10 pioneering leaders helping to build a world of IoT

8 Dec 2015

Diving headfirst into emerging technologies, these 10 leaders will not be left behind in the next digital revolution. In fact, they are already leading the charge.

Ireland's Sci-Tech 100

Joining an esteemed list of sci-tech influencers in and from Ireland, these next additions are all influencers in the internet of things (IoT), an emerging space in technology considered to be as significant as the dawn of the internet.

Hyperbolic as that may be, the vast potential of connected devices is the kind of stuff that inspires hype, and those already getting their hands dirty are laying the foundations of what is to come.

For something with such broad reach, we have a wide-spanning selection of leaders. Some are researching and developing the communications and infrastructure required for a world filled with connected devices, some are building the smart devices and wearable technology that are transforming industry and agriculture, and others are bringing IoT to the masses with smart home technology.

1. Ciaran Connell

Ciaran Connell, CEO, DecaWave

Ciaran Connell, CEO, DecaWave

With over three decades’ experience in the communications and semiconductor industry, Ciaran Connell is CEO of a company that has now secured $30m in total funding, following a successful $4.5m round in the summer.

DecaWave is an IoT company making huge strides in the area of chip-making.

Having graduated from UCD with a BSc in electronic engineering, Connell has announced a series of developments and business partnerships in recent months as his company continues to drive key innovations in the nascent IoT industry.

2. Martin Cotter

Martin Cotter, Analog Devices

Martin Cotter, VP of healthcare, consumer and IoT, Analog Devices

With operations in the US and Limerick, semiconductor producer Analog Devices has Martin Cotter as one of its key figures, with responsibility for its communications infrastructure business.

Of particular interest in recent years for Cotter – who has been with Analog Devices for more than 30 years – has been the importance of seeing improvement of the mobile telecoms network worldwide to facilitate the company’s high-performance converter and RF technologies, in which he has been heavily involved.

Speaking earlier this year, Cotter said of his and the company’s intentions: “Our vision in this IoT era is to help companies harness the power of the data generated from sensors in smart, connected products.”

3. Gaia Dempsey

Gaia Dempsey, co-founder and MD, Daqri

Gaia Dempsey, co-founder and MD, Daqri. Photo via Conor McCabe Photography

Gaia Dempsey is a creative strategist and a pioneer in the field of augmented reality (AR). As the co-founder and managing director of AR company Daqri International, she has driven the adoption of Daqri’s enterprise 4D technology worldwide.

Daqri, which has its headquarters in California, opened its European headquarters in Dublin during the summer, creating 30 new jobs. Dempsey said at the time that Ireland was “highly regarded as a country for excellence in innovation and technology”.

Also this summer, Dempsey spoke at Inspirefest, where she talked about the new opportunities opened up by Daqri’s Smart Helmet, an AR headset that has been built for industrial work.

4. Willie Donnelly

Willie Donnelly, WIT president and founder of TSSG

Willie Donnelly, WIT president and founder of TSSG

Prof Willie Donnelly is the president of Waterford Insititute of Technology (WIT) as well as the chair and founder of globally-renowned research centre Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG).

Founded in 1996, TSSG has grown from three to 120 people and received more than €80m in competitive funding. At the helm, Donnelly has helped position TSSG as one of Europe’s leading ICT research centres and has led more than 30 pan-European projects working with key international industry players.

Donnelly and TSSG are currently focused on smart agriculture, and he believes Ireland could be a world leader in this area.

5. Linda Doyle

Linda Doyle, director, Connect.

Linda Doyle, director, Connect. Photo via Conor McCabe Photography

A professor in the electronic and electrical engineering department at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Prof Linda Doyle is also director of Connect (formerly CTVR), a centre dedicated to telecommunications research, development and innovation.

Doyle’s main areas of research are wireless communications, reconfigurable networks, cognitive radio and spectrum management, though the scope of CONNECT is broader even than that. The centre addresses key challenges facing society through new forms of networked services, including mobile internet, connected health, smart agriculture, and smart grids and metering.

