The conference started with the first week dedicated to outstanding tutorials, from speakers around the world, covering technologies and applications characteristic of the breadth and multi-disciplinary nature of IoT. It was followed in the second week by the New Orleans Program which featured exceptional Plenary Sessions and in depth Tracks exploring six different topics important to IoT and to the host City of New Orleans:
- Flood Forecasting – June 21
- Smart Cities – June 21
- Communications and Networking – June 22
- Edge and Fog Computing – June 22
- Tourism and Cultural Heritage – June 23
- The Covid-19 Pandemic – June 23
The Plenary Sessions were one of the highlights and included talks by renowned international author, Walter Isaacson, and VmWare Chief Research Officer David Tennenhouse. Walter spoke about the accelerating revolution in “Digital” Biochemistry and impacts and implications for humanity. His recent best-selling book “The Code Breaker” focusses on the decryption of the code of life as exemplified by the work Jennifer Doudna who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine. David spoke about the challenges of software for IoT and promising approaches for overcoming the obstacles to creating high quality error free software so we can safely enjoy the benefits of IoT and avoid the pitfalls. The two Plenary Panels that followed on successive days provided an overview of the investments in IoT by the European Commission and by the US National Science Foundations, with presentations by the funding managers, and overviews from grant recipients performing the pilots and research investigations.
Each of the Tracks had an exceptional set of speakers and we would like to acknowledge the Track Chairs for doing a terrific job in putting together a complete set of sessions with internationally recognized experts and leaders in each of the fields represented. What is more each of the Tracks addressed both the current state of IoT, the practical issues of deployment and operations, and the vison of what we can expect to accomplish in the future. Without minimizing the excellent and important content of each Track the talks that stand out were: by Ron Repasi from the FCC in the Communications and Networking Track about closing the digital divide and allocation of spectrum to communication services and to new uses; Kim LaGrue the New Orleans CIO talking about infrastructure and the impact of Covid-19 on the cities’ operations; and lastly physicians Robert Hart and Kathryn Baumgartner from Ochsner Health talking about the frontline fight against the pandemic.
The closeout to the second week included the IoT Community Slam, filling the day with an exciting program of talks exemplified by the open sharing of experiences and practices in the design of IoT solutions, their deployment, and their operation – with a sharp focus on the customer experience. [https://iotslam.com/ ] This was followed by the two Women in Engineering and IoT Forum Sessions. The first was an amazing cast of women from academia and industry addressing the needs and technical solutions for improving the use of spectrum in a wirelessly connected world. The second was a just as amazing international panel discussing the professional and personal life of women in IoT and addressing their experiences, aspirations, successes, and challenges. The panel also stressed the importance of motivating others, through early engagement in their development, to take up technical careers and to learn leadership skills.