A Look Back: Dreamforce 2017

Last week was a big one for the Xively team – it was our 5th year at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual customer event.  We’ve become a staple in the IoT section of the event and every year attendees are eager to see what we’re up to.  This year, we brought customers including Sowee, Traeger Grills and Freight Farms with us to showcase real-world examples of how Xively and Salesforce IoT work beautifully together.

For a few moments throughout the week, I was able to step away from our booth and take-in everything Dreamforce had to offer.  They billed it as the “the most informative, innovative, and dynamic event yet” and they weren’t exaggerating.   The energy was tangible throughout the many exhibition halls, keynotes and breakout sessions, attendees were excited about what they were hearing and conversations were engaging.  As I walked around the floors and engaged in conversations with attendees, three trends surfaced that indicate not only the status of IoT for businesses today, but also where we’re headed:

  1. IoT connectivity is no longer challenging, and people know it – IoT technology adoption has reached a point where the technology itself is commonplace. With sessions titled “Build your first IoT project in 20 minutes”, and the kids hackathon area where they were playing with IoT-connected products, the connectivity aspect is no longer a challenge. Now people are excited about the intelligence and automation that can be built on the data produced by connected products.  We’ve been preaching about this for a while and seeing it as the main theme across the event signals a new level of IoT understanding.
  2. We’re squarely in the phase of rebuilding, re-platforming, and revamping – And that makes perfect sense.  Early adoption is behind us. Over the last 5 years, many companies put R&D dollars toward exploring IoT connectivity for their products. For those who achieved traction, they are now being faced with daunting tasks related to scaling and supporting their business, and feeling the pain of their home-grown solutions. In conversations we had about Xively and its capabilities, attendees were excited.  They would say (with a sigh), “that’s great. Because I built that from scratch…” We heard it more times than we could count.
  3. For those are waiting to jump in, real-world IoT-connected products bring unparalleled confidence – Dreamforce showed attendees so many real-world examples of companies who are finding success with IoT connected products, so it’s becoming even easier for companies to envision how the IoT can work for them too. In our standing-room-only theater session, attendees were captivated as they heard about the successes of Freight Farms and Traeger Grills, and how connected product data has transformed those businesses. One of the questions asked was ‘is your marketing team using connected product data, and how?’ and we heard how both Traeger and Freight Farms are using data to have better, more relevant customer communications. It’s so exciting to me to hear that question asked, because it indicates how companies understand that IoT is much more than just enabling remote control via a mobile app. And that it can truly transform a business, across all functions.

This year we saw the IoT move forward in leaps and bounds.  Based on the excitement we saw, I anticipate there will be even more IoT connected success stories on site next year.  We already can’t wait.

See you next year, Trailblazers.

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