Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

CES becomes gathering point for IoT buyers

Steve Rogerson
April 17, 2018



Audits of attendees to the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas indicate that the event has become one of the world's largest gathering points for IoT buyers, according to the IoT M2M Council (IMC).
 
Crucial IoT segments, including automobiles, wearable devices, smart appliances and home automation, drew more than ten thousand attendees each at CES 2017, and the medical device sector brought over seven thousand.
 
For the first time in January 2018, show organiser the Consumer Technology Association teamed with the IMC – a trade group representing 25,000 IoT buyers – to produce a special pavilion for IoT infrastructure, giving OEMs that attend the show a dedicated venue.
 
"We were very pleasantly surprised with the volume and quality of B2B traffic in the IMC's IoT Infrastructure Pavilion at CES this year," said Peter Nilsson, CMO of Nimbelink, a provider of special-built IoT modems and an inaugural exhibitor at the pavilion. “We met several prospects from start-up companies, as well as many established IoT players. We are definitely looking forward to another great event in 2019.”
 
At CES 2018, the IMC also produced conference sessions on IoT Infrastructure as part of CES's conference programme.
 
The IMC has extensive, quantitative data from its members that IoT buyers do not self-identify as connectivity experts. As such, they are unlikely to attend events that emphasise IoT or telecommunications technology, but rather, go to shows that cover their industries. CES covers most of the consumer-facing applications for connected devices, offering a convenient venue for manufacturers that produce these devices.
 
The IMC's IoT Infrastructure Pavilion is next to designated areas for connected cars and smart cities at CES, and its footprint is slated to increase significantly for 2019.
 
"We see the major function of the IMC as bringing IoT buyers and sellers together, so this event suits us very well," said IMC chairman Syed Hosain, who as CTO of IoT communications provider Aeris was also an inaugural exhibitor at the pavilion.
 
The latest company to join the IMC is 1NCE, a provider of low-cost, tier-one connectivity for IoT, including narrow-band and Cat-M connections,. The company says it intends to use the trade group to help spread the word of its €10 flat-rate for cellular connections that are good for ten years, using a prepaid SIM card.
 
Largely bankrolled by Deutsche Telekom, 1NCE intends to bring IoT technology to entirely new and existing low-bandwidth applications on a scale not yet seen by making device connectivity easier and cheaper.
 
"The mission of the IMC is to make it easier for enterprise users and OEMs to deploy IoT technology, and we are completely aligned with that mission," said Alexander Bufalino, chief sales officer at 1NCE and a former IMC chairman who will return to a seat on the IMC board, "The group attracts large numbers of users in crucial IoT markets like energy, construction, smart cities and logistics that are natural targets for low-cost connectivity."
 
The company is making a name for itself quickly in the IoT sector with its low-cost flat rate, which is designed to ease life-cycle management and improve RoI for connected devices.
 
"Today, there's a lot of guess work involved in putting devices in the field,” said Bufalino. “Cellular connectivity can be expensive to begin with, and rates can increase over time. We hope to eliminate that impediment, and provide a spark to move the IoT industry forward."
 
Roughly 90% of the IMC's rank-and-file adopter members say they have direct input into IoT buying decisions, and connectivity services are one of their most highly sourced items. A plurality of the adopter members self-identifies as coming from the corporate function of operations, and they are heavily invested in systems-level procurement, such as connectivity and software systems. The IMC gains 300 new adopters weekly, and compiles demographic information across the membership, while providing a platform for lead-generation, promotion and research for its board.
 
With more than 25,000 enterprise users and OEMs that buy IoT products and services as members, the IMC is the largest and fastest-growing trade group dedicated to the global IoT and M2M sector. Board member-companies include 1NCE, Aeris, Arrow, Avnet, BICS, Digi International, HPE, Intel, Kore, Laird, Orbcomm, MultiTech, PTC, Re-Teck, Semtech, Sigfox, Tata Communications, Teleena, Telit, U-Blox, Verizon and Vodafone.