The Internet of Things or IoT, is a seemingly ubiquitous term today. It’s certainly a topic of focus here at South by Southwest (SXSW). Raleigh company Reveal Mobile even had a presence at SXSW. Matthew Davis, Reveal Mobile’s VP of Marketing, was on a panel speaking to how Bluetooth beacons can improve location accuracy. But what does it mean? IoT is a network of connected items such as devices, buildings, or cars that are embedded with technology that allows the devices to collect data and exchange information.
Machine to machine communication has existed for decades – think about the remote control on your TV or your garage door opener. What changed with IoT is that device-to-device communication now happens over networks and the internet, enabling the transmission of previously unthinkable amounts of data. The ability to connect devices anywhere in the world over a network plus the additional layer of data is what makes IoT a revolutionary opportunity.
Maybe a quick example is in order. If you can monitor the health of diabetes patients across the country, with those data points funneling to a single repository, we could spot national and global trends that may significantly advance treatments and reduce health care costs. That’s IoT.
Raleigh and the Research Triangle are well positioned to capture the IoT opportunity. Companies based here have decades of experience in hardware design, developing intuitive software, and high-powered and scalable analytics – companies such as IBM, SAS, Cisco, and Cree as well as startups and early stage companies such as PrecisionHawk, FokusLabs, Reveal Mobile,MiPayWay, and Entrigral. Pair this technical strength with our academic community and we are poised to become a global leader in IoT. North Carolina State University and our other universities and colleges in the region not only produce top-tier talent, they also deliver revolutionary research with a strong track record of becoming commercialized – centers such as the ASSIST Center or the FREEDM System Center at NCSU.
We have all of the pieces today that make us a leader in IoT, and we’re proud to have one particular community that works to bring everyone together. The group known as NC RIoT is a community of over 1,400 members that works to actively bridge business, healthcare, academia, and policy makers. The mission of the North Carolina Regional Internet of Things is to lead our community in defining IoT opportunities locally, nationally, and globally, ensuring that each group works together and not in silos. NC RIoT hosts meetings every 1-2 months that draw between 250-400 attendees. At these events, RIoTers hear from national thought-leaders as well as local companies deeply involved in IoT.
Having the strengths of a diverse group of global companies, startups, academic institutions, and organic community organizations are what are making Raleigh and the Research Triangle a global leader in IoT.