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No matter how cheap or fast paid internet service gets, the Internet of Things (IOT) won’t take wings until we have ubiquitous access to a completely decentralized, open-standard network that does not require a provider subscription. This month, we may be a step closer.

Let’s talk about internet connected gadgets. Not just your phone or PC—and not even a microwave oven or light bulb. Instead, think of everyday objects that are much smaller and much less expensive. Think of things that seemingly have no need to talk with you.

Now think of applications in which these tiny things need to communicate with each other and not just with you. Think of the cost of this “thing” compared to the added cost of continuous communications. Do so many things really need to talk in the first place?

First, there were Trackers…

Have you tried one of those tracking devices that help you find a lost bicycle or wallet? Tile is the most visible brand. They offer trackers shaped like dog tag, a fat button or a credit card. They recently began offering users the ability to replace the battery. In the past, you had to buy new trackers every year.

Trackers are useful, but connectivity is either…

  • Very expensive: Each devices requires a mobile phone data plan
  • Intermittent and short range: Tile uses Bluetooth and relies on a community of owners to “pick up” on your lost or stolen object. This only occurs if another user stumbles into close range range and with their Tile app active on a mobile phone.

Tile was cool in its heyday, but that day is passing as we transition into the Internet of Things (IOT). It took me a few years to fully embrace the need for an internet of “things” or how it differs from the internet that we use every day. In an effort to more quickly bring about your own Ahahh! moment, consider just one example.

The Chandelier (an example with apologies to Sia)

Consider a huge chandelier across the domed ceiling of a grand opera house. It has 85,000 tiny LEDs that can throb and pulse during animated light shows. Each individual light is replaceable—only 10¢. But getting a scaffold and a maintenance crew to the 50 foot dome takes 6 hours and costs almost $500.

Every month, one or two of the tiny lights go dark (or get stuck on the wrong color). Fortunately, expensive maintenance can be delayed. A few bad LEDs cannot be seen from the auditorium below. They are only a problem when many lights go dark:

a) More than 2% of bulbs —OR—
b) More than 8 bulbs in any cubic region of 250 LEDs —OR—
c) More than 3 bulbs positioned at a critical juncture of special-effect animation
d) Any LED programmed to be green for more than 250 mS during the Disney Little-Mermaid animation

These minimum operating conditions may sound complex, but they were determined at the time of installation by a meticulous trial with a focus group and survey forms. Dozens of volunteers looked up at the chandelier and watched several programmed light shows.

Trying to count faulty lights and measure them against these criteria before each performance is nearly impossible. Should we chuck these standards and just leave the maintenance decision in the hands of whomever is managing the facility each night?

No. Standards are good. There is a better way.

Imagine if all the little LEDs could communicate with each other and generate a weighted vote as to whether maintenance is required. Now, imagine that the added circuitry to communicate between LEDs—and even to managers and maintenance staff—cost no more than the LED itself. Just pennies for the circuit. No communications infrastructure or subscription is needed at all.

This example may seem a bit extreme, but it is taken from real life, and a perfect example of the Internet of Things. This is just the beginning. As IOT takes off, a connected society will venture far beyond Bluetooth trackers into applications that we cannot yet imagine.

But how will the internet things be connected—especially if so many devices are tiny, inexpensive and portable? We cannot expect every dog collar and portable asset to have a mobile subscription plan and an IMEI/MEID.

And short range tracking (like the Bluetooth Tile) is not too helpful for keeping tabs on your dog when he gets off leash. Or perhaps you want to track an asset that is less precious—for example, a soccer ball. You don’t just want to find it, you want to study game dynamics as it is kicked across a field. What about your favorite earrings? They belonged to your great grandmother. Imagine that they could never be misplaced. With IOT, everything possible. Apps and benefits are heading toward us like a freight train.

IOT doesn’t require 5G speed, but to be truly transformative, it requires ubiquitous, low-power and free connectivity. Coverage must be thorough, at least at a community level.

Do We Really Need IOT?

You bet we do! Just envision possibilities.

With miniaturization and the rapidly dropping cost of electronics, there are some tiny or inexpensive things could benefit greatly by constant connectivity. Today, my washing machine and air conditioner are WiFi enabled. Connectivity is even built into light bulbs.

