In 2015, IEEE Young Professionals introduced the Signature Events Model to create a global networking experience at different IEEE Conferences. As a part of this, IEEE Young Professionals in Region 10 set out to organize an IEEE HardTech summit inline with the largest IEEE Conference in Region 10 – IEEE TENCON (The flagship conference of IEEE Region 10). What started off as a small idea resulted in a full fledged summit of sessions, demos and exhibits with a participation of 150+ attendees from across the Asia Pacific region.
In the current technology avenue where software technology startups often take up most of the limelight, IEEE Young Professionals in Region 10 came together to give hardware technology entrepreneurs, leaders, makers, researchers and enthusiasts from across Asia Pacific region, a common platform, and hosted their inaugural edition of the IEEE HardTech Summit. Held in the upcoming hardware startup hub of Asia – Singapore, the summit provided a unique opportunity for its attendees to obtain a firsthand view on the new hardware technology products being developed, to share insights from their product development journeys and discuss investor expectations when pitching hardware technology ideas. Hosted with support of the Smart Nation initiative of Singapore, the summit attracted a host of enthusiastic sponsors and partners – Rolls Royce, Indiegogo, Ruvento Ventures to name a few. The initiative was also widely supported by various IEEE societies such as IEEE Power & Energy Society, Communications Society, Industry Applications Society, EPICS in IEEE & IEEE ITSS.
The opening plenary session, which happens to be the one of the exciting sessions at the summit was that of Mr. Han Boon Siew, leader and developer of the A*STAR Driverless Vehicle Program. He captured the enthusiasm of the audience from the moment he arrived to the venue with his driverless vehicle. His talk gave an insight to the technological aspects of the vehicle development as well as reflected on the opportunities and challenges that surrounded materializing his vision of creating a driverless world. Another interesting session was that of Aisa Mijeno, Co-Founder and CEO of SALt – a product venture that fundamentally looks at sustainable alternative lighting. Her product received global attention after she was invited by President Barack Obama to a panel discussion with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Jack Ma at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila in 2015.
The summit also witnessed a panel discussion where panelists Alejandro Alonso – CTO of Infinium Robotics, Kelvin Ong – CEO of Focustech Ventures and Alexa Zotova – Principal of Ruvento Ventures tackled questions on the different hardware technology opportunities and challenges, moderated by Mohan Belani – CEO at e27.
Apart from the speaker and panel sessions, the summit also featured a product showcase where young startups got an opportunity to pitch their hardware products to the audience. Products featured in this segment included SmartEgg- a universal remote control device created by AICO technologies, TinyMOS- the world’s smallest astronomical camera and Rero – a reconfigurable robotics construction kit developed by Cytron technologies . They also exhibited their products for feedback which further lead to a healthy interaction with the participants.
In a nutshell , the IEEE HardTech Summit brought the latest technologies under its banner, and accelerated the knowledge exchange among the masses, which was well appreciated by all the sponsors, partners, speakers, attendees and volunteers who were associated with this event as well as the rest of the IEEE community. Several partners have already shown interest in being a part of the future editions of the summit.
The expectations for the future editions of the HardTech Summit are high and we definitely would wish to ramp up the level with more speakers, sessions, partners and participants. We would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to Nanyang Technological University’s Graduate Student Council and World of Wisdom along with IEEE Singapore Young Professionals for hosting this massive initiative with their active support. We would also like to thank all the partners, sponsors, fantastic volunteers, participants and the IEEE fraternity for trusting us with the initiative and providing us with their support.
Article contributed Nivas Ravichandran, R10 IEEE Young Professionals Chair