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The Future of Industrial IoT and Transformative Technologies

Mike BrownDirector, Product Management November 30, 2023

Last week, I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the IoT North Conference in Calgary, an event that brings together world-leading companies and trailblazers to share the latest trends and insights about the progression and future of tech and innovation in relation to the Internet of Things (IoT). I was joined by industry experts Adam Burley, Ryan Martin and Devon Smibert for a panel discussion centered around Industrial IoT and Digital Transformation.

The panel discussion was incredibly engaging, with many insights and takeaways for those navigating and implementing IoT devices in industrial settings, and the rest of the of the conference also offered a look at the future of IoT.

Here are my top four highlights. 

AI: The Game Changer in IoT

One of the most striking themes at the conference was the pervasive conversation around AI. As IoT is fundamentally about gathering data and deriving actionable insights or efficiencies from data, AI and data analysis will inevitably be a foundational technology in an evolving IoT story. Nearly every panel delved into the topic of AI, and it was widely viewed as a transformative tool that will elevate IoT from simple data collection and actions to data intelligence and predictive analytics.  

At Blackline, we’re applying AI to a few use cases, including the use of trained models in our data analytics platform. We perform advanced risk assessments based on usage patterns and expected exposure risk, and our customers are already benefiting from the use of these models in their datasets. We are also planning to implement use cases for Large Language Models (LLM), which “feed” AI-powered tools with intelligence for answering queries in diverse contexts, and will bring this powerful technology to our customers.

Navigating the Maze of IoT Security 

The rapid expansion of IoT devices brings an increased focus on security. Several discussions at the conference highlighted how IoT devices could become potential attack vectors in networks.  

IoT-North-Conference-HallDuring the panel, we discussed data security, personally identifiable information (PII) protection, and the implications of quantum computing on future security protocols. Going into this panel, I wasn’t expecting to field questions on the impact of quantum cryptology on IoT, but in hindsight it shows the maturation in thought when it comes to IoT as a field. While it was generally agreed that the quantum realm remains at the nation-state level today, it’s a reminder that we need to continue to emphasize the need for evolving security strategies to keep pace with technological advancements. 

Defining Success in the IoT Journey (& Storytelling!) 

One of my favourite conversations at the conference was a discussion about the criteria for success in IoT projects.  

Success correlates directly with the clarity of the problem that we are trying to solve. There was a strong consensus on the panel to focus on a clear problem as the starting point, with specific outcomes. The panel also agreed it is important to aim for early and frequent successes when implementing new technology. Tackling too many problems simultaneously can be overwhelming and counterproductive, and the size and scope can grow rapidly if tech integrators try to do too much at once.  

During the Q&A, one of the questions posed in response to this topic was “how do we build success criteria and effectively communicate it within the organization to ensure successful projects?” In response, the panel discussed the role that storytelling can play in the development of IoT use cases.  


When the technology is complex, good storytelling helps stakeholders envision the practical implications and benefits of the technology. Storytelling becomes a powerful tool to bridge the gap between the technical world and the real-world applications of the technology. Seeing is believing, and the use of demos to craft this narrative can be very helpful in illustrating the effectiveness of the products, making them more relatable and understandable. Storytelling effectively transforms technical jargon and data into compelling use cases, helping stakeholders easily understand the tangible value that IoT products bring forward, thus helping outline success criteria and driving engagement and adoption of the technology.  

Collaboration is the Future of IoT 

As we look to the future, the growing complexity of IoT solutions clearly demands interdisciplinary collaboration. Even simple applications require a wide array of technical skills to compete on a global scale. For instance, in developing a global 5G hardware product today, a series of teams might need to be adept in advanced mmWave antenna solutions, (in addition to sub-6 GHz antenna development), AI, cybersecurity, global certification requirements, alongside more traditional engineering disciplines like mechanical, industrial design, electrical, firmware and software development.  

At Blackline Safety, we’re tackling these challenges head-on with our team of technical experts driving new use cases, and advancing technology into our products. We are the innovation leader in gas detection and will continue to adopt transformative technologies that enhance our mission to ensure that every worker has the confidence to do their job and get home safe at the end of their day, all while transforming enterprise workplaces through connected safety technology in the process. 

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