But early connected smart home gadgets are designed primarily to talk within a home. When traveling, you might want an alert if water is leaking into the cellar. But let’s face it: When at the office or on vacation, most people don’t care to dim the kitchen lights or know when a load of laundry is ready for transfer to the dryer.

This is starting to change. Gadget makers all over the world are preparing for an era of remarkable information and utility that will emerge when devices communicate not just with their owners, but with each other. When tiny things can talk, a world with free, ubiquitous and redundant connectivity, will bring unexpected and remarkable benefits.

How to Get from Here to There?

All this requires simple, free and ubiquitous wide area networking. Most analysts expect that the brave new world will take wings until a popular, widely deployed internet access method emerges—one that does not require a service provider.

Does free internet access, with community wide coverage and a sustainable business model exist?

Enter the people’s network: The Helium hotspot. With a splashy adoption campaign, it is positioned to be the first successful mass-deployment of a very long range, low power signalling standard. If successful, Helium could jump start a category of access and coverage that is just what is needed for the next big thing.

The Helium hotspot, is a crossover between a residential router, and community internet access. Most importantly, it disintermediates the process. No ISP? Don’t worry! It is not required to get into the game and to enjoy significant benefits.

I think of Helium as Rooftop Communications on steroids (an early community mesh network that was way ahead its time). If 5 or more individuals in a typical city set up their own hotspot, every user enjoys shared community access to the Internet—even if only one of participant has internet service. In fact, a bridge to the legacy internet is not even an issue to access resources and data within the community. Every town service, store, event, school and library is online without anyone having a paid subscription to any service provider.

Helium is just beginning to roll out across the world. Early adopters acquire a Helium hotspot and they effectively “own” their city. At first, it works at moderately low speeds and over very long distances. Only a few are needed to kick start a city. When 20 or 30 residents join the party, network speed, coverage, consistency and overall utility become compelling. Not 5G or 4G—but capable of servicing critical needs on the go or as a back up method of Internet access. When this clever IOT network gets traction, it will eventually service most internet needs other than video.

Helium is the first Consumer product to use the low-power LoRa radio standard (Helium calls it “LongFi”). User owned Hotspots form a super mesh-network that the company hopes will cover entire continents. Unlike your router or smartphone hotspot, with Helium, there is no ISP or cell tower. Your neighbors are your peers and your entry ramp to the internet for services that are still on a legacy, subscriber network.

Enter The Blockchain: Seriously—Adoption It is token powered!

As if this weren’t exciting enough, Helium adoption is powered by a blockchain—like Bitcoin. No kidding!

Don’t let this deter you from testing Helium and taking control of your own city. Regardless of your opinion on Bitcoin and crypto, the blockchain is a clever lever to incentivize and reward adoption.

Helium hotspot ads are everywhere, but the first LongFi router is not cheap. Buyers are investing in the long game. Early adopters won’t find immediate value in hosting other users, but you will be amply rewarded as the technology is adopted. Hence, a blockchain token reward mechanism. The Helium reward token a functional cryptocurrency token. Some call it an Independent Coin Offering (ICO). Whaaat?! Hold on! Aren’t ICOs rip-offs?…

I have broad contempt for ICOs (they are all scams!). This fervent opinion forced me to carefully evaluate my enthusiasm for Helium. It almost led me to abandon research and look for an alternate long-range, decentralized communications ecosystem.

But the blockchain does not necessarily make for a bad actor. A functional token with no underlying pyramid scheme is not an ICO. It is a clever mechanism to encourage viral adoption of a chicken-and-egg technology; one that offers enormous public benefit.

Technology Application & Business Model

LoRa can achieve competitive web access speeds at 1~3 Km. Helium hotspots will more likely have mesh-hand-off spacing of 15~20 Km at first. This results in a signal of 5 kbps or less. Depending on how effective are the hotspot and hand-off incentives, Helium may ultimately compete with sky-based WiFi, satellite schemes or community WiFi as a free moderate-speed, internet service.Helium is intended for IOT devices, but can also be used as a last mile layer for user Internet access. During the early build out of infrastructure in any region, it is clearly optimized for low speed IOT communications.


