The Internet of Things (IoT) will disrupt nearly every industry that exists - just like the Internet, Web 2.0 and social media have changed the world over the last two decades. Smart entrepreneurs and business leaders recognize the massive potential that exists as the majority of the physical world around us becomes connected to the internet.
So how do you stay ahead of an opportunity like this? The first step is to follow the top influences in IoT. But that's still not enough. You should also attend the best conferences in the industry. Conferences are effective ways to keep updated on the latest perspectives and to make meaningful connections with people who can help you.
As an IoT expert and entrepreneur, I've compiled a list of the world's best conferences to attend in the Internet of Things. This list skews more on the consumer side, yet there's plenty of perspective on Smart City, Smart Car, Smart Health and Industrial IoT at these events.
(Note: this list is in chronological order based on when the event takes place in a calendar year.)
Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
Where: Las Vegas, NV
When: First week of January (2017 date already passed)
Traditionally, CES is the biggest consumer electronics show and the show you must attend if you're in consumer tech. Smart Home and IoT technology started popping up at the show three years ago, although it had a small presence. In this year's show (2017), the Smart Home had an entire section in the main hall of the Sands Expo. You'll find the biggest companies and latest startups displaying the best in IoT technology.
Mobile World Congress
Where: Barcelona, Spain
When: February 27 to March 2
Considered by many to be the most significant gathering around technology in Europe, Mobile World Congress is a conference that focuses on frontier tech. You'll see a huge presence of Smart Home, Internet of Things, Smart City, Connected Car and Industrial IoT at this year's show.
Where: Las Vegas, NV
When: April 5 to 7
While not technically an Internet of Things conference, ISC West focuses on security - both residential and commercial. Yet IoT has already empowered (and disrupted) the home security market in a big way. Walk the floors and you'll see home security providers like Honeywell, Alarm.com and Icontrol showing off their Smart-Home-as-a-Service (SHaaS) based platforms alongside new startups disrupting the security space. Home security is one of the hottest trends in IoT and it will have a huge presence at this year's ISC West conference.
IoT Global Congress
Where: London, UK
When: April 27 to 28
You'll find smart technology across multiple verticals as this UK-based conference. IoT Global Congress includes automotive, healthcare and general smart tech. Speakers from the largest companies in the world will hit the stage to share big perspectives on how IoT will impact their industry.
Internet of Things World
Where: Santa Clara, CA
When: May 16-18
Internet of Things World focuses exclusively on the Internet of Things and provides a few days of compelling panels, workshops and keynotes from the entrepreneurs and leaders shaping the industry. There's also a great exhibition of companies in the space.
Where: San Francisco, CA
When: May 23 to 25
Parks CONNECTIONS is regarded by insiders as the conference to attend if you want to get in front of the movers and shakers in the industry. The power of this conference is in the attendees, and you're sure to meet some key decision-makers from startups to large multi-nationals like Comcast, Amazon and more. There's also top notch panels with the industry's best creators and contributors.
Sensors Expo & Conference
Where: San Jose, CA
When: June 27 to 29
You can't have a list of top conferences in IoT without having a conference dedicated to the hardware that enables a connected world: sensors. Sensors Expo & Conference is the only major conference dedicated wholly to sensor technologies. There's an expo hall, workshops, training and ample opportunities to network.
Where: San Diego, CA
When: September 7 to 9
While this has always been a conference for home control, CEDIA Expo is now a hot-bed for Internet of Things products and solutions as IoT augments and disrupts the connected home experience. You'll find a large exhibition hall with the traditional leaders in home control and the startups looking to grab market share or offer products in the space.
Smart Kitchen Summit
Where: Seattle, WA
When: October 10 to 11
The Smart Kitchen is a relatively new, yet very hot (no pun intended), segment of the Smart Home. Michael Wolf, market analyst and host of The Smart Home Show podcast, created this conference to gather the brightest entrepreneurs, leaders and companies involved in bringing Smart Home technology to your kitchen. The Smart Kitchen Summit is a "can't miss" if you're interested in how the culinary experience will forever change thanks to IoT.
Smart Home Summit
Where: Palo Alto, CA
When: November 15 to 16
The Smart Home Summit started last year and has quickly become a hot conference for Smart Home technology. Just like last year, this year's show will include panels and keynotes from the individuals pioneering the future of how we live at home. Last year's show included some great panels, and you should expect the same this year.