IEEE 5th World Forum on Internet of Things brings together 500 Experts to discuss the future of IoT

The 5th IEEE  World Forum on the Internet of Things (WF-IoT 2019) was held at the University of Limerick, Ireland April 15th-18th 2019.  The IEEE World Forum on IoT is the premier IEEE event on IoT organized by the multi society IEEE IoT Initiative. It brings together distinguished participants from industry, the public sector, and the research community. The theme of this year’s event was “IoT and the Digital Revolution” in recognition of strides and leadership that the host location of Limerick and Ireland has made in developing operating principles, and policies for the deployment of “Smart” technologies. The theme also underscores the importance of IoT technologies in enabling the “Digital Revolution” and making it a reality. The papers, presentations, and events at the conference were focused on contributions that nurture, cultivate, enhance and accelerate the adoption of IoT technologies and applications for the benefit of society. In the past year the Internet of Things has experienced significant growth in the number of deployments, in the resource investment from both industry and governments, and in attention from technologists and researchers in almost every discipline. The term IoT captures the vision of a connected world where things, people, and their institutions can interact purposefully to create better lives and sustainable stewardship of the planet.

Some five hundred participants gathered in Limerick to exchange experiences from IoT deployments, obtain updates on technology advances, share visions and ideas, present the latest research results, and expand professional and social networking. These activities are a key part of the IEEE IoT Initiative’s mission and program.

The 4-day event featured: Twelve keynote speeches delivered by distinguished speakers from industry, academia and the public sector. Details available at http://wfiot2019.iot.ieee.org/program/plenaries/; A program of Technical Sessions in the form of oral and poster presentations reporting on the latest novel results from the research community, technical Workshops focusing on the latest trends in various technologies, and Tutorials for in depth understanding of various aspects of IoT;  a Program of dedicated Tracks for practitioners, policy makers, and executives built around applications of IoT to Vertical Markets and exploring cross cutting Topical Areas important to IoT; and lastly an Entrepreneurial Track dedicated to innovation around IoT and early stage IoT Companies.

As a key component of the conference, the IEEE 5th World Forum on the Internet of Things (WFIoT2019), the Technical Program addressed the exciting developments from the research and academic communities. It hosted a record number of contributions to form a broad program of papers and presentations on technology developments and innovations in the many fields and disciplines that drive the utility and vitality of IoT solutions and applications. After extensive peer review, the best of the papers and proposals were selected for the conference program. This included technical papers, tutorials, workshops, a doctoral symposium, special sessions, and industry sessions. The topics addressed were  designed specifically to advance technologies, end-to-end solutions, systems and infrastructure, processes, and operating methods, and experiences from demonstrations and field experiments, that are contributing to how IoT can reshape the world and overcome the challenges we face, so that all individuals can participate in and enjoy life on the planet to the fullest. The program and track co-chairs, and the organizing committee did an outstanding job of creating exiting sessions on issues of regional and global importance and brought in prominent and knowledgeable speakers and panellists for the program. We want to specifically acknowledge their contribution and the intensive effort behind the scenes that made the conference a success. The peer reviewed and presented papers from the conference are available through publication in IEEE Xplore.

The Technical Programme was also augmented by specific events for Young Professionals and for Women in Engineering.  This year’s forum included a special full day event entitled ‘Women in Engineering’ and occurred on April 17th.  The event included presentations and panel discussions by leading women practitioners from the wide area that IoT represents.  Speakers and contributors included Donna O’Shea (Cork Institute of Technology.  Lecturer in Computer Science and Principal Investigator of Riomh – Intelligent Secure Systems research group and member of Nimbus Research Centre), Grainne Barry (Regional Operations Director (Europe & India) for STATS Data & Technology Ltd, Chicago, USA), Grainne Murphy (Marketing manager, Industrial and IoT Solutions Group, Analog Devices (ADI), Raheen, Limerick, Ireland), Maria-Alexandra Paun (Scientist, EPFL, Switzerland), Ita Richardson (Lero, University of Limerick, Ireland), Ruth Lennon ( WIE UK & Ireland Affinity Group Committee and Enterprise application developer, researcher and lecturer at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology) and Chitra Balakrishna (Senior Lecturer in Cyber Security, Open University, UK).  The session organiser, Dr Sinead O’Keeffe of the Optical Fibre Sensors Research Centre (UL) and Dr Donna O’Shea (the keynote) were subsequently interviewed as part of the BBC Radio World Service magazine programme ‘Click’ which was recorded at the Forum and was a special programme dedicated to women working in Science and Technology.  It focussed on many of the topic areas of the event and included interviews with some of the contributors available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csy661

The program contained strong involvement from the public sector and industry aimed at deepening the understanding, the fostering the necessary dialog, and actions needed to accelerate the adoption and deployment of IoT.