Helium doesn’t completely satisfy requirements that we set forth in the very first paragraph above. I assume that it uses a proprietary standard to poll and packetize data. (I am not sure of this. Perhaps someone working with the project reach out with a clarification). And at $495 for a long range, low power Helium hotspot/router, it may be a bit early for all but the most bold entrepreneur to experiment with Helium. If you don’t live in a large and densely populated urban area, you are unlikely to find many peers with whom to share spectrum, data and gateways.

But if you open your mind to the possibilities: tools, gadgets and services that can benefit from private networks or municipal infrastructure that was previously the exclusive domain of town governments, railroads and first responders… If you can imagine these things—or a profitable role in accommodating these things—then a personal Helium Hotspot may be in your future.

I plan to jump in with both feet. I will be shaping my career around Helium. It’s a bit early, but that’s the whole point. For me, it is a gamble worth taking.


Philip Raymond co-chairs CRYPSA, hosts the Bitcoin Event and is keynote speaker at Cryptocurrency Conferences. He is a top writer at Quora.

What are the key driving forces shaping the emerging future of business meetings, events, and conferences?

The next five years promise to bring fundamental changes across society – from the clients we serve, to the technology we use, and the needs and priorities of business – literally everything is “up for grabs”. At the same time, societal shifts, changing delegate and employee expectations, economic shifts, and financial uncertainty will all add to this mix – creating complexity, new opportunities, unexpected challenges, and a pressure to stay ahead of the game in spotting what’s next. Here we outline 20 developments that will become more prominent and potentially become major industry trends over the next five years.

  1. Conferences will have an increasingly interdisciplinary focus – In many sectors, participants will tire of hearing the same industry speakers and vendors saying roughly what they said last year! In the search for inspiration to maintain attendance levels, organizers will invite inspiring people from different fields, arts, science, music, business, education, or engineering to share their ideas with participants. The convergence, between people coming from different fields, will contribute to more creative solutions for the complex problems of the future of business.
  2. The Brexit Boom – Businesses the world over are struggling to understand what form the UK’s exit from the European Union might actually take – or if it will happen at all. Should it happen, the process might take five or ten years to complete fully. There is likely to be a high level of uncertainty and chaos. As the story continues to unfold there will be growing demand for events which help suppliers from and to the UK understand the latest picture and implications for their sector. For the meetings industry, the key here will be the ability to organise and promote relatively short, high quality, sector-specific events at speed.
  3. #metoo Charters — The meetings industry will take positive action in the wake of the harassment and assault cases made public across many sectors in 2017. Codes of conduct will appear covering behaviour at events, participants will be asked to sign these to confirm their adherence. Reporting of incidents will be made easier and more discreet, and offenders’ organizations will be notified immediately when such issues arise.
  4. Political Uncertainty – For the travellers to the US, uncertainty will continue over whether travel bans, or enhanced border vetting, will be in place for visitors from a range of countries. This may lead some organisers to locate global events in locations with no such restrictions.
  5. Smarter by Design – The of artificial intelligence (AI) in the sector will expand quite rapidly. From designing agendas, setting prices, and targeting potential attendees through to customer service chatbots, determining best fit locations, matchmaking people at events, and providing back-up content and fact checking of presentations, AI tools will become a feature across the entire industry value chain. In a very human business such as the events sector, it seems likely that AI will be used to free up time for value adding tasks rather than reduce headcounts.
  6. Business Model Experimentation – In a world where new charging models are proliferating, there will be a growing pressure on events to bring greater creativity to bear. From paying based on the perceive value and seat auctions through to pay per session and results based charging – the sector will be exploring a range of attendee payment ideas.
  7. Silent Conferences — Participants will be able to tune in to every parallel session via their personal devices and listen through their headphones from wherever they are in a venue. So, if the current session doesn’t appeal, you can simply switch to listen to or watch another parallel session another without leaving your seat.
  8. Real-Time Conference Agendas — Participants will be able to use meeting apps to schedule impromptu sessions held in any available space — coffee bars, lobbies, exhibition floors, even car parks. The speaker will talk into a microphone attached to their own smartphone and have the talk broadcast to those who tune in to that particular channel. Attendees will be able to view presentation slides and hear the speaker via their own device and headphones. So, no matter how noisy the background, the audience will be able to understand you perfectly clearly.
  9. Next Generation Meeting Scheduling — The intelligent assistants (IA) on our phone, or on the meeting app, will book appointments and meeting locations for us based on the types of people we say we want to meet. The IA will scan the attendee list, find the people who fit the criteria we’ve defined, and then contact their IA to request and set-up meetings.
  10. Stress Centres — concerns over our mental wellbeing are rising across society and workplace stress is reaching epidemic levels in some sectors. Events will start to include facilities where participants can talk discretely to counsellors and therapists about their issues.
  11. Thinking Hubs — Meeting venues will have interactive technology that will enable creative thinking and idea testing. Interactive technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented reality (AR) will allow participants to visualize data or ideas developed in a workshop session in a more tangible way. Participants will be able to test different ideas in VR/AR software and compare their possible outcomes to make better decisions.
  12. Integrated Events Apps — Users will not have to download individual APPs for each event, we will integrated systems emerge that present content for multiple events – these may even become standard features on many smartphones. App developers will create more cohesive systems that merge the information and presentations all the different events that sign up to use them. Users will have the opportunity to browse for the most interesting and useful information across a range of events and conferences – perhaps making micro-payments to access content for the events they didn’t attend.
  13. Digital Twins — Early adopters of technology could soon be able to send a digital stand-in to attend face-to-face conferences. The participant’s digital twin would be a software incarnation of the person embodied (or not) by a hologram or device that can see, hear, and observe the event in real time. The digital twin could engage with other participants in virtual space or on social media during the event, leading up to scheduled face to face meetings with interesting contacts at later points in time.
  14. Robot Realms – Events will make greater use of robots as mobile customer service assistants, kitchen staff, baristas, waiting staff, security guards, and porters. We’ll also see more robots featuring presentations and even delivering them. Within facilities we might see drones capturing videos of the sessions, transporting goods, and even moving people between sessions.
  15. Paradise Unplugged – Some meetings will be elevated to a luxury experience by adopting technology-free policies that demand unplugging, disconnecting, powering down, and “off-gridding” for all participants. Events will set a tone of intimacy and authenticity by discarding the free wi-fi and discouraging conference hashtags, for example. The venues would provide a facility at check in where participants can drop off their devices for the day and unplug, putting a total focus on the experience at hand.
  16. Cryptoculture — With the rising profile of digital currencies like Bitcoin, the next five years could require the meetings sector to adapt to customers interested in paying with cryptocurrencies. Being prepared to accept payments via Bitcoin and other digital currency would be an important step; there may also be new risks at hand when it comes to having anonymously paid fees, which is the nature of Bitcoin but unconventional in terms of event planning. There is likely to be a massive expansion of events about and related to cryptocurrencies as investment interests grow and the public becomes more and more curious about the potential of cryptocurrencies. A growing number of industry conferences will also look to add content about the potential impact and use of cryptocurrencies in their sector.
  17. Circular Economies and Zero Waste — The meetings and conference industry will come under growing pressure and take greater action to alleviate food, energy, and water waste. Scientific studies have shown that the earth’s ecosystems are weakening due to inefficiencies in current economic structures and distribution systems. So, for example, millions go hungry while fresh food is routinely discarded. Events and meetings that put into practice the principles of circular economies and zero waste, philosophies that encourage reuse and discourage overconsumption, might have a powerful role to play in the future where natural resources, even food, could be in short supply.
  18. The Replaced — As the automation of work and jobs progresses as an economic force, it is possible that there will be a rise in the number of technologically unemployed people. Events and meetings aimed at this audience might emerge as an opportunity for the meetings sector. Past employers, governments, other sponsors, and even the individuals themselves might pay for seminars, conferences, education sessions, and certification courses aimed at counselling, reskilling, and retraining the replaced. Indeed, these could become regular events in many local communities.
  19. Big Brother — Events that gather large numbers of participants could become attractive to proponents of the growing Internet of Things (IoT) and smart city movement. Attendees of large events might earn rewards, discounts, or actual money for agreeing to use tracking devices during business conventions or meetings. Attendee data would provide key insights to exhibiters, and non-participating marketers, for example those aiming at the business traveller. Marketers will place ever-greater value on knowing how participants spend their time, which stands they visit, what they look at on specific exhibits, who they talk to, and how long for. Of course, this might all seem very intrusive and, so it would need to be the choice of the individual attendee as to whether they were tracked or not. For event venues, large exhibition spaces might provide the perfect venue for IoT vendors to set up demonstrations and smart city simulations.
  20. Enhanced-Friendly – People are beginning to pursue a range of brain and body enhancements – chemical, genetic, physical, and electronic. From nootropic attention stimulating drugs and supplements through to body strengthening exoskeletons, and genetic modification, the sci-fi notion of “bodyhacking” is becoming a reality. Event planners will increasingly need to consider the needs of these enhanced visitors. As biohacking and bionics go from fringe to mainstream, how will meeting planners adapt to dealing with customers, colleagues, and vendors who are partially enhanced? Within the next five years, various forms of biotech implants could become more normalized, giving some individuals superhuman hearing, vision, or memory. As the sensory spectrum is expanded, will meetings be expected to accommodate the needs of the enhanced human?

The next five years could see more dramatic change taking place in the meetings sector than we have seen since its emergence. A powerful combination of economic, social, technological, and environmental factors will create new opportunities and challenges and force the sector to undertake a fundamental rethink of literally every aspect of what it does. Some will act fast to be ahead of the curve and use these impending changes as an opportunity to innovate in advance of the competition, others will inevitably wait until they are forced to by customers and competitive pressures. The choice over when to act is down to the individuals involved – but panic and crisis driven strategies rarely provide sustainable business advantage.

Other than technology, which areas of the economy, life, and society might have the biggest future impact on the events and meetings industry?

How might the job roles in your organization be impacted by some of the 20 trends described above?

What might be some of the critical skills required to ensure a viable future for businesses in the meetings and conference sector?

The authors are futurists with Fast Future — a professional foresight firm specializing in delivering keynote speeches, executive education, research, and consulting on the emerging future and the impacts of change for global clients. Fast Future publishes books from leading future thinkers around the world, exploring how developments such as AI, robotics, exponential technologies, and disruptive thinking could impact individuals, societies, businesses, and governments and create the trillion-dollar sectors of the future. Fast Future has a particular focus on ensuring these advances are harnessed to unleash individual potential and enable a very human future. See:

Rohit Talwar is a global futurist, award-winning keynote speaker, author, and the CEO of Fast Future. His prime focus is on helping clients understand and shape the emerging future by putting people at the center of the agenda. Rohit is the co-author of Designing Your Future, lead editor and a contributing author for The Future of Business, and editor of Technology vs. Humanity. He is a co-editor and contributor for the recently published Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity and The Future Reinvented – Reimagining Life, Society, and Business, and two forthcoming books — Unleashing Human Potential – The Future of AI in Business, and 50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years.

Steve Wells is an experienced strategist, keynote speaker, futures analyst, partnership working practitioner, and the COO of Fast Future. He has a particular interest in helping clients anticipate and respond to the disruptive bursts of technological possibility that are shaping the emerging future. Steve is a contributor to the recently published Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity and The Future Reinvented – Reimagining Life, Society, and Business, co-editor of The Future of Business, and Technology vs. Humanity. He is a co-editor and contributor to two forthcoming books on Unleashing Human Potential – The Future of AI in Business, and 50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years.

Alexandra Whittington is a futurist, writer, Foresight Director of Fast Future, and a faculty member on the Futures program at the University of Houston. She has a particular expertise in future visioning and scenario planning. Alexandra is a contributor to The Future of Business, the recently published Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity and The Future Reinvented – Reimagining Life, Society, and Business. She is also a co-editor and contributor for forthcoming books on Unleashing Human Potential – The Future of AI in Business, and 50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years.

April Koury is a foresight researcher, writer, and the Publishing Director of Fast Future. She has worked on a range of foresight initiatives including society and media in 2020, emerging economies, and the future of travel, tourism, and transportation. April is a contributor to the recently published Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity and The Future Reinvented – Reimagining Life, Society, and Business and a co-editor of The Future of Business, and Technology vs. Humanity. She is a co-editor and contributor to two forthcoming books on Unleashing Human Potential – The Future of AI in Business, and 50:50 – Scenarios for the Next 50 Years.

Helena Calle is a researcher at Fast Future. She is a recent graduate from the MSc. program in Educational Neuroscience at Birkbeck, University of London, and has eight years of international experience as a teacher, teacher trainer, pedagogic coordinator, and education consultant. Helena coordinates Fast Futures’ growing research on the future of learning.

The next five years will mark a dramatic enterprise shift toward the edge of networks, where emerging technologies can be harnessed to radically improve user experiences, transform business models, and generate vast revenue opportunities, according to a new book by Fast Future in collaboration with Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

Opportunity at the Edge: Change, Challenge, and Transformation on the Path to 2025, developed by Fast Future in collaboration with Aruba, reports that edge technologies – those which process and analyze user data where people connect to a network – will revolutionize corporate strategies, create more dynamic, responsive, and personalized customer and employee experiences, enable powerful business and revenue models, and even catalyze the growth of entirely new industries. To unlock these opportunities, the book argues that enterprises must embrace fundamental change, engaging in widespread strategic, structural, and leadership transformation.

Morten Illum, VP EMEA at Aruba, comments: “The findings in this book highlight the vast commercial potential for enterprises utilizing edge technologies, if companies are willing and able to enact the considerable organizational changes needed. The edge represents a dramatic overhaul in how companies understand, service, and meet the needs of their customers and employees. It will be a world defined by dynamic, immediate, and personalized services.”

Key Themes and Findings

Commissioned to explore the scale of possibilities presented by edge technologies in the next 3–5 years, the book features insights from 19 leading global CIOs, technology leaders, industry experts and futurists, and a perspectives survey of 200 future thinkers from across the globe. It explores the edge technologies that are driving change, the use cases and businesses opportunities these are creating, and the ways in which organizations can adapt to take advantage. Key trends that emerged include:

  • The edge of the network holds the key to industry transformation: The edge is designed to enable and capitalize on modern digital experiences at the convergence of people, apps, and things – allowing customer and ecosystem partners to take these actionable insights to then create “experiences” for employees and customers. This is making it possible for businesses and organizations in various industries to leverage data and insights from the edge to deliver new and immersive experiences to consumers and end customers. It is driving sectors from education and retail to healthcare and hospitality to rethink how they act today. New types of experiences such as location-aware mobile engagement, digitally assisted patient care, and user-aware meeting rooms can give organizations a competitive advantage.
  • At least one-third of businesses will create edge-enabled mainstream personalization by 2025: The study shows that a clear majority (67%) of respondents believe at least 30% of businesses will be using the edge to create “mainstream personalization” in the next five years. From the classroom to the office, retail stores, and major event venues, edge technologies will enable personalized service delivery that meets growing user expectations of an immediate, customized experience.
  • New benefits from the edge will be realized: Other benefits arising include localized products, services, and pricing (52% of respondents), enhanced real-time market insight (50%), improved customer and user satisfaction (48%), and faster product and service innovation (47%).

Opportunities at the Edge

The edge will create transformative business opportunities for industries across the economy, using data to understand customers and tailor services to their needs, such as:

  • A retailer that can provide custom-made clothing, fitted to your 3D hologram, as the industry evolves to provide an anywhere and everywhere experience;
  • A classroom environment that automatically adapts to each student’s comprehension and comfort level, as schools and colleges harness edge technologies to enhance student performance, confidence, and mental wellbeing;
  • A hospital that uses IoT monitoring sensors to provide continuous patient reporting at the point of care and real-time diagnosis, enhancing the ability of healthcare professionals to deliver efficient and effective care;
  • A workplace with always-on tools, enabling collaboration from any device around the world, as offices evolve to facilitate the same level of access and functionality for employees anywhere in the world.

These shifts will be underpinned by emerging business and revenue models, such as payment by facial recognition or biometrics (highlighted by 70% of survey respondents), commercial application of customer data accumulated via the IoT (67%), hyper-personalized instant offers (63%), demand-driven and location-specific pricing (55%), and subscription models for everyday purchases such as food and clothing (52%).

