Julia Kanouse, CEO of the Illinois Technology Association, talked about the Midwest's role in driving the growth of the Internet of Things and how the emerging industry will boost manufacturing jobs in an interview with Illinois Business Daily.
Question: What emerging industry in your state are you most excited about?
Answer: At the ITA, we firmly believe the Midwest is uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in the Internet of Things (IoT), more so than any other significant platform shift of the past 20 years.
A: The Midwest is the core of the nation’s manufacturing base, which is making a come-back. The efforts of organizations like UILabs DMDII are based on the belief that digital technologies will minimize the cost discrepancy versus countries with cheap labor costs. IoT will require manufacturing prowess to build the devices that are necessary to enable this shift. Chicago, and the Illinois as a whole, also has an active consumer base in the industrial, healthcare, retail, automotive and agricultural industries, all of which have been working in M2M (machine-to-machine) technology, the precursor to the Internet of Things, for many years. As we implement IoT, much of the early adoption will be launched by Illinois companies. Caterpillar, for example, is an early leader in this space.
Q: What benefits will that industry provide to the state?
A: As mentioned above, we think that IoT can help keep manufacturing (and other industries) here by helping to reduce cost and improve productivity, leading to job growth and protection.
Q: What will you do to support that emerging industry?
A: Several years ago, the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) launched a first-of-its-kind cross-disciplinary effort to bring together leaders from the technology industry and academia, as well as consumers and civic leaders to collaborate towards driving the growth and use of Internet of Things technologies. The result of this effort was the creation of the Midwest IoT Council. Our goal is to drive the advancement of IoT technology, policy and industry, establishing Chicago and the Midwest as an epicenter of IoT. We have been working toward this goal with several key projects, including the development of the Midwest IoT Inventory and by orchestrating the largest IoT conference in the Midwest each fall, the Chicago IoT Summit.