Editor’s note: RIoT, the grass roots Internet of Things organization based in the Triangle, put on a “demo night” during the recent All Things Open conference. Executive Director Tom Snyder provides a recap of a very busy evening at the request of WRAL TechWire.

RALEIGH – Raleigh cemented its leadership position in Internet of Things (IoT) and Open Source last week, drawing over 3,200 people from around the US and the World to All Things Open and the partnered RIoT IoT Demo Night. Every year these programs have significantly grown in size and quality.

Todd Lewis, organizer of ATO commented, “It’s great that the only problem people repeatedly feed back to me is that there is so much quality content that they can’t get to everything they want.”

The stage was perfect to announce RIoT’s new Accelerator Program, RAP.

“The US Economic Development Administration awarded RIoT $500k over three years to launch the program and our partners have committed an additional $592k in matching funds and services,” I explained.

Specific details about RAP will be announced in December and the program goes live first quarter 2018.

Visionary women

RIoT stepped up their effort to make NC the center of the IoT universe by showcasing an agenda populated entirely by visionary women in tech.

Sarah Cooper, who leads the IoT efforts at Amazon flew in from Seattle to kick off the evening. Undistracted by the Amazon HQ2 buzz, Sarah’s message was in sync with the culture that RIoT is cultivating in the region. “Engineers who play, learn.  Engineers who learn, innovate.  Engineers who innovate, play.”

Larry Steffann, RIoT’s founder discussed the importance of preparing our children and grandchildren for the future of work – IoT. Nobody is doing this better than Sara Chipps, the founder of Jewelbots. Her connected jewelry gets preteen girls excited about coding in C++. In less than a year, more than 4,400 girls are regularly coding C++ after purchase of the jewelry – and she’s just getting started.

Dibbe Edwards, VP for the IBM Watson IoT effort and Kelly Sexton, who leads the commercialization office at NC State, rounded out the rock star evening.  IBM’s executive management for IoT sits in the Triangle and is an incredible asset for the region. Dibbe and the IBM team are well ahead of the IoT curve, sharing an example of the impact IoT is having in public health through food quality management across the restaurant supply chain.

Kelly shared a myriad of new programs that NC State has developed to support the startups launching from the university. The three-pronged approach helps bridge the technology-to-commercialization gap, connect entrepreneurs to opportunities and provide access to capital. NC State is regarded as one of the top 25 universities for startup generation and #1 in the Southeast.

The showfloor

On the show floor, the biggest crowd to attend a RIoT met a mix of the biggest tech brands and coolest local startups as well as university project teams. Demos ran more than a city block with a healthy crowd remaining well past the 9pm event’s official finish.

Of note, several west coast participants commented how much more diverse the Raleigh crowd was to their experience in Silicon Valley.

Let’s keep that trend going!