Article, News

2021 IoT Symposium – A Virtual Home Run!

November 5, 2021

What an amazing IoT Symposium it was! 

Our 2021 IoT Symposium was a Virtual Home Run in the world of all things IoT!

It began on Tuesday afternoon, October 26, and concluded on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 27. Sadly, due to Covid-19, it had been almost 2 years since our last Symposium! We were all so excited and thankful to get together, albeit virtually, to hear from a variety of speakers who live and work on the cutting edge of IoT.

If you attended, you came away with great information to use, excitement about what is happening, ideas about the future of IoT, and viable next steps for your IoT journey! We also took polls during the presentations to engage our attendees and gauge where they are on the IoT spectrum.

If you were unable to attend virtually this year, we missed you but, we hope to see you in person next year! 

Tom Miller, President of SpinDance, was our host for the event and kicked off the Symposium by outlining why we do what we do and the different stages of the IoT journey. The most troubling stat about IoT projects is a 75% failure rate but, our Symposium Presenters were about to show us how research, planning, development, and IoT support, can reduce this rate significantly!

The Future of Technology is Invisible

Our Keynote Speaker this year was Stacey Higginbotham. Stacey is co-host of This Week in Google, editor of the news publication Stacey on IoT that covers the Internet of Things, host of an Internet of Things Podcast, and editor of a weekly IoT newsletter.

Stacey took us on an IoT journey from past to present. She reminded us of where the IoT Community began and how far we’ve come. But then, she tantalized us with glimpses into the future of IoT where what seems like science fiction today will be reality tomorrow! 

She showed us the contrast of how most of the changes in the past were based on hardware innovation but most of our recent advancements have been through the development of software capabilities.  Even though hardware and software developments will continue to propel us forward, the key to the future is AI and Machine Learning.

Stacey indicated the real future of IoT development will be invisible! Smart devices, AI development, and IoT refinement are now on an exponential trajectory to revolutionize technology and our lives! However, until obstacles such as security and safety are overcome and the reliability of IoT is proven, user trust and mainstream acceptance will be hard-won.

People Stacey follows and recommends: Target is New by Iksander Smit, Device Pilot NewsletterMIT Tech Review, and IEEE Spectrum.

Click Here for the recorded session

Looking for initial direction or help in vetting your IoT idea? Let’s get you rolling on your IoT journey!

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What’s Your Secret Sauce?

Next up, Brian Tol, Vice President of Engineering at SpinDance, and Todd Hart, President of Flow-Rite Controls, outlined the tools with which to determine IoT product success. Brian and Todd showed us that by examining projects through three lenses on the innovation spectrum, Efficiency, Sustaining, and Transformative, the ‘Secret Sauce’ of success is created. 

Todd gave us real-life examples of how, when companies follow and apply the principles of IoT innovation, they create new opportunities and competitive advantages to completely reshape outcomes. He illustrated how this IoT Secret Sauce combination can be used across most industries. 

Brian and Todd agree that finding your IoT Secret Sauce is an investment but, when realized, has long-range benefits with highly favorable and sustainable returns.

Click Here for the recorded session

Human-Centered Design in Connected Products

Twisthink’s Rob Huber, Director of Strategy, and Dave Moelker, Director of Business Development, introduced the importance of Human-Centered Design in IoT. 

Rob estimates that most of the 75% failure rate of IoT projects can be directly related to not understanding or listening to customers…humans! 

Human-Centered Design is a commitment to developing a skill set. A depth of both experience and knowledge is needed to nurture internal and external relationships. HCD creates an environment where ideas for beneficial products are incubated and designed. 

Dave outlined the HCD processes Twisthink used to identify pain points of their clients and design viable solutions to eliminate that pain. He shared very interesting real-world case studies from a few of their clients. By using the innovation spectrum principles and listening to customers, Twisthink was able to create successful IoT solutions resulting in up to a 50% gain in process efficiencies and $1M in cost savings for customers. That works!

Click Here for the recorded session 

Have an idea but not sure if your customers will value the end product?

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The Intersection of ML & IoT

Ben Jacques, SpinDance’s Engineering Manager, and Sheena Patel, Business Development at Edge Impulse, illustrated the Intersection of Machine Learning and IoT. 

First, they polled the audience to discover the largest barrier to implementing an ML project at their company and discovered the overwhelming obstacle is the lack of in-house expertise!

Ben outlined the differences between AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning and illustrated the projected exponential growth rate of the ML field. But, while there is a current shortage of expertise, the good news is that many of the processes and tools have become simpler and easy to use which reduces the barrier to entry. 

Read Ben’s Highly Informative Blog post on Machine Learning or Watch his Webinar!

Edge and embedded ML are reducing costs, time, and power consumption with the efficiencies in data and micro-technology. Sheena showed us that because data collecting capabilities are migrating onto devices, it requires the devices to be able to learn and evolve.

Sheena went on to explain in more detail where the capabilities of IoT and smart devices are headed. She outlined issues and considerations we need to make to bridge gaps between data and devices to increase efficiency and reduce loss. As these efficiencies increase, the timeframe for bringing products to market is reducing from years to months in many instances.

The Edge Impulse Customer Case Studies Sheena presented, illustrated how machines are used to monitor and alert humans to avoid catastrophic failures. As machines learn they are able to assist their human counterparts to be more agile. Other advancements at the edge ensure machines are smarter in the field and less vulnerable to hacks.

Read more at Edge Impulse’s Blog

Click Here for the recorded session

Want a free 60-minute consultation and potential for development funds for Machine Learning?

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Supporting & Maintaining Connected Products

Brian Tol returned to present how to support and maintain products for long-term IoT success in an ever-changing world. He encouraged designing products with regard to support and connectivity over the life cycle of the product.

Maintenance and support will always need to plan for worst-case scenarios and Brian outlined what could happen and what to think about in the design phase before IoT products even make it off the drawing board! While things can happen that are catastrophic or beyond designers’ control, having a plan for maintenance and support will show your company’s agility, reliability and ultimately increase its viability.

Read our Blog Post about the IoT Business Model and why it’s important.

Click Here for the recorded session

Orchestrating an Ecosystem for IoT Success – panel discussion/presentation

Kim Burmeister, Vice President of Delivery & Customer Experience at SpinDance, moderated a panel discussion. Five panelists from very divergent industries presented real-world case studies, products, and situations where IoT products and partnerships with SpinDance have benefitted their companies.

Panelists included:

Scott Corley, Director of Engineering, New Products, ODL
Tim Kearns, Chief Information Officer, GLOS​​
Kate Geschwendt, VP of Operations, dig
Nedal Almomani, Director of Engineering, Spectrum Brands
Paul Byrne, Vice President of Product, UV Angel

Click Here for the recorded session


The 2, half-day, Symposium Sessions were action-packed with inspiration, advice, and practical examples of all things IoT!  We dreamt about the future and we’re blown away about things that, only a few years ago, were science fiction stories. We examined how IoT can relieve pain points to make our work (and lives) easier and realized that the future of IoT will be more in the advancement of AI and Machine Learning. 

But, ultimately, we were reminded that all things IoT must be both a collaborative and sustainable effort between automated products and humans.

Are You Ready?

Do you wonder where your company is on the IoT Journey? You can find out right now by taking our Online IoT Readiness Assessment!