Cambridge Wireless Conference looks at who will benefit from the Internet of Things.
Over 300 senior mobile industry executives, academics and advisors from 25 countries converged on Cambridge over the last two days for The 5th Future of Wireless International Conference to explore the future of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). Top of the agenda was the question, who will benefit from a world with 50 billion connected devices and who will be the winners and losers when it comes to making money from the IoT?
“The energy and enthusiasm at this week’s conference reflects the real excitement building around the Internet of Things that reminds me of the early 90s when the Internet was something only a few geeks had heard of,” said David Cleevely, Chairman of Cambridge Wireless.
“We have seen what happened then and know that the potential for the IoT could be huge. But this time round we have learnt the lessons and everyone from operators and device manufacturers to innovative start-ups see opportunities to change the way we do things and make money in the process.”
In his last public presentation as CEO of ARM, Warren East pointed to the need for low power and low cost:
“I believe that the vast majority of devices will be wireless and battery powered – or energy harvesting powered – so power efficiency will be key. If we are going to see these devices deployed in their billions then they will have to be low cost – there are already microcontroller chips for sensors in the 50cent (66 pence) space. No one company can own the IoT space and we see collaborations and partnership as being a critical ingredient in its success.”
From an operator perspective, Dr Mike Short, Vice President of Telefonica Europe, also sees the IoT as a major opportunity.
“The Internet is a key enabler for the Digital economy; every sector now needs a digital switchover plan to remain competitive in terms of ideas and information, customer care and social media, supply chain and sales distribution. Wireless access to the Internet will be key to this competitiveness.”
In the Cambridge Debate, chaired by Peter Day, Business Correspondent at the BBC, the motion that ‘This house believes that mobile network operators will not be winners in the Internet of Things’ was just passed. Speaking for the motion was James Collier, CTO of Neul, who was challenged by Alex Sinclair, CTO at GSMA.
Keynote speaker Rolf Meakin, a partner at PwC specialising in technology, media and telecommunications sees the IoT as a business enabler:
“Whether it’s athletic shoes to stay fit, insurance to stay safe or appliances to complete certain tasks more efficiently, customers buy products and services with a specific goal in mind. Up until now, businesses have not done much, beyond understanding the customers’ motive enough to market a product or service, in order to achieve a sales transaction. This is changing.”
“The future is about going beyond the transaction, creating a post-transaction relationship between customers and businesses to help customers achieve the goals they buy the product for. What makes this approach possible is a set of emerging technologies collectively called the Internet of Things: wireless communications, cloud-based processing, all types of sensors, embeddable computers and real-time analytics.”
Despite the obvious optimism at the conference, Cambridge Wireless Chairman David Cleevely added a word of warning:
“We need to watch out for the hype – getting the Internet off the ground required standards including the World Wide Web and we are some way off a unified approach. But one thing is clear: when we turn that corner this will grow very fast, so the time is right to put in place an IoT business strategy.”
Other speakers included Seigmund Redl, Vice President and General Manager Corporate Marketing Europe, MediaTek; John Cunliffe, CTO Ericsson Western & Central Europe; Steve Townsend, Group CIO, Transport for London; Frank Mackel, UK Managing Director, Rohde & Schwarz; Moray Rumney, Lead Technologist, Agilent Technologies; Paul Green, Technology & Marketing Director, Arkessa; Nello Cristianini, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, University of Bristol; Andy Bovingdon, VP Product Marketing, Bango; Robin Duke-Woolley, Beecham Research; Dr Ekta Sood, Head of Products, Hildago; Rob Barnes, Senior Director, Java Product Management, Oracle; Stephen Deadman, Head of Legal Privacy, Vodafone.
The 5th Future of Wireless International Conference was organised by Cambridge Wireless – the not-for-profit industry forum with a network of nearly 400 members involved in the development and application of wireless technologies – in partnership with UK Trade and Investment and ICT Knowledge Transfer Network. Sponsors of The Future of Wireless International Conference included Accenture, Qualcomm, MediaTek, PwC, Ranplan, Rohde & Schwarz, TTP, Microlease, Cambridge Consultants, S-Tech Insurance, IC Group, InterDigital, Arkessa, u-blox AG, Freescale, Jaltek Group, Broadcom, Anite, Microwave Marketing, Argon Design, Real Wireless and NVIDIA.
“The conference was a tremendous success and clearly the very topical subject matter resonated with delegates from around the world and I am sure that the discussions and debate will help to shape IoT strategies and plans,” said Soraya Jones, CEO at Cambridge Wireless. “We are extremely grateful to our partners and sponsors to help make this happen and look forward to welcoming people back to Cambridge next year.”