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What is the mission and vision of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)?

The vision of the IIC is to be the world’s leading organization transforming business and society by accelerating the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Our mission is to deliver a trustworthy IIoT in which the world’s systems and devices are securely connected and controlled to deliver transformational outcomes. Bottom line: we want to make the world a better place by providing an ecosystem that develops and builds life changing IIoT solutions.

To date, what has been the biggest accomplishment of the IIC?

The growth of our organization in the past five years has been amazing. Companies join for many reasons, some getting heavily involved and dedicating the people resources needed to truly engage with the ecosystem, others for the awareness and access to the IIoT knowledge base among our membership. I’m most proud of the fact that we’ve produced seven foundational documents that have become implementation guidelines for the industry; our working groups have published 15 whitepapers with as many in the pipeline; and our nearly 30 test beds have delivered results and even generated requirements for new standards that the IoT market needs.

What is your role within the IIC? What has been your most important contribution?

I’ve worked with OMG since 1992 and have always been impressed with the organization’s ability to see where the technology industry is going. This is due to Dr. Richard Soley and Bill Hoffman, true visionaries who helmed OMG for nearly 30 years. Throughout my career, I remained in touch with them and in 2015, I received a call from Bill to work with IIC to launch the inaugural IoT Solutions World Congress (IoTSWC) with Fira Barcelona. We’ve grown that event to be the largest IIoT global event, with over 16,000 attendees in 2018. This led me to a larger role with OMG as the vice president of operations. My focus is now on developing and growing all the programs under the OMG umbrella.

What advice do you have for young women who are interested in becoming involved with the IIoT?

I encourage women young and old to get involved in the IIoT by looking at all the ways it touches our lives. The word, industrial, can evoke visions of grease and dark warehouses, but the IIoT is shaping so much of our lives, from agriculture crop management to intelligent urban water supplies to smart manufacturing and autonomous vehicles. There are so many opportunities for women to find an area of the IIoT that excites them. At most of the IIoT events and member associations, more and more women are getting involved, which is great to see. In fact, we held our first “Women in IIoT” event at the IoTSWC in 2018 and it was a sellout. My advice for young women is not to be intimidated by technology and know that many women bring a different skill set that, when shared in collaboration with others, can result in new solutions, applications and business outcomes.

Which university programs would you recommend for IIoT?

There is a huge skills gap in industry today. I would encourage students to find programs that can educate and intrigue them to find a career in technology and, more importantly, in industry. Industrial environments are not what they used to be and with technology disrupting these environments, they’re actually really cool. More and more colleges and universities are offering programs in data analytics, data science and computer science. My recommendation is to find the program and school that fits the student. If someone is out of school, they shouldn’t feel limited by the words on their degree. There are many great retraining programs to learn more about a new field and experience in other areas brings different points of view to an IIoT team.

Which companies are leading the way in this technology?

It’s an ecosystem and a movement that is compiled of many companies. One of the great things about the IIoT is that no single company can win the IIoT. End to end solutions require companies to work together. This is where IIC comes in. We provide the ecosystem where ideas become test beds, test beds deliver results, and those results turn into solutions. Our members have the opportunity to work together, sometimes sitting directly next to their competitor, to build new solutions and applications with the latest technologies in a noncompetitive environment.

Why is diversity important in technology focused companies?

Diversity helps avoid groupthink and IIC as an organization helps avoid groupthink. We have more than 3,000 individual members from hundreds of companies in countries around the world. Each person brings their own perspective to the table and their own learned experiences. Access to IIC will help anyone interested in broadening their own perspective.

Where do you see this technology in five years?  How do you think this will affect your role?

Looking at the maturity of the IIoT marketplace, I think we’ve come a long way, but there’s a lot of opportunity to come. What I see next is the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and blockchain into IIoT projects. As far as my role, I look forward to what the future brings IIC and will ride this technology wave while ensuring our ecosystem continues to be at the forefront of IIoT development and leadership around the world.

Terry McElrath

Terry McElrath, is Vice President Operations & Business Development at the Object Management Group (OMG) and is responsible for the development of the IoT Solutions World Congress conference program. Leveraging extensive experience with start-ups and rapid growth scenarios, Terry is a valuable asset for companies seeking guidance on change management, developing new revenue lines, and organizational structure. Her broad areas of expertise include business development, content development, strategic partnerships, marketing strategy, communication, and event strategy and execution.

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