In the past I’ve been to a number of IoT-related events that I’d consider ‘OK’ or ‘pretty interesting’ but Cisco’s Internet of Things World Forum (IoTWF) was something very different – something that I would label ‘amazing’. Located in Dubai, one of the most innovative and connected cities in the world this event had the right blend of thought leaders and topics with a general feel of excitement and collaboration around IoT that I had not yet seen in an event.

IoTWF had great energy around the potential for IoT to help make all of our lives better, both personally and socially, while providing the next global economic pulse. From keynote speakers and session breakouts there was a clear consensus that the path to succeeding with IoT required the industry as a whole to be highly collaborative in our approach to solving issues around connectivity, security, and interoperability.  

The IoTWF event planners did a wonderful job of reinforcing this ideal with their line-up of exhibitors. Super heavyweights like M3, Siemens, and Honeywell displayed a variety of IoT-based solutions, proving their commitment to integrating connectivity into industrial controls and applications. This was well balanced with a showcase of innovative and disruptive startups like Ayla (the end to end PaaS for IoT), Mnubo (predictive analytics for connected devices), and Nebbiolo Technologies (hardware for fog computing at the edge). 

Screen_Shot_2015-12-20_at_2.33.16_PM.pngIn keynotes and breakouts we heard that the major areas of innovation in IoT will come from startups like these and our conversations with attendees at the Ayla booth proved just that. High-level decision makers from private, public, and government organizations across the globe spoke with us about their struggles identifying solutions around device connectivity, cloud services, and mobile development for their IoT products — all components of the Ayla platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution.

These discussions at IoTWF have validated Ayla’s vision for what an IoT platform should provide to help connected device manufacturers reduce their time to market. We’re making a great business on this vision and have many customer success stories to demonstrate that — and that feels good.

However, after my time at IoTWF and feeling the true vibe of IoT on a global scale I realize that Ayla is doing more than just helping customers succeed. We’re also driving innovation within the entire industry by setting a model for IoT platforms of the future. Global AWS cloud service, device management UI, pre-built connectivity module, mobile libraries and templates, and open API for simple 3rd party cloud integrations are some of the core components to that ‘killer platform’ that so many attendees of the event were looking for.

Just as many IoTWF speakers claimed, in the IoT evolution our biggest innovations will be made by the smallest companies. Without a doubt Ayla is one of those small companies doing just this — and that feels great!

Thanks to Cisco for putting together such a great event. I look forward to IoTWF in 2016!