IEEE 7th World Forum on Internet of Things
14 June–31 July 2021 // New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

IoT & Covid-19


Wednesday June 23rd, In Person and Virtual

Fulton Room – Hilton Hotel Riverside


Ziad Ashkar, Ochsner Lafayette General, Lafayette, LA USA

Adam Drobot, OpenTechWorks, Wayne, PA USA

US Eastern Time Session Speakers

08:30am-10:30am EDT


(7:30am-9:30am Central Time)



“Fiber/Broadband Innovation & Covid-19 Response”

  • Ben Davis, CEO, Phizzle, San Francisco, CA USA

“One Molecule at a Time: How AI, IOT, and Scientific Data will fuel Drug Discovery”

“Learning, Detection and Forecasting of Epidemic Evolution”

Plenary Session




(12:30pm-2:30pm Central Time)




  • Robert Hart, MD, FAAP, FACP, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Ochsner Health, New Orleans, LA USA
  • Katherine Baumgarten, MD, Medical Director, Infection Control and Prevention, Ochsner Health, New Orleans, LA USA





 Ziad Maurice Ashkar, Ochsner Lafayette General, Lafayette, LA USA


Adam Drobot, Chairman, OpenTechWorks, Inc., Wayne, PA USA

Dr. Adam Drobot is an experienced technologist and manager. His activities are strategic consulting, start-ups, and industry associations. He is the Chairman of the Board of OpenTechWorks, Inc and serves on the boards of multiple companies and no-profit organizations. In the past he was the Managing Director and CTO of 2M Companies, the President of Applied Technology Solutions, and the CTO of Telcordia Technologies (Bellcore). Before that, he managed the Advanced Technology Group at Science Applications International (SAIC/Leidos) and was the Senior Vice President for Science and Technology at SAIC.

Adam is a member of the FCC Technological Advisory Council. In the past he was on the Board of the Telecommunications Industry Association where he Chaired the Technology Committee; the US Department of Transportation Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee; and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute External Advisory Board. In 2017 and 2018 he chaired the IEEE Internet of Things Initiative Activities Board. He has published over 100 journal articles and holds 27 patents. In his professional career he was responsible for the development of several major multi-disciplinary scientific modeling codes and specialized in developing tools and techniques for the design, management, and operation of complex scientific facilities, discrete manufacturing systems, and large-scale platforms, for government and industry. His degrees include a BA in Engineering Physics from Cornell University and a PhD. in Plasma Physics from the University of Texas at Austin.




Ben Davis, CEO, Phizzle, San Francisco, CA USA

After a decade in enterprise sales with Fortune 500 companies such as Xerox, Parametric Technology and EMC, Ben left the corporate world to become an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, following his passion for sports and technology.

Ben co-founded Pixiem in 2003, which was among the first of its kind as a developer and publisher of mobile video games. In 2005, Pixiem was acquired by publicly traded WinWin Gaming. Ben co-founded Phizzle in 2006 and has led the company through major innovations and technology adaptations from consumer data to IoT machine data while raising $20 million in VC funding.

He is on the IoT Community board of advisors and serves on the IoT Community’s Converged Edge Center of Excellence. Ben is a board member at Elon University, School of Communications; board member of Boys Hope Girls Hope; and member of the Alliance of Chief Executives. Formerly a professional basketball player in Europe, he currently resides in San Francisco. Ben is a graduate of Walsh University with a BA in Business.

Abstract: Phizzle CEO, Ben Davis, discusses how new technologies for monitoring device health, environmental anomalies, and data availability for AI are accelerating the drug discovery process to help conquer disease. Using expertise from Pizzly’s F100 Pharma deployments, Davis explains why scientific data is significantly more difficult to generate than machine data. Large pharmaceutical manufacturers typically own thousands of scientific devices ranging from pH meters to particle counters. Each requires expert labor for daily operation. The failure to accurately collect this scientific data means falling out of compliance or risking an unsafe work environment. Davis argues that digitally collecting this type of scientific data should be the holy grail of IOT programs. Successfully digitizing scientific data allows for the automated operation of machines – like particle counters – that are essential to a pharmaceutical manufacturer’s core competency. It transforms the role of IOT technology from simple monitoring with sensors to directly touching the core IP of a company, e.g., their drug formula. This Keynote will present a compelling use case and vision for using edge connectivity to enhance the drug discovery process. Cost savings, regulatory benefits, human error, data standardization, and anomaly monitoring are all considered. It will conclude with a discussion on how scientific data is poised to fuel breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. The conversation is ideally suited for large-scale manufacturers, pharmaceutical professionals, and edge technologists.