How Enterprises Must Adapt to Take Advantage

While the opportunities of the edge are considerable, relatively few companies have moved quickly to embrace them. Simply implementing the technologies will not be enough; companies must rethink their entire business strategy to take advantage of edge opportunities. The book outlines several key changes for enterprises to consider, including:

  • Embrace a more progressive, experimental approach: A majority of survey respondents said that a change in business mindset was needed to embrace the concept of edge strategies (64%). This could include accepting autonomous decision-making by edge devices (60%), greater top-level support and leadership for the pursuit of driving smarter experiences (53%), and a willingness to experiment with solution design and business models for edge applications (53%).
  • Focus on investment, training, and customer need: There were also calls to more clearly define the customer benefits of edge applications (50%), allocate appropriate investment funds (42%), and provide training in how to spot and specify potential edge applications (45%).
  • Address emerging security concerns: Enterprises must address the security challenges of a network hosting many more connected devices. These include the creation of potentially thousands of points of risk exposure across the network (82%), uncertainty over whether a device has been compromised (67%), hacking of voice or biometric security (62%), and concerns that IoT devices and sensors are not being built with security in mind (62%).

Rohit Talwar, CEO at Fast Future, comments: “To access the opportunities of the edge, companies need a mindset shift to drive both structural and strategic change. Leaders must take responsibility for navigating the journey to the edge, working hand in hand with IT to pursue open technology options, and maintaining a consistent dialogue with employees, customers, and other key stakeholders. Focused experiments, with clearly defined goals, proactive project owners, and dedicated resources, are likely to be the best way forward.”

Morten Illum, VP EMEA at Aruba, concludes: “Enterprises should be excited about the edge opportunity, but they should not underestimate the degree of change needed to unlock it – including the implementation of a network infrastructure that is strong and flexible enough to withstand the greater demands edge technologies impose, and the security threats they create. Given the pace and uncertainty of the change ahead, it is also essential to base any edge strategy on an open technology ecosystem that leaves flexibility to adapt and evolve over time.”

To read the full book, visit

Research methodology
The research was commissioned by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, and conducted in 2019 by Fast Future. The study used a blended approach drawing on Fast Future’s foresight expertise, targeted secondary research, and in-depth qualitative interviews with 19 global CIOs, technology leaders, industry experts, and futurist thought leaders. The project also undertook a broad survey to test emerging ideas and incorporate additional perspectives from 200 business and technology future thinkers across Fast Future’s global networks.

About Fast Future
Fast Future is a professional foresight and publishing firm, specializing in delivering research, keynote speeches, executive education, and consulting on the emerging future and the impacts of technology-driven change for global clients. Fast Future publishes books from leading future thinkers around the world, exploring how developments such as the Internet of Things, edge technologies, AI, robotics, and other exponential technologies and disruptive thinking could impact individuals, societies, businesses, and governments and create the trillion-dollar sectors of the future. Fast Future has a particular focus on ensuring these advances are harnessed to unleash individual potential and enable a very human future.
To learn more, visit Fast Future at, or follow on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


“Buying into a smart home ecosystem is sort of like selecting a holy grail in the Temple of the Sun. Choose poorly, and everything crumbles.”

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“Over the past year, Google engineers have experimented and developed a set of building blocks for the Internet of Things - an ecosystem of connected devices, services and “things” that promises direct and efficient support of one’s daily life. While there has been significant progress in this field, there remain significant challenges in terms of (1) interoperability and a standardized modular systems architecture, (2) privacy, security and user safety, as well as (3) how users interact with, manage and control an ensemble of devices in this connected environment.

It is in this context that we are happy to invite university researchers1 to participate in the Internet of Things (IoT) Technology Research Award Pilot.”

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I think about pros and cons of living in a connected world … think about it …sometimes the answer it is not so simple, nor unique. by Eric A. Fischer — Senior Specialist in Science and Technology, October 13, 2015


“Increased Internet connectivity among cars, appliances, major infrastructure and everyday devices has opened the door to new threats of digital terrorism, say experts at the international digital security conference Black Hat.”

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