NC RIoT 2015 Kickoff

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Last June, Matthew Davis hosted the region's first Internet of Things meetup (RIoT) in hopes of learning from others about the burgeoning field of Internet-enabled gadgets, appliances, toys and more, a field projected to at least double in size over the next five years.

His company, StepLeader Digital, was testing beacons—the Bluetooth low energy devices that sense other mobile devices within a wider proximity than GPS allows and inside buildings—and he assumed others were doing the same. About 70 people showed up to the first event to hear speakers like Scott Moody of home automation startup K4Connect (who we recently interviewed for Founders Series), RFID innovator Booth Kalmbach of Entigral Systems and Rob Katz of Webonise Lab, who runs a software development shop designing IoT products for clients. Washington D.C. beacon manufacturer Radius Networks demoed its technology in the parking lot.

The event grabbed the attention of the Wireless Research Center in Wake Forest, a nonprofit organization providing to IoT innovators office space, commercialization support and a lab for testing new devices. It signed on as a partner and sponsor to ensure the meetup happened again, and that it grew.

The organizers believe the Triangle's history in wireless radio engineering and design—powerhouse companies like Sony Ericsson and Nortel once operated huge research and development facilities here—make it a prime place for innovation to happen. 

Fast forward to this week, when RIoT kicked off its 2015 series of Internet of Things meetups at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, highlighting the state of the industry in North Carolina in 2015 and offering up some predictions and its "hockey stick" growth globally and some calls to action for the Triangle to take advantage. 

More than 200 of its now 400-member group attended, and a dozen companies showcased technologies that ranged from unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), beacon technology, antennae, home automation systems and software, development and design services for IoT. Five entrepreneurs gave talks in front of the crowd, and we filmed them in the video below. The 7-8 minute talks begin at about 6:35 after organizers Davis and Larry Stefann of the Wireless Research Center offer introductions and recognize sponsors. 

Here's the order:

Chris Hare of global Internet of Things consultancy, Thingovation
Michael Proffitt of the new ACS Test Lab in Durham.
David Houghton of Bright Wolf, a software provider to Internet of Things companies.
Brian Bell and Dick Butler of MiPayWay, a beacon technology that makes tipping simple and virtual.
Matthew Davis of StepLeader Digital, a company collecting and analyzing data transmitted by beacons.

Davis summed up the event with four calls to action to make IoT grow in N.C.: help each other, collect data about innovation in the field in N.C., translate the jargon so average business people and consumers will understand, and finally, start something. That's the only way the state can realize the opportunity in front of it.

Watch the full talks here: