First International Internet of Things Conference to Be Held in Zurich

By Mark Roberti

Leading researchers from academia and industry will gather in Switzerland in March to report on and discuss the emerging Internet of Things.


ETH Zurich, the Auto-ID Labs at the University of St. Gallen, in Switzerland, and MIT, in Boston, are organizing Internet of Things 2008 (IOT 2008), to be held March 26 to 28. The international conference, the first of its kind, will bring together researchers, industry experts and early adopters from around the world to share of applications, research results and experiences.

“We have organized this conference to render more precisely the term ‘Internet of Things’ and to discuss the business opportunities and technical requirements necessary to make this vision happen,” says Elgar Fleisch, professor at ETH Zurich and the University of St. Gallen, cochair of the Auto-ID Labs, and cochair of IOT 2008.

The conference will explore how to take the Internet to the next stage in its evolution: the integration of real-world objects into its virtual fabric—in a sense, making physical objects sensory input devices for computers.

“Connecting large numbers of real-world objects to the Internet and providing adequate infrastructures that enable smart objects to cooperate and to communicate with background services is a real challenge,” says Friedemann Mattern, professor at ETH Zurich and cochair of IOT 2008. “One of the goals of the conference is to study emerging concepts and technologies that address this challenge.”

Speakers will address such topics as emerging Internet of Things business models and process changes, communication systems and network architecture; embedding sensing and actuation into networked things; existing Internet of Things deployments; and security and privacy aspects of Internet of Things infrastructures and applications.

The conference will take place in Zurich, the hometown of ETH Zurich, one of the world’s leading technology research hubs, where important work in the area of the Internet of Things has been conducted for the past several years.

“This innovative environment with close ties to research provides excellent opportunities for companies such as SAP to play a major role in the creation and advancement of future Internet of Things technologies and applications,” says Ulrich Eisert, director of the SAP Research Lab in Zurich, which is a platinum sponsor of the conference.

Keynote speakers include Gerd Wolfram from of MGI Metro Group Information Technology, Peter Zencke from SAP, Bob Ianucci from Nokia, and Haruhisa Ichikawa, a professor at the University of Electro-Communications, in Tokyo. They will offer their visions for the future Internet of Things, while researchers and industrial experts discuss the immense potential for both consumers and businesses. In a separate industrial track, practitioners will report on the latest real-world implementations, applications and experiences.

“Almost 100 paper submissions from Europe, the United States and Asia show that there is a demand for a forum discussing applications, business models and infrastructures that really go beyond RFID technology,” says Marc Langheinrich, an ETH Zurich researcher who cochairs the scientific program committee of IOT 2008 together with fellow ETH Zurich researcher Christian Floerkemeier.

RELATED ARTICLES The 57 program committee members from both industry and academia selected 23 scientific research papers for presentation at the conference, based on almost 350 detailed reviews and more than 300 individual discussion items. The very low acceptance rate—25 percent—demonstrates the scientific rigor and high quality of the selection process, according to Floerkemeier.

In addition to the main conference, two additional half-day tutorials will offer hands-on experiences from experts on two of the core technologies in the Internet of Things: sensor networks and RFID. To help bridge the gap between venture capital and promising young entrepreneurs, IOT 2008 will also host a special event for Internet of Things startups.