 

Kate Forbes, Scottish Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy speaking to the attendees of IoT WF 2019 on efforts made by the Scottish government to foster the accelerate the deployment on digital and IoT technologies at one of the Plenary Sessions.

 

 

 

Many of the attendees were highly interested in the Thursday Plenary session where representatives from four different research agencies, including Ireland, the US, Korea, and the EU,  presented their views on the next steps in governmental programs to make IoT a technology and market success, and to provide the audience with a global view of strategies and approaches to IoT investments.

 

 

From left to right: Nikolaos Isaris (EU DG Connect), Thyaga Nandagopal (NSF USA), Heinrich Stüttgen (Co-Chair of IoT WF 2019), Aisling McEvoy (Science Foundation Ireland, Elfed Lewis (Co-Chair of IoT WF 2019) and Adam Dobot (Co-Chair of IoT WF 2019).

 

The IEEE WFIoT is unique in its composition and the broad ranging research and academic programme is augmented by a focus on Vertical and Topical Tracks which are designed to stimulate participation by industry and government/public service organizations.  This year’s technology tracks addressed topical areas such as Sensors and Sensor Systems for IoT, Advanced Communications and Connectivity for IoT, Data and Storage Platforms to master the explosion of IoT data, the use of Artificial Intelligence in the analysis and interpretation of IoT generated data and the progression of IoT towards automation and autonomy, Green Technologies to enable a sustainable IoT ecosystem, and last but not least data Security and Privacy aspects, including Cyber Security technologies. The Topical tracks were accompanied by Tracks addressing IoT issues and solutions for Vertical industries such as: IoT in Agriculture, IoT in Automotive and Transport, IoT for Medical Devices and Healthcare,  Industrial IoT, as well as IoT solutions for Maritime, and Smart Cities. The topics were specifically chosen because they are of general interest to IoT globally and to our host location in Ireland, drawing significant attendance and participation from local industry and government. Each Vertical and Topical Area Track was overseen by Co-Chairs who carried much of the burden in selecting and attracting the speakers to the event, and in moderating the discussions and round tables within the Track.  The presentations from the Vertical and Topical Area Tracks can be found through the IEEE IoT Initiative website at: https://iot.ieee.org/conferences-events.html

WFIoT2019 was generously sponsored by the member Societies and Councils of the IEEE as well as it supporting patrons (Science Foundation Ireland,  Analog Devices Inc., Intertrade Ireland,  Failte Ireland, Suga, MDPI, and Sensors). The Event was co-chaired by Adam Drobot (OpenTechWorks, USA), Heinrich Stuettgen (NEC Laboratories Europe, Germany) and Elfed Lewis (University of Limerick, Ireland).  Next year’s event, IEEE WFIoT2020 will be held in New Orleans, USA, 5-9 April, 2020.

 

Pictured left t right: WF IoT 2019 co-chairs Adam Drobiot, Elfed Lewis, Heinrich Stüttgen with WF IoT 2020 General Chair Magdy Bayoumi

 

 

At the Gala dinner in the Limerick Strand hotel the traditional “Conference Globe” was passed on from this year’s Co-chairs to next year’s General Chair Magdy Bayoumy from the University of Lousiana at Lafayette. With the fresh experience of a truly outstanding IoT conference in Limerick many of the attendees are sure to come back next year to New Orleans. The deadline for contributions to the 6th IEEE World Forum on IoT (WF-IoT 2020) are due 15th, October 2019. details can be found under: http://www.ieee-wfiot2020.org

Authors:

Adam Drobot, OpenTechworks, USA

Elfed Lewis, University of Limerick, Ireland

Heinrich Stüttgen, NEC Laboratories, Germany