Orlando IoT 2017 Goals

Wow, 2016 has been a blur! The Orlando IoT Meetup has grown from 532 at the start of 2016 to now over 844 members. Welcome, all three hundred and twelve new members! We’ve had a meetup every single month since April, when I started co-organizing the meetup. We went to the Orlando Maker Faire. We’ve had a co-organized meetup with the Wearable Tech Meetup. We have started a Facebook group for Orlando IoT (which you should totally join). There’s now a YouTube channel where videos from all future presentations will live. And now, this website that you are reading this on is yet another seed planted to help spread IoT knowledge.

These accomplishments for Orlando IoT look good on paper. But what is Orlando IoT, though? It’s just a shell that cannot exist without supportive and enthusiastic members such as yourself. It’s a vehicle that is used as a tool to support those within the group. I can only call what we’ve accomplished this year a success if you were inspired, if you learned something, and if you made meaningful friends and connections in this community.

So, with that, let me say that whatever comes in 2017 for Orlando IoT will only happen with your continued fervent support. To that end, if what I’ve written below totally sounds like the wrong direction for our group, let me know. If you have ideas for presentations, workshops, events, lock-ins, fun runs, or whatever else you think will help build the community, let me know. Believe it or not, if you’ve been to one meetup this year, or created one IoT project, or even bought one IoT device, you are part of this community and I want your input.

So, here goes, the goals for Orlando IoT in 2017. Some of these are ambitious, but I’m ready for a year of a lot of hard work, dedication, and a ton of fun as well.

2,000 Members!

This will not and cannot happen without your help. Tell your friends, colleagues, and the Starbucks barista about Orlando IoT.

Why? The more people who know and are interested in the Internet of Things from a consumer perspective AND from a creator perspective, the better off we all will be. Have you ever thought “I really wish I knew someone who could help me with this?” That answer is in the community, and if our local community is bigger, the more people you’ll have to help. Simple math.

Sponsors!

I’m all about that sweet, sweet money. No, not really. So far I’ve been floating the expenses of the group on my own, but in order to grow the group and foster the community we’ll need some help in the coming year. What kinds of costs are associated with running a meetup? Food, drinks, Meetup.com Unlimited plan, this website’s hosting costs, swag, giveaways, contest prizes, that sort of thing.

However, it’s important to me to find the right sponsors. For example, businesses that are involved in IoT and will benefit from their name being well-known in the IoT community. If you know a business or entity like that who might be interested in sponsoring the group, send them my way! I would like to get three sponsors with a year-long commitment by March of next year.

Also, going hand-in-hand with this…

Non-Profit!

Let’s be transparent! I hate giving money away and never knowing what happens to it. Since the group needs sponsors to grow in a sustainable way, I’d like to make sure everyone knows where that money is going. There’s a lot of research I have to do, but in early 2017 I’d like to make Orlando IoT a bonafide non-profit.

Different Events!

Presentations are wonderful and I get a lot out of the various presenters that come to the meetup. However, I know that this is not the only type of learning and community building that people can benefit from. Therefore, in addition to the regular Orlando IoT monthly meetup, I’d like to have some out-of-band events that occur – workshops, etc. Also, I would love to have more contests and giveaways. Fun stuff!

Collaboration!

There are many entities in Orlando that could benefit from our collective knowledge, or from which we could benefit. Government entities, businesses, colleges, and other meetups are all ripe for generating meaningful collaborations. Let’s all brain-think and come up with how we could help other groups or they could help us.

Orlando IoT Website!

Is it a forum? Is it a local IoT news magazine? Will we take external contributors? I don’t know! I have the domain, but I’m open to what OrlandoIoT.com ultimately is. We’ll be building out the site as the community needs in 2017.

Help Wanted!

Do you want to help Orlando IoT grow? “Orlando IoT Community Manager” would be a snazzy thing to put on your next resume. The requirements are: you’re a self-starter, you like people and the Internet of Things, you know how to use a computer, and have about 2-5 hours a week free.

And you like coffee, because I’ll send you mad K-Cups every month if you help me out with this. In addition, trying to explain what an “Orlando IoT Community Manager” is to your relatives during the holidays might be worth it.

If you are interested in doing something like that, I seriously do need the help. Send me an email at jporcenaluk@gmail.com if you are interested.

Putting It In Action!

We’ve learned a lot this year. I know a lot of you want to build IoT projects. Right now, email me with ONE Internet of Things project you would like to do this year. Actually, what’s one project you would like to start now. Send an email to me, Jared Porcenaluk, at jporcenaluk@gmail.com with the words “I, [your name here], want to start [project] this week.” I’m dead serious, send me an email right now. I’ll reply with a bit of encouragement.

“Wow, isn’t that too soon?” you may say. No, it’s never too soon. Now is the time! The time is now!

In Conclusion

I believe in this group because I strongly know our future will be full of smart, automated things that help us all in ways we can barely imagine today. Someday we will walk by our umbrella and it will glow a cool blue if it’s raining outside, gently reminding us to pick it up. Someday we will tell a friend over the phone “I’ll meet you over there!” and our self-driving car will waft out of the garage to take us to our destination. Someday we will walk into the grocery store and walk out without waiting in line.

This, and many, many more examples are what can happen when our things talk to each other. Organizing Orlando IoT is a joy because I see this future so clearly, and I have a terrible want to make Orlando a hub of innovation in the this space. We have so many resources here: colleges like UCF and Valencia, we have Orlando Tech and Orlando Devs and all the other tech-centric meetups. We have Canvs and Catalyst and the other co-working spaces. We have all the pieces and we just need to put them together.

Orlando can help drive this future forward, and with your help, it will.

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