My worldwide trip continued last month (while staying within this solar system!). It's exciting to see the growing interest in semantic standards in the way that the Object Management Group® (OMG®) thinks about standardization, and the growing realization that testbeds are the best way to understand the requirements, best practices and possible limitations of new technologies.
We started with a teleconference with the Michigan Healthcare Information Network (MiHIN) which is struggling to understand how standards (especially from the OMG and HL7) can best be used to integrate healthcare information in the state of Michigan. This teleconference will likely also point us to the needs for future interoperability standards based on semantics.
I was lucky enough to be invited to a World Economic Forum workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology focused on the opportunities and challenges coming from the implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) in industries such as healthcare, financial services, manufacturing and production, mining, and so forth. This workshop, hosted by Prof. Sanjay Sarma at MIT, surfaced fascinating issues having to do with the relationship between Industrial IoT and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. There are obvious issues like improved lifestyles from better technology, and depressed employment markets from the same move to automation. It was quite nice to be at a workshop near home, even if I was only in town for a few days on my long itinerary (Singapore, Washington, New Orleans, Boston, Barcelona, Aix-en-Provence, London, Santiago and back to Singapore).
Without a doubt the highlight of this nine-week trip has to be the IoT Solutions World Congress. This was the third edition of the best and biggest annual Industrial Internet conference in Barcelona, and while nearly doubling in attendance this year from 2016 (which itself had nearly doubled from the first edition in 2015), exhibited an even better agenda focused on real users and real user stories. As President of the Advisory Board for the show, we held the line on exactly that, and have received hundreds of comments remarking positively on the user focus. More than ever before, the show was the place to be to know what the future—and often, the present―look like in agriculture, healthcare, finance and even emergency management. The signature difference of the show was the central testbed floor abutting the Industrial Internet Consortium® booth, showing off early lessons from our testbeds (and a superb adjunct to our initial public results, https://www.iiconsortium.org/press-room/10-31-17.htm
After the excitement (and lack of sleep) in Barcelona―in the middle of a difficult week politically for Catalunya―I headed off to Aix-en-Provence, alongside Marseille in southern France. There Pôle SCS arranged a successful seminar on the Industrial Internet and a number of meetings with local companies (the Aix area is rife with high-technology companies, headquartered in France and elsewhere). One visit to this beautiful region is sufficient to understand why companies like to settle there!
In a seminar very much focused on both the Industrial Internet and the impact of Internet security, more than 125 hardy souls participated in a day of presentations (kicked off by yours truly) and intelligent, piercing discussion. Why "hardy souls?" Because of a French general strike on that day, my two-weeks in Europe featured a general strike each Tuesday wherever I've been, in both Barcelona and Aix-en-Provence, is it me?).
Finally, I keynoted a conference in London at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch headquarters in The City, with a couple hundred participants from the institutional investment world trying to understand the likely impact of the Industrial Internet on equity markets worldwide. It seems clear that the disruption that comes along with the application of IoT to various industries will not confine itself to the information technology marketplace; rather we're going to see significant disruption in agriculture, transportation, production and so forth. My keynote focused on what we mean by "Industrial Internet" and how OMG standards will support that nascent market (and how our testbed program will help us learn about disruption). Response was very powerful throughout the day.
Now on to my last two stops on this long trip, in South America and back to Southeast Asia.