IOT China Conference recap by Florian Michahelles

Florian Michahelles is the Associate Director at ETH Zurich and at the Auto-ID Labs at University of St. Gallen.

He spoke at the 2011 IOT China Conference this year and recently did a recap of the event and some of the presentations from the speakers on his excellent Mobile IoT blog.

A few of his overall observations include:

  • IoT is proposed as a way out of China’s disappearing business case

-low manufacturing costs are disappearing due to increasing salaries and the currency under pressure adjusting the low peg to US dollar. Ways have to be found to transform industry to go beyond manufacturing and provide more valuable services higher up in the value chain.

  • Still a very centralized view

During the conference it was mentioned several times that building the IoT would allow to collect and share data within China more efficiently. International collaboration was never really mentioned other than learning and adopting from others in order to follow the national agenda.

  • More concerns about information security than privacy

Throughout the discussions I experienced that fear about external forces/attacks is more established than protection privacy. The notion of control is more severe than establishing an environment of diversity and creativity. This contradicts quite a bit with the notion of IoT from Council which sees governments getting more and more challenged by an IoT, where individuals and groups gain more power due to open pools of data knowledge (OpenData).

  • Smart city is the major topic for Iot in China

As part of the global trend of people moving towards cities, the mega-cities, compact spaces where millions of people live and work, are happening in Asia. Thus, city governments are facing tremendous challenges of providing public infrastructure and services. Information and sensing technologies will become important. Making sense out of this data and connecting all the emerging systems is where IoT comes into play. Finally, construction industries always share close relations to public and governmental funds, thus smart cities fit right into "thinking big".

  • IoT drives economy in China at least until 2012

I met several Chinese funding agencies promoting IoT for industry. However, as a new president is going to be elected in 2012 it's not yet clear whether he will put the same emphasis on IoT as Hu Jintao does today. Thus, organizing our IoT2012 Conference in Shanghai/Wuxi in November 2012 should be the right moment.

Read the whole event breakdown on his site.