RALEIGH – Responding to what it says is popular demand, North Carolina’s Internet of Things connector and launchpad, RIoT, is hosting a deep-dive workshop on Monday to educate startups on how they can apply IoT enterprise solutions to the defense sector. It’s the latest event for the fast-growing users group that has thousands of members and a host of major corporate sponsors such as IBM.

A series of hour-long presentations will be shared with 100 attendees. Sessions will cover relevant areas such as transitioning IoT products to fit the DoD environment, cloud and data security, scalability, machine learning, energy savings and equipment optimization.

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Fittingly, the event is being held at the center of the defense market—Tysons, Virginia. Minutes away from the CIA headquarters, the area is home to the offices of top government service firms including Booz Allen Hamilton, Palantir and M.C. Dean, Inc. (RIoT’s event partner).

RIoT Executive Director Tom Snyder said the site selection was made with accessibility in mind.

“There will be lots of folks coming from North Carolina to attend the event,” Snyder said. “This is an opportunity for them to make new connections outside of the [local] market, so they can then sell and scale nationally and globally.”

Snyder says the programming will shy away from warfighter applications and more toward the operations side, covering “facility management, energy consumption, building security and how we can apply enterprise solutions to the DoD world.”

RIoT’s DoD workshop will be held from 1-7 p.m. on Monday, June 25 at the Boro Station Conference Center. Like all RIoT events, registration is free.

Four companies will be exhibited at the event:

  • The Launch Place, an investment and business development nonprofit serving startups in Virginia and North Carolina. It has a second office at RTP’s campus. (More TechWire coverage on The Launch Place here.)
  • Real-Time Innovations (RTI), a California-headquartered provider of a suite of connectivity software for a range of uses deployed across medtech, renewable energy, autonomous transportation, oil and gas, robotics, ships and defense.
  • Spanalytics, a Virginia-based firm providing IoT and wireless connectivity services and products to government and commercial clients.
  • Automa Tech, an industrial automation hardware and software distributor headquartered in Massachusetts.

The workshop will open with a welcome from RIoT and M.C. Dean leadership. M.C. Dean Chief Systems Engineer Evgeny Kaplun will present a talk on secure and scalable architectures for IoT.

Tom Schiller, CEO of smart facility monitoring platform FacilityConneX, will share how IoT has enabled machine learning and fault detection diagnostics to optimize equipment and save on energy costs.

Gordon Blackwell, IoT cloud solutions architect at Microsoft, will discuss how IoT can be used to make bases safer, smarter and more sustainable.

Erik Laubacher, program management director for SYNEXXUS, will explain how to make the transition from industrial IoT to DoD.

Jim Ford, Microsoft’s Director of Defense, Intelligence and Homeland Security Solutions, will explain the current opportunities in IoT and DoD.

Spanalytics President Mark Nichols and RTI Field Application Engineer John Breitenbach will discuss data security and edge to cloud computing.

A networking social will follow at 5 p.m.

Defense and IoT: Challenges and opportunities

Broadly, the IoT market is forecasted to surpass $1 trillion in global spending by 2020.

Though mainstream attention is often focused on consumer IoT applications, it is the industrial and enterprise sectors that are generating the most revenue. Experts predict B2B applications will generate $300 billion by 2020, doubling the revenue expected from consumer applications. Further, over 65 percent of enterprises are expected to adopt IoT systems by 2020.

As the enterprise IoT market gains momentum, government agencies like the DoD are also adopting the use of enterprise systems—these uses span from the DoD’s green buildings program, to its health monitoring system for armed service members, to its sensor-embedded operational vehicles.

The defense sector is poised to benefit from leveraging the opportunities of IoT enterprise solutions, but the challenges of implementing the technology are notably more sophisticated than that of IoT’s commercial adopters. And since IoT is a hot target for cyberattacks, different requirements are needed to adjust for the increased threat level faced by government agencies. This challenge was even addressed last year in a proposed bill to mandate minimum security requirements for IoT devices purchased by federal agencies.

This is why IoT startups stand to benefit from understanding how the development and management of connected devices can be applied to this market.

Snyder says IoT applications for the defense industry should have a different design than those for enterprise use.

“The [technologies] aren’t that different from commercial applications, but the requirements are very different,” he explains. “We want to help people understand those differences so that products selling in different markets can be suitable for a more controlled environment.”

More to expect from RIoT this year

This Monday’s DoD workshop is one of several events to be hosted by RIoT this year, in addition to its regular meetups.

In August, RIoT will be holding a special startup pitch event for the 10 teams in its Riot Accelerator Program. Later, on September 18, RIoT members and guests will convene in Cary to discuss wearables and the digital citizen.

The annual IoT demo night is coming up in October, held in conjunction with All Things Open 2018. Snyder says this is usually the most highly attended event of the year. In 2017, around 1,000 people attended demo night. RIoT also lined up 65 exhibit tables and over 100 demos.

“We’re trying to do it even bigger [in 2018] than we did last year,” Snyder added.

Then, in December, RIoT will close out 2018 with its annual IoT showcase at NC State, where student teams can share their innovations with the public.

Snyder also says RIoT is planning to expand its programming Charlotte next month.

He and his team saw the demand for RIoT’s presence in Charlotte after hosting successful events in the area recently, including RIoT XXV and Connect X in May. This led them to begin setting plans for the organization’s first expansion outside the Triangle.

Snyder is staying quiet on the details for now, but he says interested parties can expect a kickoff event to be held sometime in July. More announcements will be made in the coming weeks.