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Top 10 IoT and edge computing conferences to attend in 2019

Need to come up to speed on the Internet of Things and edge computing but not sure where to put your conference dollars? Here’s a comprehensive guide to 10 interesting IoT events.

In the beginning, IoT conferences were mostly glitzy show floors full of consumer gizmos. Many of the devices shown had little to no practical purpose and more than a few security bugs. Today, IoT has turned into serious business (albeit with serious security challenges). The IoT field has branched into different disciplines, too, such as smart cities, healthcare, and Industrial IoT (IIoT). Attending the right conference is crucial to keeping abreast of the rapid-fire changes in each sphere of usage.

The best conferences and events not only teach the tools, processes, and tactics in use today, but also expose and explore emerging IoT-related concepts. Choosing the right IoT conference is even more important if your organization is planning to pair IoT with other new technologies such as blockchain, fog and edge computing, advanced analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles. That means you need to pay attention to technical efforts outside sensors as well as matters related to computing at the edge, because the technology solutions interface with those other endeavors.

But IoT is still in its formative years. Several technologies surrounding it, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, are in their infancy. It is difficult for general IoT conferences to be narrow enough to be helpful to business organizations but broad enough to hit all the bases. Yet, some do pull it off well. Other conferences cater to specific verticals, and the best of them dive deep.

To help you get the most for your time and money, here’s a comprehensive guide to the best conferences to attend to 2019. If a conference is aimed at a specific audience or industry vertical, such is noted in the description. I would attend these IoT conferences because they are short on buzzwords and long on how-tos, whatsits, and ROI pointers. I highlight the "best of the best" with a gold star, indicating the four events on my own short list.

IoT Evolution Expo

Twitter: @IoTEvolution

Web: https://www.iotevolutionexpo.com/east/#

Date: January 29 – February 1, 2019

Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Cost: Full registration $2,995

This conference is for IT professionals who are adding or managing IoT and related technologies as a part of IT operations. Here you will find sessions on nearly every aspect of IoT in enterprise operations, such as IoT related bandwidth challenges, gateway architectures, remote monitoring, asset management, deployment rollouts, and interoperability issues. But there are also sessions and tracks on business intelligence, analytics, and security. As you would expect of a conference with an IT slant, the focus is on improving efficiencies, driving revenue opportunities, and solving business problems. As a sample: “Lessons from the Greater City of Atlanta” in the smart cities track, and “LPWAN in Space: Think You Can't Get Ubiquity in Those Hard to Reach Terrains? Think Again.”

The Smart Cities Conference, the Industrial IoT Conference, IoT Evolution Health, and LPWAN Expo are all colocated with this event, so there are plenty of crossover opportunities for IT.

Industry of Things World USA

Twitter: @IoTClan

Web: https://www.industryofthingsworldusa.com/

Date: March 6-8, 2019

Location: San Diego, CA

Cost: Starts at $2,295

This event is in its fourth year and maturing nicely. The conference takes the high view, as it serves an audience of executives more interested in the business end of IIoT than the technical end. Expect a strong mix of session topics focused on how IIoT affects business models and production processes in several major industries.

For 2019, the emphasis is on identifying new business models, competing with or becoming industry disruptors, optimizing ROI, balancing human talent with AI for maximum profit, and modernizing infrastructures and services.

In short, this conference is tailor-made for executives looking to remake business models, capture rewards, mitigate risks, and learn and network with peers wrangling with these same concerns around IIoT.

Are you looking for help with your AI deep learning journey? We have a Dummies Guide for that.

ACM/IEEE IoTDI 2019

Twitter: @TheOfficialACM

Web: http://conferences.computer.org/iotDI/2019/

Date: April 15-18, 2019

Location: Montreal, Canada

Cost: TBD

The ACM/IEEE International Conference on Internet of Things Design and Implementation (IoTDI) is an entirely different kind of IoT conference. Esoteric by design, this conference is highly technical and focused on the interconnection of IoT with both cloud computing and cyber-physical systems.

It’s not for everyone, but it has everything for those who are ready to tackle the most challenging and cryptic aspects of IoT, up to and beyond IoT theory, system design, novel protocols, network abstractions, embedded networked front ends, cloud back ends, and human-in-the-loop issues.

