IoT: More than Just a Buzzword (Chicago)

Last March, Tech In Motion Chicago held a panel event discussing one of the hottest tech topics right now – the Internet of Things. Almost every panelist would agree that the Internet of Things (or IoT) is such a fragmented market right now and we are just starting to chip the iceberg about where IoT could head in the future – from kitchens that are able to restock themselves to the construction industry where machines are able to predict when parts will break down and instantly order these parts before it happens to minimize time when the machine will be down. All avenues of IoT seem to have a common theme – increasing efficiency – whether in the home or in business.


We were honored to have the following panelists speak about what IoT means to them and what their company is doing in the IoT space:

Adam Justice is vice president and general manager of Grid Connect
Harold G. Clampitt is CEO and Founder of American RFID Solutions
Jason Kolb is CTO of Uptake
Mahesh Ramananjaiah is Senior Architect at HERE, a Nokia company
Aubrey Jackson is Senior Software Engineer at HERE, a Nokia company
Matt Krzus, a Lead Data Scientist with Kaplan, was our moderator for the evening.

Hear some other fantastic Tech in Motion speakers at a panel discussion near you!



The night kicked off with a presentation from HERE as they demonstrated how they have been working with Mercedes-Benz to create a prototype self-driving car. We were treated with a video about how they utilized their state-of-the-art mapping system to help navigate the vehicle. Following the IoT discussion at our event, we revisited each of our panelists to see if they had any final thoughts about the future of IoT.

Our moderator, Matt Krzus said: “One of the main risks to realizing the IoT vision as we talked about it is uncertainty in the legal and regulatory environment. Already we’re seeing that companies want to mine their assets for value by sensoring them and then finding the value in the resulting data, but they rarely have the in-house firepower to carry that effort through to completion. But transferring data to an outside vendor can be tricky and complicated by regulatory environments.

This is a relatively new area characterized by using data whose ownership is very much up in the air. Everyone who hopes to capitalize on IoT is going to have to pay close attention to legislation and court rulings in these areas. Data ownership is a complex issue and the trillions of dollars we talked about is going to hinge on how it plays out.”

Jason Kolb, the CTO of Uptake (one of the newest and fastest-growing players in the IoT scene here in Chicago) said, “Broadly speaking, it’s not the connectivity of the objects but rather the story a person can get a computer to learn. My belief is that it’s not necessarily the sensors or the ways people are attaching them to physical objects that matter, but rather the diversity of algorithms and experimental research that truly makes an impact. More specifically, I think deep learning holds a lot of promise in simplifying and making the use hand-engineered features almost obsolete. The applications are almost endless, and right now, the same algorithm that teaches a machine to play atari, will be that same algorithm that will teach a car to drive itself.”

Big thanks to everyone that came out to our IoT event. We’re looking forward to seeing how this tech trend continues to grow and make our lives more efficient.

Connectivity of the Internet NYC: Tech Talk and Film Screening


If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re somewhere in the western hemisphere. How do I know? You have access to the infrastructure necessary to connect to the internet, you speak English, and you probably have data to spare. What I bet you don’t know is that you’re in the minority: 62.1% of the world has no access to the internet, and most who can’t connect either don’t know the value that the web holds, or are content without it.


On Thursday March 26th, 160 Tech in Motion members met at the beautiful Landmark Sunshine Cinema in the Lower East Side for a night of networking, to hear CEO and Co-Founder of Foursquare, Dennis Crowley speak on the implications of a connected world, and a screening of WEB: A Human Right. Despite a rainy morning and afternoon, the evening cleared up as Tech in Motion members arrived at the cinema. They were greeted with a cocktail hour hosted by Minibar Delivery and Cliffton Dry Ciders, and plenty of SkinnyPop Popcorn to set the mood. They mixed and mingled, getting to know one another and even experiencing a virtual reality device that another member brought with him. Meanwhile, Sloane Barbour, Regional Director of Motion Recruitment, and Dennis Crowley, CEO and Co-Founder of Foursquare, got a lay of the theatre and warmed up for their keynote talk.


Taking their cues from the film, the topic of the night was connectivity of the internet. Beginning with Foursquare-inspired questions, Crowley shared that one of the amazing insights that his app has given the world is that many connected individuals “skipped the moment where they got cable. They went straight into mobile.” Adding that when the infrastructure doesn’t exist in a rural area, “the only way to deal with these crazy situations is to come up with crazy solutions, like Google’s Project Loon.”


Mid-way through their discussion, Barbour stopped. “Who in here has checked their phone since we sat down?” It was an interesting question given that we were in New York City. Over half the audience raised their hands—the author of this post included—and other than the obvious breach of decorum, no one thought anything of the fact that we were a room of connected individuals. “There are people who live their whole lives without knowing that the internet exists,” he said.

Talk Two

The evening ended with a screening of WEB: A Human Right, a documentary that tracked one filmmaker’s experience in a remote Peruvian village with the One Laptop Per Child Program. Not only a powerful film in its own right, the screening put faces to Crowley and Barbour’s discussion. As the children on screen became connected to the outside world, the audience became connected to the children. And if the internet is capable of doing one thing, it’s connecting.

If you’d like to connect with us, join our Tech in Motion NYC Meetup group for the latest event announcements.