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10 April, 2013 - 13:03 By News Desk

What can you do with 50 billion connected devices?

Dr David Cleevely

It is just 30 years since the launch of the first mobile phones, yet over six billion people now have one. But we are now on the threshold of a far bigger global shift in the use of wireless technology, which could see over 50 billion devices and physical objects connected.

This mind-boggling technology revolution has been dubbed as the Internet of Things and is the topic of the 5th Future of Wireless International Conference that takes place in Cambridge on July 1 & 2.

Over 300 high level delegates from around the world will converge at the Møller Centre to explore the important strategic questions posed by the Internet of Things (IoT), look at the potential benefits and pitfalls and try to distinguish reality from hyperbole.

What happens when everything is connected to everything else across the Cloud? Will it enhance our perception and understanding of our surroundings and how will we interact with this augmented physical world? More profoundly, how might this change our society, business and personal lives?

Cambridge Wireless – the not-for-profit industry forum with a network of nearly 400 members involved in the development and application of wireless technologies – has attracted an impressive line-up of industry experts, researchers and academics to address these issues at its conference.

They include Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2/Telefonica UK; Prof Christopher Bishop, Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research; Stuart Orr, Managing Director, Communications Industry, Accenture; Kevin Jou, CTO at MediaTek; Rolph Meakin, Partner at PWC; John Cunliffe, CTO Ericsson Western & Central Europe; and Steve Townsend, Group CIO, Transport for London.

“It is clear that the Internet of Things has moved from peripheral awareness to front-of-mind for a diverse range of companies and business sectors,” said Peter Whale, board director at Cambridge Wireless.

“Companies in the telecoms sector are now talking confidently about a future with billions of devices communicating wirelessly with each other via the Internet and starting to move from perceived hype to practical solutions.

“The Future of Wireless conference will examine what is needed to bring into being the IoT, from standards and protocols, network architectures, spectrum and regulation, through to business models, ecosystems, and value chains. All the signs are that this could be our most vibrant international conference event yet.”

Additional presentations, workshops, panel sessions, debates and plenary sessions will hosted by companies such as Freescale, Vodafone, CSR, Philips Research, Beecham Research, Oracle, Ofcom, NEC Europe, Airwave, Orange Labs and GSMA.

And with questions about who will drive the new IoT revolution, the Cambridge Debate chaired by Peter Day, Business Correspondent at the BBC, will pose the view that: ‘This house believes that mobile network operators will not be winners in the Internet of Things.’

To underline the important role that new companies play in new technology, the Innovation Hothouse will showcase the winners of the Cambridge Wireless 2012 Discovering Start-Ups competition for next generation wireless companies.

“The Internet of Things not only raises technical challenges on a truly global scale, but businesses, governments and individuals all need to understand the likely impact and what new opportunities and risks this will this create,” said David Cleevely, chairman of Cambridge Wireless.

“Many Cambridge Wireless members – both large international companies and starts-ups – are already leading this debate and playing a part in shaping future strategies. The Future of Wireless Conference this year will once again put the spotlight on Cambridge at the start of an exciting new era in wireless communications.”

Some of the wireless industry’s biggest names are sponsoring the 5th Future of Wireless International Conference, organised by Cambridge Wireless in partnership with UK Trade and Investment and ICT Knowledge Transfer Network.

The event’s sponsors include Accenture, Qualcomm, MediaTek, PwC, Rohde & Schwarz, TTP, Microlease, Cambridge Consultants, S-Tech Insurance, Arkessa, IC Group, u-blox AG, Jaltek Group and Broadcom.

“We are delighted with the level of support from our partners and sponsors that reflects the quality of speakers and delegates from around the world and the focus on topical and strategic industry challenges,” said Dr Soraya Jones, CEO of Cambridge Wireless.

“Now in its 5th year, the 2013 Future of Wireless International Conference has established its place as a key event in the wireless industry calendar.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dr David Cleevely

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