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IoT World 2019: IT’s Role in an IoT Environment

Zach Butler, portfolio manager for the IoT World event series, discusses the challenges that IT pros face in an IoT environment and previews the content that’s in store for IT at IoT World in May.

The Internet of Things World conference brings together leaders from across the IoT landscape to examine the key issues the industry is grappling with on the path to higher levels of adoption. In this video we talk to Zach Butler, portfolio manager for the IoT World event series, about the intersection of IT and IoT and how the conference will explore IT’s role in this space. Watch the video or read the transcript below.


What to Expect at IoT World 2019 with ITProToday from Informa Engage on Vimeo.

Sue Troy: I'm Sue Troy, Senior Content Director for And I am here today with Zach Butler who heads up the IoT World event series. Welcome Zach.

Zach Butler: Thanks Sue. Thanks for having me.

Troy: Sure. So, the big flagship IoT World conference is coming up in Santa Clara on May 13-16, and we wanted to touch base with Zach just to get some insight around the intersection between IT and IoT. So Zach, let's talk just a little bit about how IT fits within the IoT landscape. What are the unique challenges that IT faces with IoT?

Butler: IoT has been a disruptive technology, which is really driving the future of where IT sits within the business. And we keep hearing this topic around IT/OT integration and our IoT market.

And, when we speak to IT leaders, or aspiring IT leaders, they're always talking to us about the challenge with deploying and implementing IoT solutions within their businesses. It's not actually about the technology, it's about reaching out into the business and bringing on board … different lines of business into that vision of a digital transformation.

So there's this really interesting kind of balance going on between who owns the role of IoT. Is it the IT function, or is it an operating business unit or a line of business depending on what the solution is?

[Internet of Things World is the intersection of industries and IoT innovation. Book your conference pass and save $350, get a free expo pass, or see the IoT security speakers at the event.]

 And I think for various businesses, that changes and it's really down to the leadership and the IT leadership to actually get that buy-in -- whether it's the board or the senior leadership across the business or going into those different lines of businesses to get them on board with what their plans are for digital transformation.

Troy: Do you notice that one or the other is more motivated around IoT?

Butler: I think IoT is definitely a technology that has been driven by the IT function. So I think, and I personally believe and we see from the audience at IoTWorld, that the IT is the driver of the adoption.

But I think, unlike other technologies and other areas of disruptive technologies, IT can't be the enforcer of the technology and the deliverer of it. But delivery really comes from getting the buy-in and the support of the actual applications within various lines of business.

So it's got to be a mixture of both. But I think IT is definitely where the journey starts.

Troy: At IoT World, what kind of sessions are going to be especially pertinent to IT? Are there dedicated sessions, or is IT kind of baked into most of the sessions?

Butler: It's definitely baked in across all of the areas of IoT World. We see IoT World as the place where … vertical industries and IT innovation intersect with each other.

We really see it as the crossroads for that. And that means that there are bits across the show which are relevant for all different parts of the IT function. And we've done a lot of work this year trying to break down the personas and the things which different types of IT professionals are looking for at the show.

Whether that's the strategists that are looking at defining, building, qualifying their strategy around IoT adoption. Or whether it's the implementers, the guys and girls that are doing the hard work and trying to integrate and implement these technologies within, sometimes, legacy businesses or there are the technologists and the developers who are having to develop and define new skills for IoT as IoT really is requiring new types of development skills that are spanning right across the tech stack as we design and develop suitable and commercial IoT solutions.

So there are things across the show for everyone. It really depends on whether people were looking for vertical [content] or more horizontal, technical content.

Troy: Is there anything else that IT folks should know about the show before they go to Santa Clara?

Butler: Yeah, sure. I think it's definitely worth taking a look at the expansion of the more horizontal content that we've got on show this year, which we brand as IoT capabilities. So it's much more technical content that's focusing on some of the really big challenges that were either hindering or driving the adoption of IoT.

So whether that's things like edge computing, security and connectivity, or analytics and AI. And we've always had a focus at the show around these core topics, but I think this year we're really starting to see both more technical but more expansive content around these themes.

And then the other thing is, it's definitely worth checking out the exhibitor list in the floor plan for the show. Eight weeks out, we're actually already pretty much sold out at the exhibition, so you can already start planning who you want to visit, who you want to set up your meetings with.

And there are big, big tech companies in the exhibition. People like Dell Technologies, Amazon Web Services, Google, among others. But also, an expansion of around 300 exhibitors, which represent some of the larger [technology] partners [that] are working together to build those ecosystems to develop end-to-end solutions in IoT.

And then the last thing to mention is our startup zone. So Startup Elevate, which is our startup program, brings about 80 to 90 startups into the show, and they're focusing around scaling and delivering the future innovation in IoT. So, it's definitely worth seeing what these companies are doing, because they're the guys that are defining what the future looks like.

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