This conference is a brain-twisting, mind-boggling deep dive into the technical realm where cyber, physical, and social systems merge. You’ll find it equal parts inspiring and vexing, but never dull. The 2018 conference had presentations like "Implications of AI on IoT and Cloud Systems" and “Automatic Dependency Management for Scientific Applications on Clusters.” In other words, this conference is all red meat for serious engineers and scientists to chew on.

What else would you expect from ACM, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers?

IEEE 5th World Forum on Internet of Things

Twitter: @ComSoc

Web: http://wfiot2019.iot.ieee.org/

Date: April 15-18, 2019

Location: Limerick, Ireland

Cost: €850 (US$980)

Discount: IEEE members

This is the premier conference for the IEEE IoT Initiative. Attendees are typically from the research community, the public sector, and industry. It’s heavy on the technical side, with a broad array of peer-reviewed papers and presentations by respected people in many different fields and disciplines. Ranging from practical applications to explorations of the theoretical possibilities, this is IoT nirvana for engineers.

If you’re looking to master smart things now and take a hands-on approach to shaping innovations in IoT, and session titles like “Early Detection of Mild Cognitive Impairment in Elderly Through IoT: Preliminary Findings” and “Modeling of Roof‐Mountable Thermoelectric Generator for Smart Factory” make you smile, this is the conference for you.

2019 vertical sessions include agriculture; automotive and transportation; healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices; IIoT; Maritime IoT; and smart cities.

Topic sessions include advanced communications and connectivity and 5G technologies; artificial intelligence; cybersecurity, data security, and privacy technologies; data and the IoT—volume, velocity, and variability; green technologies—the environment, sustainability, and the circular economy; and sensors and sensor systems.

IoT Tech Expo 

Twitter: @iottechexpo

Web: https://www.iottechexpo.com/global/

Dates and locations: Global Expo April 25-26, 2019 (London); Europe Expo June 19-20, 2019 (Amsterdam); North America TBD, but in 2018, it was held in November (Silicon Valley)

Cost: A free limited pass is available. Increased access to sessions and workshops starts at €119 (US$193) and tops out at €1,449 (US$1,683).

IoT Tech Expo is one of the biggest IoT conference series in the world, with hundreds of companies participating and more than 12,000 attendees expected at the 2019 Global Expo alone. Of last year’s attendees, 56 percent were director-level and above, such as CTO, IT director, or startup founder. It’s targeted to a myriad mix of verticals including OEMs, government, automotive, operators, technology providers, investors, and venture capitalists.

If you’re looking to power network, this is the conference for you. The 2019 speakers list reads like a Who’s Who directory in all things IoT, and many of the speakers hail from household-name companies. Attendees are similarly representative of some of the biggest brands using IoT today. In other words, almost the entire IoT ecosystem is represented here.

Session and workshop topics cover the gamut: smart building and facilities management, building the connected supply chain, intelligent city and transport management, smart grid data management and analytics, asset monitoring and management, delivering smart connected new products, and everything in between. It’s especially notable for trend spotting and innovation updates.

IoT World 2019 

Twitter: @IoTWorldSeries 

Web: https://tmt.knect365.com/iot-world-series/

Date: May 13-16, 2019

Location: Santa Clara, CA

Cost: $795 (for a two-day developers pass) to $2,295 (four-day everything pass)

In years past, this conference focused almost exclusively on whatever was new in IoT. But in 2018, IoT World shifted focus to growing partner ecosystems and fitting puzzle pieces together in behemoth vertical industries such as IIoT and artificial intelligence. While specific information about the 2019 event is not yet available, it is likely that IoT World 2019 will continue on that path.

Though IoT is far from mature, it is growing up quickly. Technical audiences are more interested in how to optimize IoT business models, developer processes, and hardware and software investments than in what shiny thing comes next. This event hits a sweet spot in building ecosystems and developing partnerships to master increasingly sophisticated IoT uses.

Bluetooth World

Twitter: @BluetoothEvents

Web: https://bluetoothworldevent.com/

Date and location: Bluetooth World, TBD; Bluetooth Asia, May 2019 (Shenzhen, China)

Cost: Free to attend; an all access pass is just US$99)

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG) celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018. The conference just wrapped up in September, and presumably the U.S. event will be at a similar time next year. Bluetooth World is the official exhibition of this industry nonprofit, which oversees the development of Bluetooth standards and the licensing of Bluetooth technologies and trademarks to manufacturers.

