Want to be at the heart of Glasgow’s IoT ecosystem?

IoT Glasgow meetups at the Tontine are a good place to start and make business and research connections, explains Dr Stephen Milne, Business Development Manager at CENSIS, the Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems and IoT.

Meetups are the ‘secret weapon for your career’, according to HuffPost, a great way to open up opportunities and expand your networks.

At CENSIS we agree with this. We also think they’re a secret weapon for supporting entrepreneurial activity and business growth. Which is why we organise the IoT Glasgow Meetups.

From the First Industrial Revolution to the Fourth

As usual, Meetup #11 was held at Tontine in Glasgow’s Merchant City. If you’ve not been there, it’s an accelerator hub for businesses in the technology, advanced design and manufacturing and creative economy sectors.

The building once housed the workshop of James Watt, inventor of the Watt steam engine (among other things). So a building that helped kick off the first Industrial Revolution is now fuelling the fourth Industrial Revolution.

As well as flexible workspace and meeting spaces, Tontine offers a bespoke accelerator programme and dedicated support, so it has a really good fit for the people who come to our meetups. It’s also a cool space – very Google-inspired with its industrial design, restored original fireplaces and a very photogenic video wall.

“As part of what we do at Tontine, we host meetups that provide knowledge, networking and additional support to our businesses and offer the wider business community a chance to see what’s happening here at Tontine.

“CENSIS IoT meetups are dynamic and welcoming and give businesses great access to the latest IoT information, industry leaders and innovators,” explains Pauline Wallace, Development Officer at Glasgow City Council. “I can recommend them.”

What you’ll get from IoT Glasgow

HuffPost thought too few people realised the business potential of meetups, but we’d take issue – in our own case, anyway. The IoT Glasgow meetup is the second most popular meetup in Glasgow, according to the 2018 TechNation Report, and now has over 1,300 members.

Our 10 meetups to date have certainly helped a few people with their career paths and have forged a number of new working relationships around IoT and M2M. We’ve had about 25 companies present on various aspects of IoT, as well as many ‘lightning talks’ about events or initiatives people are looking to share.

Most meetings see a really broad range of people come along. Sponsors have included high-profile names like Stream Technologies (now ARM), and the attendees include people running companies or working in tech, researchers, and a few students. Unlike the stereotype of tech meetups, it’s a diverse mix, with all ages and career stages.

In our experience so far, one of the really important ways the IoT Glasgow meetups generate activity is by getting people to share their stories around the products and services they’re developing. This, in turn, fuels other people’s ambitions to get out there with their own ideas.

So, whilst one of the myths about meetups is that they're all about chat and pizza, Glasgow IoT is far from that. It’s about helping people move forward from the chat and ideas stage to the business stage – through connections, advice, shared ambitions, and a sense of “We should actually do this. And here are people who’ll help it happen.”

Dr Stephen Milne