manufacturers, and resellers.

AWS re:Invent

AWS is Amazon's huge developer conference, mostly focused on its now-ubiquitous cloud storage and compute offering. But AWS is providing the backbone to a growing suite of product offerings, including Alexa, Amazon's stealth entry into the IoT market, meaning developers looking to take advantage of Alexa's capabilities should check it out.

At last year's conference, Amazon unveiled the AI services behind Alexa's conversational abilities, for instance. If you're looking to learn more about the future of Amazon's IoT offerings, this year's conference should bring clarity.

Who should attend? Developers and engineers, system administrators, systems architects, and technical decision-makers.

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