Phew! We had quite a week at Cisco’s Internet of Things (IoT) World Forum in Chicago back in mid-October. Here at Link Labs, we feel like we’re part of something special… and wanted to share some of the takeaways from the forum:

The IoT’s Future

As Wim Elfrink (Cisco’s Chief Globalization Officer) reminded the 1,500 people attending the forum, “The IoT is here and now and it’s going to be big and bold.” From four billion connected devices today, analysts predict 20 to 50 billion connected devices by 2022 – and it could be even more than that.

The Role Of Long-Range M2M Wireless

Along with our partners, we’re working to bring long-range, low-power wireless solutions to the IoT to make this future a reality. We wanted to show how some of this worked at the World Forum, so we set up a fun demo for trade show passersby. From the trade show floor (two floors underground), we sent a signal from one of our modules up to a hotel room on the 28th floor in the same building - at 50 milliwatts...without a repeater. It definitely got some attention with the engineering crowd. (If that was a bit much on the engineering front, check out the Internet of Things dictionary we put together before the World Forum.)

Cities And The IoT

But beyond the fun demo, we were there to learn, to meet potential partners, and to solidify relationships. Attending the IoT World Forum confirmed our convictions: the promise of IoT is real and its potential is emerging rapidly. As the host, The City of Chicago made it clear that it intends to deliver better, more timely services to its citizens through the Internet of Things. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Deputy Mayor Steven Koch explained how integrating data collection with citizen engagement had improved the City’s library system, delivered better educational opportunities, and let people know when their streets would be cleared of snow. (If your street has ever been snowed in, you know why this is the most popular app the City of Chicago has.)

Check out: IoT World Forum Interview with Link Labs CEO, Brian Ray

Companies, Consumers And The IoT

While cities can use the Internet of Things to deliver better emergency services, smoother transportation links, smarter infrastructure, and improved educational outcomes, the IoT is just as relevant for companies. The IoT opens new options for connecting operational technology (OT) with information technology (IT). Making sure that communications between machines are correct and secure is vital to tapping the potential of machine-to-machine communication.

The transition from limited data collection to the promise of the IoT will also create a variety of products and services for individual consumers and families. As Link Labs builds out its wide- area M2M network, users will be able to track everything from their cars to their pets and anything else that’s important to them.

At Link Labs, we understand and believe in the promise of the Internet of Things, which is why we opened our doors. And the hundreds of other companies at the IoT World Forum see the opportunity as well. To get from today’s hype cycle to the future with billions of more connected devices, there is one major obstacle: connecting things.   As I always say, “You can’t have the Internet of Things without the things.”


Written by Brian Ray

Brian is the Founder and CTO of Link Labs. As the chief technical innovator and leader of the company, Brian has led the creation and deployment of a new type of ultra long-range, low-power wireless networking which is transforming the Internet of Things and M2M space.

Before starting Link Labs, Brian led a team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab that solved communications and geolocation problems for the national intelligence community. He was also the VP of Engineering at the network security company, Lookingglass, and served for eight years as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received his Master’s Degree from Oxford University.

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