Between the smart home, wearables and the industrial internet, we’re hearing about the internet of things all the time. But before we start connecting devices, we need to connect people in more places, improve connectivity in our homes and offices and even figure out how we can connect our web services to these new products that you control via an app.
It’s a lot to take in. That’s why we’re excited to host Structure Connect, a conference dedicated to the challenges and opportunities that ubiquitous connectivity in everything from sensors to smoke detectors is creating. The conference will take place in San Francisco on Oct. 21 and 22 at the Mission Bay Conference Center. We’ll use the event to discuss how we turn the theoretical promises of energy savings, smarter cities, automated homes that anticipate your needs and more-efficient businesses into reality. You’ll want to be there, so register today.
But before we get into the nitty gritty from speakers in industries that range from healthcare to home automation, we need to cover the basics. Let’s start with connecting everyone and everything.
1) Connect the people
For a lot of people, the internet already blankets their lives in some unbroken mish-mash of Wi-Fi, cellular and satellite connectivity that devices can use to share data and offer services. But from the cities of Latin America to the plains of Africa, connectivity isn’t a given. That’s one reason we’re excited to announce that Chris Weasler, the director of global connectivity at Facebook will be speaking about how the company’s Internet.org effort is working with wireless carriers to connect the next 5 billion people. We’ll discuss the implications of bringing that many people online, and what that means for new services where connectivity may help compensate for a lack of infrastructure.
2. Connect your homes
You don’t have to go to Africa to experience poor connectivity. Even in high-tech cities like San Francisco or Austin, Texas, you may have areas of your town or even inside your home where the connection is spotty or non-existent.
Wi-Fi isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better, and the routers that deliver Wi-Fi today are a perfect place for intelligence about the home network or manufacturing floor to reside. As home broadband connections improve, sharing Wi-Fi enables broader coverage in city streets that could be useful for connecting devices like Google Glass that are Wi-Fi only. Martin Varsavsky, the CEO of Fon, will share his vision for Wi-Fi and connecting more places.
3. Connecting services on the web
As we’ve said before, the internet of things isn’t about things; it’s about cheap data and the services that cheap data can enable. But to build those services, consumers and businesses must figure out how to connect the data coming from different devices and create something useful. This is easy for programmers, but intimidating for the masses, which is why If This Then That is such an interesting startup. We’ll have IFTTT CEO Linden Tibbets onstage discussing the challenges and opportunities in creating an environment for connecting the real world to the virtual one.
4. Connecting healthcare
Once the basic connectivity issues are solved and you’re connecting services, applying those platforms to help people seems like the next obvious step. You can do this on the consumer side (as Withings president Phillipe Schwartz can discuss) or in the medical world (as Ashley Simpson of Celebration Health is doing). And because when you have the devices, the doctors and the business processes in place, you also want to link them to the web. Partnerships such as the one Salesforce has with Philips are attempting to make that leap, which is why Vivek Kundra, the executive vice president, industries at Salesforce and the former CIO of the United States will be at the conference to share his stories.
5. Connecting devices
This is where most people are focused. Connected devices, especially consumer-oriented connected devices, right now are getting much of the attention devoted to the internet of things. We’ll have Eric Migicovsky, the CEO of Pebble, discussing wearable devices, Alex Hawkinson, the CEO of SmartThings, discussing home automation and a really cool presentation with Pandora CTO Chris Martin on giving the internet of things a voice by bringing the web to speakers. But because we aren’t just focused on the things; we’ll also be asking about business models and who will control the data associated with these products.
It’s going to be a fun show and attendees will have the opportunity to discuss opportunities and challenges with executives who have experience building various different layers of the internet of things. You’ll also hear how different businesses are already connecting their operations and get real insights from entrepreneurs about how they built connected products. There’s something for everyone and a lot to learn, so register today.
If you sign up before Friday is over, you’ll save $200 off the regular ticket price. I’ll see you there.