Doyle herself is fascinated by the intersection of technology and art, and – as she spoke about during her Inspirefest 2015 keynote – applying the principles of that intersection to innovation in IoT. In that keynote, she discussed how IoT is already falling prey to the gender-based stereotypes the rest of the tech industry is beholden to, and discussed the ways in which early design intervention can head those stereotypes off at the pass.

6. Kieran Hannon

Kieran Hannon, CMO, Belkin

Kieran Hannon, CMO, Belkin

Kieran Hannon is the chief marketing officer of Belkin, one of the world’s most innovative companies when it comes to the internet of things and one of Ireland’s most seasoned executives in Silicon Valley with over 30 years’ experience.

A founding member of the Irish Technology Leadership Group, he sits on the technology advisory board of Enterprise Ireland.

Prior to joining Belkin, Hannon spent two decades building the best consumer experiences in the mobile, digital and retail sectors. He worked as vice-president of marketing for UBM/Canon, where he assisted with the integration of UBM’s acquisition of Canon Communications. He also served as vice-president of marketing for RadioShack Corporation.

7. David Moloney

David Moloney, CTO, Movidius

David Moloney, CTO, Movidius

David Moloney received a PhD from TCD in 2010 for his research into high-performance computer architectures, and he is now the inventor or co-inventor of 17 issued US patents, with additional patents pending.

CTO of Movidius, Moloney’s company make a really, really cool IoT device that, perhaps, you were unaware of. Movidius’ chip, lodged into phones, can basically measure the dimensions of a room, accurately. This means objects can be mapped, instantaneously, from anywhere in the room.

It’s no surprise, so, that Google are in on the science, and €38m was raised earlier this year.

8. Lauren Morris

Lauren Morris, M2M sales manager, Vodafone Global Enterprise

Lauren Morris, M2M sales manager, Vodafone Global Enterprise

Lauren Morris is M2M (machine-to-machine) sales manager at Vodafone Global Enterprise and is a driving force in the telecoms company’s march to the internet of things.

Vodafone has more than 17m M2M devices active in the world today, including 200,000 active in Ireland. Morris has helped foster Vodafone’s IoT infrastructure in Ireland, including the joint Vodafone and EMC €2m investment in a new IoT industrial test platform, which was unveiled in June.

Morris has over a decade’s experience in the ICT sector, including previous roles with Dell, Softech and Exchequer Software.

9. Philip Moynagh

Philip Moynagh, VP of IoT, Intel

Philip Moynagh, VP of IoT, Intel. Photo via Conor McCabe Photography

Philip Moynagh has been working at Intel for more than 10 years and, in the most recent of those years, Intel’s scope has been redefined, moving from laptops and phones to something new and exciting: the internet of things. The success of that move is down in no small part to Moynagh, VP of the chipmaker’s IoT division.

With Moynagh calling the shots, Intel’s IoT group has gone from strength to strength, even taking part in this year’s New York Fashion Week.

Meanwhile, Intel is set on making Dublin the world’s first internet of things city and, in June of this year, the Irish capital was announced as the location for the latest Intel IoT Innovation and Development Ignition Lab.

10. Dirk Pesch

Dirk Pesch, head of the Nimbus Centre, CIT

Dirk Pesch, head of the Nimbus Centre, CIT

Now in his sixth year as the head of the Nimbus Centre for Embedded Systems Research in Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Dr Dirk Pesch has been leading the centre over the crest of a wave of technology developed there in relation to IoT.

Under his tenure, the research centre has expanded its research facilities and co-operation with industries hungry to work with the latest IoT technologies that could contribute to future smart cities.

“We’ve put in a test-bed infrastructure that allows us and our partners in academia and industry to take their research prototypes beyond the lab and into the target environment with real-world infrastructure,” Pesch said to Siliconrepublic.com about the scale of work he and the centre are doing.

Building block image via Shutterstock