Kimberly Walker LaGrue, CIO City of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA USA

Kimberly Walker LaGrue is the Chief Information Officer of the City of New Orleans, and head of the Office of Information Technology & Innovation. She and her team deliver stable, IT services to city government and strategies for equitable growth and expansion of technology services throughout New Orleans.  As co-lead of the City’s digital equity strategy, she has a responsibility to improve New Orleans’ positioning as a tech-savvy, smart city, able to address challenges with 21st-century technology.

A New Orleans native with 25+ years of experience in IT operations, telecommunications, and data management, she’s spent most of her career modernizing and advancing technology in local government.

Kimberly is the North American President of the Cities Today Leadership Institute, and an advisory board member of the Internet of Things Consortium.  A fierce advocate for citywide broadband, she is personally committed to digital equity, digital literacy, and technology opportunities for all New Orleanians.


Paolo Braca, NATO S&T CMRE, La Spezia, Italy

Dr. Paolo Braca received the Laurea degree (summa cum laude) in electronic engineering and the Ph.D. degree (highest rank) in information engineering from the University of Salerno, Italy, in 2006 and 2010, respectively. In 2009, he was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Connecticut, USA. In 2010-2011, he was a Postdoctoral Associate with the University of Salerno. In 2011, Dr. Braca joined the NATO STO CMRE and is currently a Senior Scientist with the Research Department. As project manager, he leads the Data Knowledge Operational Effectiveness (DKOE) project, and several other research projects funded by the EU Horizon 2020, the US Office of Naval Research, and the Defence Research and Development Canada. In 2017 and 2018, Dr. Braca obtained the National Scientific Qualification to function as Associate and Full Professor in Italian universities, respectively. In 2019 he was appointed as Adjunct Professor with the University of Cassino, Italy.

He conducts research in the general area of statistical signal processing with emphasis on detection and estimation theory, wireless sensor network, multi-agent algorithms, target tracking and data fusion, adaptation and learning over graphs, radar (sonar) signal processing. He is co-author of over 150 publications in international scientific journals, conference proceedings and technical reports. He is an IEEE Senior Member (since 2017). Dr. Braca serves as Associate Editor of IEEE Trans. Signal Processing, IEEE Trans. Aerospace and Electronic Systems, ISIF Journal of Advances in Information Fusion, EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing, and IET Radar Sonar and Navigation. In 2017 he was Lead Guest Editor of the special issue “Sonar Multi-Sensor Applications and Techniques” in IET Radar Sonar and Navigation. He served as Associate Editor of IEEE Signal Processing Magazine (E-Newsletter) from 2014 to 2016. He is in the Technical Committee of the major international conferences in the field of signal processing and data fusion. He was the recipient of the Best Student Paper Award (first runner-up) at Fusion 2009, the NATO STO Scientific Achievement Award in 2017, the Best Paper Award (first runner-up) at SSPD 2019, and the IET 2019 Premium Award for Best Paper published on the IET Radar Sonar & Navigation.


Robert Hart, MD, FAAP, FACP, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Ochsner Health, New Orleans, LA

As Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hart is responsible for overseeing all aspects of physician recruiting and performance, quality improvement and clinical operations within Ochsner’s owned and managed hospitals, over 100 urgent care and health centers and its Group Practice of more than 1,300 employed physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties.

Dr. Hart received his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, Texas. He completed his internship and residency at the University of Texas Affiliated Hospitals in Houston. Dr. Hart is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and has been on the staff of Ochsner Clinic Foundation since 1994.

After serving as Associate Medical Director for Primary Care at Ochsner Medical Center Baton Rouge for seven years, he served as Medical Director for Ochsner’s Baton Rouge Region from August 2008 until December 2014.  Dr. Hart was appointed Regional Medical Director of Ochsner Medical Center New Orleans in January 2015.

Abstract: Covid-19 has had a devasting impact across our globe. Key aspects of the Covid-19 experience will be highlighted from the viewpoint of the Chief Medical Officer and Director of Infection Prevention of one of the leading health care systems in the United States, Ochsner Health. Both worked throughout the pandemic from when the unknown respiratory syndrome was described to the present, navigating and leading the response efforts across a large health care system. New Orleans, LA and the surrounding areas saw early cases of Covid-19 prior to surges seen across the State of Louisiana and the United States, so Ochsner Health adapted quickly and early.

Topics to be covered include the Covid-19 timeline, current state, recent available treatment, Emergency Use Authorized vaccines, Covid-19 variants, considerations for employers, and future state of living with Covid-19.


Katherine Baumgarten, MD, FACP, FIDSA, Medical Director, Infection Control and Prevention, Ochsner Health, New Orleans, LA USA

Dr. Baumgarten serves at Ochsner’s Medical Director of Infection Control and Prevention. She earned her medical degree from LSU and completed her internship and residency at the University of California in Fresno. She completed her infectious diseases fellowship at Ochsner and has been on staff at Ochsner since the summer of 2000. She is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases. Dr. Baumgarten is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and a member of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). Her professional interests include preventing infections in hospitalized patients.