What a RIoT!

RIoT3bevlineThis post originally appeared on WRALTechWire.

DURHAM, N.C. – We held the third NC RIoT last night. That’s the North Carolina Regional Internet of Things meetup, co-hosted by the Wireless Research Center of NC and StepLeader. Over 200 hundred people packed into the swanky PNC Triangle Club at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Billed as the 2015 IoT Kickoff Extravaganza, the festivities included 11 companies displaying their hands-on Internet of Things (IoT) products, five speakers, and a giant, portable 106’ radio tower, welcoming attendees as they entered the ballpark.

The background of who attends a RIoT falls into two broad categories. The people that have been working the space for years, and those that are getting started and eager to learn more, with a common connection between both groups. There’s a palpable sense and a shared belief that we’re at the very beginning of something important. That sentiment held true across the RTP based companies, as well as the teams traveling from Charlotte and Smithfield.

The evening began with presentations by Thingovation and Advanced Compliance Solutions covering a high-level overview of the IoT market and it’s opportunities and challenges. Companies Bright Wolf and MiPayWay shared their own case-study of moving from idea to product to market with the help of the local startup and IoT communities. I finished off the formal pitches with “The State of IoT in NC”, sharing the past, present, and future of what’s happening here in our state. The presentations are available for download at ncriot.org/meetups.

As an organizer, the most exciting part of the event was quietly witnessing so many “aha” moments throughout the night. People swarmed the demo tables to see, touch, and feel IoT in action. They saw inventory tracking solutions from Entigral Systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones) by PrecisionHawk, connected medical devices from K4Connect and PharmAssist. They experienced behind-the-scenes peeks at the hardware and software powering the technology from Telit, Connected Development, Device Solutions, Logical Advantage, and many more. They unabashedly asked for introductions to companies and individuals they wanted to meet. They had a “light bulb” moment realizing that this is a growing community of over 500 people and over 150 companies in our state.

At the end of the evening we tasked the audience to “start something”. The consensus is that we are starting something and indeed after the same goal: to help each other make our state a global hub for IoT innovation. That’s no simple task, but we’re on the way. Let’s see what we’ve started and what all these like-minded members of the RIoT community will start.

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