On September 29, 2015, the Dutch IoT community gathered for the First Strategic Internet of Things Congress held at the Mercure Hotel in Amsterdam.
The Congress became a meeting point for businesses, organizations and local authorities in The Netherlands.
The current approach towards IoT within the business community was voiced, among others, by Rami Avidan, Commercial Director M2M/IoT at Tele2 Group, one of Europe’s fastest growing telecom operators. He stated: “IoT is about being able to control a device, distribute data to and from that device, being able to understand what your business is doing and change its behavior.” The resulting organizational shifts can range from reducing the costs through automation to changing the business model altogether. He continued: “IoT is no longer something that we are only talking about. This is something that is happening every single day… As companies, we have to understand what this new technology does for us and implement it. Embrace the technology. Understand what it will do for you. Do not resist it.” According to Avidan, those who fail to react to change will follow the proverbial example of Kodak, whose resistance to societal and technological change resulted in the company’s demise.
The Mayor of Eindhoven Rob van Gijzel joined the Congress to share the governmental view on implementing IoT in the Netherlands. Van Gijzel has been serving as the city’s mayor since 2008; it is him who is credited to have transformed Eindhoven into a global technological hotspot. In 2013 Forbes acknowledged Eindhoven as one of the World’s most “inventive” cities, and last year VentureBeat cited this city as a dream location for tech companies thanks to factors like High Tech Campus, Technical University of Eindhoven, regional proliferation of hardware manufacturers and others. Such fame makes one wonder—how do local authorities approach the implementation of new technologies? Speaking at the Congress, van Gijzel highlighted the need to reconsider the so-called Top Sector policy in The Netherlands, an idea he has shared with the Dutch media before. The suggested alternative would be to look into the possible options for linking businesses across such sectors instead. According to the Mayor, the top-down vertical dynamics of industry management are clashing with modern-day business and technological realities. This, in turn, leads to the obstruction of profitable opportunities. Van Gijzel also emphasized that cities are increasingly becoming centers for developing and adopting future technologies; meanwhile it is our task to make new technology “humanized”—and to do this, simply integrating new technologies is not enough. To make technology human-oriented, we need to make the technology itself affordable, efficient and, most importantly—create “smart communities” where parties are connected with each other. “It is not about adopting the technology, it’s about changing the way we live as a community,” he said.
— Rob van Gijzel (@rvangijzel) September 29, 2015
Two of the Panel Discussions addressed the growing need to balance out the interests of businesses, governments, and the society. The first panel reflected the ranging views on the data privacy aspect. Marino Strik (NXP Semiconductors), Leo J. van der Putten (Clickey) and Danny Mekic (NewTeam) dicussed the role of society and the government in handling data and day-to-day technologies. Strik expressed hope that “humanization of tech” will be taking place, to which Mekic recounted that humanizing tech means inflicting human traits onto something that is not human in the first place. Importantly, both the panel and the audience seemed to be wary of the Governmental interference with ciziten data. Mekic suggested that the Government should stay away from the citizen data altogether—something that will at least partially prevent it from meddling with people’s personal lives.
Rob van Kranenburg, founder of the Internet of Things Council, joined one of the panels as a facilitator—he helped steer the discussion about the governmental policy on integrating IoT on a larger scale. Van Kranenburg contributed the foreword to the 17th edition of NRG Magazine—in it, he is presenting the Internet of Things as a turning point in human history, and reflects on the human capacity to cope with what’s yet to come. He wrote: “We’ve been in moments like this before… These moments were like doors to the rooms we did not know existed. Always, though, there were voices envisioning and predicting the existence of these doors… Up until now, humankind has not been able to harvest from such visionaries…” You can read the foreword here.
Besides the speeches and panels, the attendees could also choose between several parallel sessions and a workshop hosted by the Internet of Things Academy. Wienke Giezeman, initiator of The Things Network, led one of the sessions with a practical example of setting up an IoT project. Giezeman is the technologist behind the one-of-a-kind data network recently launched in Asmterdam. The Things Network allows objects to communicate with each other without mobile networks or WiFi, relying on the technology called LoraWAN™ instead. Having put it up in six weeks, Giezeman is now off to crowdfunding a global campaign to replicate the network in other cities around the world.
The new edition of the Internet of Things Congress will take place in April 2016. Reserve your seats today.