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Due to the Covid pandemic, the IIC (Industrial Internet Consortium - www.iiconsortium.org) held its Q4 2020 meeting virtually from Dec 7-10, 2020.

For those that may not be familiar with the IIC, their mission is to foster the adoption of IIoT (Industrial IoT) applications by coordinating ecosystem initiatives to connect and integrate objects with people, processes, and data using common architectures, interoperability, and open standards that lead to transformational business outcomes.  IIC member organizations come from all over the world and are leading the way when it comes to best practices in regards to the development of IIoT applications that consume data from various types of sensors.

The conference was filled with 4 days of sessions that highlighted the open source reference architecture, vocabulary, security, and trustworthiness best practices in regards to IIoT.  First Line Software has developed a number of IIoT applications in collaboration with other IIC members continues to develop their IIoT expertise, and is looking for new areas to leverage this expertise, including Digital Transformation projects.  Typical products and projects that come out of the IIC have everything to do with those that are Smart - Smart Factories, Smart Cities, Smart Buildings, Smart Transportation, and so on.     

In 2020 the IIC took on several strategic initiatives in conjunction with DTC (Digital Twin Consortium) and OMG (Object Management Group).  One of the initiatives that looks to be very promising for its members is the Catalog Initiative.  The catalog is a menu of services, products, and solutions being offered by IIC members and offered to organizations around the globe.  During the demonstration of the catalog on the first day of the conference, Chuck Byers, IIC CTO highlighted First Line Software when he was searching for members that specialize Machine Learning skills where First Line Software was the only member company that was highlighted.  

"For me, this was the highlight of the conference because I had no idea we would be put in the spotlight during this session", said David Tedford, VP First Line Software.

The IIC is always looking at new technologies and how they will impact the IIC in the near (thru 2023), mid (2024 - 2029), and long range forecast (2030 and beyond) as well as their economic impact, and relevance to the IIC.  Chuck Byers collected this information from industry organizations, VC's, and other emerging technology sources and presented it in a series of charts broken down by 12 categories (i.e. - Networking, AI/ML, Hardware, Software, etc...) and 58 sub-categories (i.e. - Advanced Optical Networking, Edge Based AI, TinyML, "X"aaS, etc...).  Members then had a brainstorming session where they discussed each technology and then voted on those that the IIC should focus on moving forward because of their relevance to the IIC.  

On the last day of the conference, there was discussion about finding new members and potential IIoT projects and how to attract additional members into the IIC.  The IIC wants organizations from all industries that may have an IIoT application requirement but doesn't have the technical resources to come to a meeting, at no cost, to see what the IIC can do for their organization.  There are currently a number of Test Drives and Test Beds under development.  Test Drives, similar to Test Beds, are projects that are being developed by IIC member companies as MVP's (Minimum Viable Product) or POC's (Proof of Concept) to confirm the solution meets both the end users expectations and customers requirements before starting development of a full blown product and long duration project.  Anyone interested in learning more should contact David Tedford who is eager to "bring a friend" at no cost to the Q1 meeting, in March 2021.

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