Editor’s note: Investment opportunities create a great deal of buzz as NC RIoTers gather for an Internet of Things conference earlier this week. And it’s apparent there are numerous IoT opportunities right around North Carolina, writes Matthew Davis, a co-founder of NC RIoT, or the North Carolina Region Internet of Things.

RALEIGH, N.C. – RIoT IX took place on Tuesday at the Raleigh Convention Center and asked the question, “If I had $10M to invest in IoT, where would I invest?”

RIoTers in attendance received direct answers from Verizon Ventures’s Daniel Chu and direct asks from five fundraising IoT companies. (The event was held in conjunction with the Data4Decisions conference, also taking place at the Convention Center.)

Daniel Chu laid out the vision and investment approach that Verizon Ventures adopts as it moves into funding IoT companies. Their Internet of Things investment strategy centers on security, analytics, and industrial IoT. As everything connects to the internet, securing that data and those devices becomes critical to ensuring we don’t get attacked by our connected home or workplace.

While machine-to-machine communication has existed for decades, enabling that communication to occur over the internet creates vast amounts of data. But data alone is meaningless. We’ll need analytics solutions to turn that data into something meaningful, valuable. and actionable.

As exciting and important as the next line of smart watches and fitness wearables may be, Verizon believes there is tremendous opportunity in bringing IoT tech to the business, manufacturing, and industrial segments of our economy. As a part of RIoT IX, five companies pitched their products to a panel of investors.

Three of these five focus on industrial IoT – Vestal Industries, ProAxion, and Entigral Systems.

Two additional presenting companies wowed the audience with their products as well as their current customer bases. TiO (turn it on) provides a complete home automation solution with FokusLabs offering an anti-distraction wearable for both students and adults.

ProAxion, which provides an incredibly affordable predictive maintenance hardware for manufacturers won the top prize. Along with fame and glory, they took home the RIoT championship belt buckle.

While the question “where would I invest” evokes thoughts of which businesses or which segments to invest in, there’s a geographic element as well. Specifically, North Carolina is the place to invest.

CED’s Dhruv Patel presented “The State of VC in NC”, which couldn’t make this point any clearer. Their data showcases how our state’s companies now secure substantial funding from the west coast, New York, and Boston in addition to investment from the Southeast.

Where would I invest? Right here.

Editor’s note: Matthew Davis is vice president of marketing for Reveal Mobile.