Our whirlwind journey to London,UK to take part in Intel’s IoT Enterprise Programme was well worth the travel.
Over a two-day period we met some of the leading minds, companies and organizations involved in the rapidly growing Internet of Things industry. Plus we got to see how the East London Tech Community stacks up against our Ottawa homebase - or as some call it, the ‘Silicon Valley of the North.’
Aside from the great contacts we made, we got a global perspective on the future of IoT. Here are some of our key takeaways:
The 3 Elements of the Future of IoT:
- IoT is real and is happening right now. There is rapid growth in new disruptive IoT devices, services and business models across the globe.
- IoT is here to stay. Don’t wait - your competitors are innovating and the industry you are in will undergo change because of new IoT devices and services.
- You need IoT Partners. No one company can do it all themselves successfully. You need partners to develop hardware IoT solutions
Hardware Startup Tech Scene in East London
Within hours of landing in London, we were in the heart of IoT in the UK. The first thing we noticed was how dense the East London tech district was. For example, in the five square block area we were in there were at least three hardware-focused incubator complexes and programs. These included:
- A large UK based tech incubator whose location in Finsbury Square was also home to a co-working space, dozens of hardware IoT startups, New Entrepreneurs Foundation and a big Silicon Valley Bank Office
- Chinese-based incubator whose 70,000 sq/ft London location was home to Hardware Pioneers and contained loads of office space, meeting rooms and five-star amenities. Plus access to the lucrative Chinese market and venture capital.
- An IoT hardware and maker-culture focused partnership program created by the British Council and Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab.
The three-day trip was also anchored around two main events organized by Hardware Pioneers - ‘a global community of 5000 pioneers building IoT products.’ First up, an evening event on IoT prototyping and the first ever workshop of the Intel Iot program.
First Event: “IoT Products from Prototyping to Production”
This was a jam-packed evening session with at least 70 people, and 3 guest speakers from Raspberry Pi, RS Components and Silicon Labs. And in talking to fellow hardware product development attendees we discovered RS Components is their equivalent to Digikey, who we use to source prototype and electronic hardware components. Very cool!
Second Event: First Workshop of Intel’s IoT Executive Program
This was the event that drew us over to London.
We applied in early 2017 and we were excited to learn we earned a spot in this exclusive program. Twenty-five 25 executives attended the first workshop, representing companies involved in IoT product development.
The last important takeaway for us came on the plane ride home over the Atlantic. We received an email from a key contact we made who in following up with us mentioned:
“When it comes to IoT there aren't many experienced product development consultancies here in UK therefore I believe Design 1st is in a very good position ”
This message really resonated with us, because three years ago we made the conscious decision to go “all-in,” placing out bets on IoT. This involved merging with an experienced full-service hardware electronics firm and growing our in-house IoT prototyping facilities. Since then we have developed multiple IoT solutions for customers across the globe.
And while no one may know exactly where the future of the IoT industry is headed, our trip to London let us know we are on the right path.