Given Bluetooth is a keystone in most things IoT, this conference will be of keen interest to anyone involved in developing, inventing, innovating, or using any of the myriad products for IoT. Among the sessions at the 2018 conference were “Expanding Bluetooth Mesh for Low-Power Applications” and “Beer and Bluetooth: Innovation on Tap.”

After all, Bluetooth is all grown up now. Where once it was mostly a personal, hands-free communication tool, it’s now an industrial-grade connectivity engine. If you weren’t already aware of that transformation with this older—let’s say mature—technology, you definitely want to attend and come up to speed. And if you were aware, you’ll find the updates on what’s new very useful.

Internet of Things Developer Conference

Twitter: @iotdevcon

Web: http://www.iot-devcon.com/index.php

Date: June 5-6, 2019

Location: Santa Clara, CA

Cost: TBD; the 2018 event cost $295

This conference is uniquely for programmers working with IoT, machine learning, and AI—and for those who want to hire them. You’ll also find plenty of opportunities to learn through developer tip sharing, hands-on demonstrations, and expert guidance in sessions and socials.

This event is where developers learn how to solve problems and speed development work in emerging IoT, machine learning, and AI applications. There is also plenty of technical analysis, tutorials, business strategies, and product updates to bring you up to speed on just about everything in IoT and AI. The 2018 conference sessions included “Measuring Battery Life in IoT Devices” and “Application-Specific Processors for Deep Learning Acceleration.”

While 2019 session and speaker details have not yet been finalized, the 2018 conference serves as a good guide on what to expect. The 2018 topics included ultra-low-power IoT node design; connectivity protocols and industry standards; building hubs to harness the data explosion; software development environments for M2M applications; IoT gateways; and the future of IoT and AI.

Linux Foundation OpenIoT Summit

Twitter: @linuxfoundation 

Web: https://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/elc-openiot-north-america-2019/

Date: August 21- 23, 2019

Location: San Diego, CA

Cost: TBD; 2018 registration was $850

Open source is king of the IoT app development space—and the luster on that crown won’t lose its shine anytime soon. For 2019, the OpenIoT Summit and the Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) are again combined into one event. Both are heavily technical and aimed squarely at developers and system architects.

ELC is the vendor-neutral technical conference for companies and developers using Linux in embedded products, while OpenIoT Summit is the same for IIoT.

In a word, if you are a developer working with IoT, this is where you need to be. Whether you're a Linux wizard or aren’t all that familiar with Linux yet, you’ll walk away with better skills and higher earning power. (Note that we also publish a set of recommended Linux and open source conferences for 2019.)

Fog World Congress 

Twitter: @OpenFog

Web: https://www.fogcongress.com/about-fog-world-congress.aspx

Date: TBD, likely October 2019

Location: TBD

Cost: $99 (exhibit hall) to $1,395

If you haven’t heard about Fog Computing yet—a.k.a. Cloud to Thing—you will soon. Fog computing is similar to edge computing but not quite the same thing. Fog is distributed computing, storage, control, and networking services uniquely designed to support IoT, 5G mobile systems, big data, edge analytics, and embedded AI. There’s even an immersive fog that can connect devices in ways that overcome traditional network constraints and computes in real time, beyond the resource limitations of IoT devices.  

Yes, it’s complicated and new, but fog computing is here to stay and probably will merge with traditional clouds at some point. In short, this is stuff you need to know now if you expect to expand your company’s IoT play—meaning, yes, another conference.

The Fog World Congress is jointly conducted by the OpenFog Consortium and the IEEE. It is heavy on the technical side, built for hard-core industry and academia folks. The intent is to bring relevant communities up to speed on fog computing’s latest research, technical developments, and industry implementations. Expect tutorial sessions on just about every related topic and use case. There’s a fog hackathon; expert guided, interactive roundtable discussions; disruptor application explorations; and futuristic planning.

If your plan is to keep your company—or your career—at the top of its game, this is a great conference to attend.

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. But if we missed a conference or event you find useful for any reason, please let us know by tweeting to @enterprisenxt so we can update this reference.

This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.