Let's connect!

Let’s connect! Was a very interesting afternoon, liked by almost 70 participants. Have you missed this event by The Reference? Read the report from our Mobile & Innovation Consultant at The Reference.

Traditionally, had the experts of The Reference/Mobile competence center this year again a lot of ambition (and desire) to organize a ‘Mobile Inspiration Day’. The previous editions were after all very interesting and successful. So, under the slogan ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” we started to work. However, during our first kick-off meeting, we realized immediately that the real innovation is no longer only about mobile devices but also and mainly about connectivity. The smartphone is indeed het most mature form but we see a lot of other devices on the brink of a similar evolution. Think of your balance that tells you in the morning that it’s going to rain, the lights in your living room that change color if you have received a Tweet or the thermostat who knows half an hour before you come home to take care of the temperature so you can relax in a cozy warm house. More and more daily objects are connect with the internet and ‘smart’. Some visionaries, in this evolution, speak of ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) or even ‘Internet of Everything’.

Since the old working title of our event no longer doesn’t cover it anymore, we decided to launch a new event with a new name: “Let’s connect!”. Next to a new name we also opted for a more dynamic concept: 4 short break-out sessions of 20 minutes, a keynote and an interactive panel discussion, with different experts, at the end.

Everybody we liked to invited from our IoT-wishlist to tell their story was excited and took the bait. We were all very excited about the program and the registrations came in rapidly.

During the opening and introduction of the event we showed a movie from the pre-mobilophone area in 1999. Several people were interviewed asking whether they would need a cell phone in their daily activities. Almost no one saw the benefits of it and some even opposed again the idea of being always available, let alone that they need to drag the unit everywhere. We wanted to introduce the following parallel thought: if we would do this interview today about IoT we would get similar reactions. In 2020, we will probably laugh because we didn’t understood the added value, comfort and revolution.

After a brief introduction it was time to divide our 70 participants over four different break-out sessions which took place in separate rooms. This proved to be a good concept: while participants stayed in their rooms, speakers switched theirs. In this way we were able to maintain the tight timing efficiently and everyone could enjoy the interactive sessions in small groups, tailored to the group.

Session 1: Why the internet of things is your next crucial challenge

The first session was worked out by the company Productize with speaker Simon Castex. Productize is specialized in the pre-production prototyping of IoT electronics amongst others. Simon spoke about the challenges of IoT and why it deserves your full attention. Next to this he was talking about companies that are disruptive by IoT and the way to approach new markets with hybrid product services. Also hazards, standards and legislation were touched shortly during this session. Bold statements like "Nowadays a company can't exist without a web presence. Tomorrow it will be without an IoT presence." reverberated.

Session 2: Understanding cross device measurement

During the second session one for our one people, Thomas Danniau (Webmanager) took the floor. He spoke about Cross Device Measurement. Obviously you want to know the behavior of your end users on all channels and products. Previously this was very simple: you had the site, period. But soon there came a lot more: mail, apps, mobile websites, kiosks, etc… and now there are all those IoT devices coming. Thomas taught us how to tract the same user on all these “touchpoints” and so monitor and understand his cross device behavior. These data allow us to fine-tune our services even better for the general user experience.

Session 3: The Internet of your things

Time for the third session, by Jan Tielens, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft. His presentation was called ‘The Internet of Your Things. Jan discussed mostly about how far IoT is developed in various sectors. IoT is no longer a hype, we are already much further with it than we initially thought. It was quickly clear that IoT a revolution is with a lot of opportunities and values for all verticals. As a bouncer, we got some tips on setting up the (technical) architecture and how we can actually start with it.

Sessie 4: Getting started with mobile advertising

The sessions went smoothly ahead. Soon we got to the last session by Sven De Meyere, Online Marketing Consultant at the Reference, who talked about mobile advertising. This session was maybe a little bit odd but certainly not less relevant. The most participants of our event had indeed one or more applications in the appstores. Sven taught us how we can promote these apps on different channels like Google, Facebook and Twitter. This way they can be found easily. Because the more people find your app, the more people are going to install this and hopefully use it. Mobile presence is a priority for a lot of parties and you can already come a long way with the tips of Sven.

During the break, we provided a unique connected experience but this time in a virtual world. An Oculus Rift –gave people –those who dare- an unforgettable experience through a journey into the human body. For most of them it was the first time that they went through such an “immersive experience”: the clear evidence was given by the countless cries of astonishment.

Keynote Philips Connected Lighting

After the break it was time for the keynote by Leonardo Avezzano, Global Director Consumer Marketing Connected Lighting at Philips. Avezzano came to talk about the Hue personal wireless lighting products. It became a very interesting session about their vision, why they do it, the success story, the difficulties and a glimpse at their roadmap. Some videos of the Hue in action and a live demo of the operation made it all even more concrete. There were some critical questions about pricing, sustainability, compatibility with other lightening bulb manufacturers, the partnership with Google Nest and the integration of other IoT platforms. It became once more clear: IoT is a lot more than just the physical product, it is a total experience that you can get with the product and the unlimited possibilities that you can achieve with your own creativity.

Panel discussion

During all sessions the questions of all participants were more than welcome. After all we wanted to create an event as interactive and “connected” as possible. We had provided at the end a panel discussion with several experts in the area of IoT to inflame the discussion even further. In addition to the session speakers we had invited Nassim Zine from Google. He is a Nest expert. Myself, Thomas De Vos, Mobile & Innovation Consultant of The Reference, also participated in the panel discussion.

To break the ice fired moderator Frederic Schroyens, Head of Mobile and Tablets, some challenging questions away:

  • Do we need IoT?
  • Is there a way to opt-outen?
  • What about the ‘vendor-locking' of the end users?
  • How do you actually start IoT?
  • What about legislation and who will regulate this?

The panel members could sometimes give concrete answers but it also showed that there are many uncertainties. However, I am confident that the coming years will continue to clear up the fog and that we will fully utilize the value of IoT, as well as the supplier as the end customer.

The Tesla-experience

On our wishlist of innovative companies was also Tesla because they are the paragon of the connected car. During the breaks, the participants could admire the care and experience the Tesla-experience. The “Let’s connect’” event was finally ended with a drink.

The feedback given by the participants was extremely positive. We are now very curious which steps IoT will take in the coming months so that we hopefully welcome you (again), next year, to share our new insights.

Graag tot dan!

Take a look on our facebookpage to the photos of this event.

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