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The best mobile and IoT conferences of 2020

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John P. Mello Jr., Freelance writer

The most life-changing products to come out over the next few years will almost certainly center on mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT), and voice-control technology. Attending these conferences could help you find the inspiration to create those transformative products, and give you the knowledge you'll need to build the future's most exciting and useful inventions.

Here is TechBeacon's shortlist of the most popular mobile and IoT conferences in 2020.

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January

CES

Twitter: @CES
Web: ces.tech
Date: January 7-10
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Cost: $100 to $1,400 (time-sensitive discounts available)

This legendary, massive consumer electronics conference and expo had some 4,400 exhibitors and 182,000 attendees in 2019. It covers a wide range of topics, including mobile- and IoT-related sessions about security, digital entertainment, e-commerce, gaming, robotics, storage, education technology, and mobile apps.

Who should attend: Anyone interested in the latest and greatest consumer electronics

February

IoT Evolution Expo

Twitter: @IoTEvolution / #IoTEvolution
Web: iotevolutionexpo.com
Date: February 11-14
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
Cost: $1,395 to $3,495 (time-sensitive discounts available)

IoT Evolution Expo focuses on how IoT can drive business transformation in all industries through improved operational efficiencies, revenue opportunities, and solutions to problems. It features sessions, an exhibit floor, case studies, special events, networking opportunities, and a number of colocated events, including the Connected Real Estate Summit, Intelligent Edge Expo, and the Smart City Event.

Who should attend: Developers, IT executives, business executives, device manufacturers, transportation companies, supply chain and logistics professionals, sensor and embedded system experts, and systems integrators

DeveloperWeek

Twitter: @DeveloperWeek, #DEVWEEK2020
Web: developerweek.com
Date: February 12-16
Location: Oakland and San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: $795 to $1,595 (time-sensitive discounts available)

DeveloperWeek is a series of conferences held in the United States for developers and technology managers. In addition to the Oakland/San Francisco forum, events are scheduled for Seattle, Washington; New York, New York; and Austin, Texas. The Oakland event, which attracts more than 8,000 attendees from over 70 countries, includes a hackathon, a tech hiring expo, and a series of workshops, open houses, drink-ups, and city-wide events across San Francisco.

Who should attend: Developers, entrepreneurs, engineers, software architects, dev teams, executives, and venture capitalists

Bosch ConnectedWorld 2020

Twitter: @BoschSI / #BCW20
Web: bosch-connected-world.com
Date: February 19-20
Location: Berlin, Germany
Cost: €350 to €1,600 (corporate, student, and start-up discounts available)

This large conference about IoT and digital transformation embraces a range of topics, from AI and data monetization to enabling technologies and cultural change. Event organizers expect some 5,000 attendees from a variety of industries. Running with BCW, from February 17 to 19, is the Bosch ConnectedExperience, a hackathon for back-end and front-end developers, product owners, product managers, UX experts, and innovators from Bosch customers, partners, and startups.

Who should attend: Executives, decision makers, digital transformers, innovators, developers, entrepreneurs, and IoT enthusiasts

Mobile World Congress

Twitter: @GSMA / #MWC20
Web: mobileworldcongress.com
Date: February 24-27
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Cost: €799 to €4,999

Described as a gathering for the entire mobile industry, the MWC is owned by GSMA, an industry group made up of 800 mobile operators and 300 mobile ecosystem companies. It's a big conference, with more than 107,000 attendees from 208 countries and more than 2,400 exhibitors. Many smartphone and mobile device launches occur at the event.

Who should attend: App developers, operators, equipment vendors, and financial, marketing, and entertainment industry professionals

Embedded World Exhibition and Conference

Twitter: @embedded_world / #ew20
Web: embedded-world.eu/home.html
Date: February 25-27
Location: Nuremberg, Germany
Cost: Conference, €350 to €980; classes, €415 to €2,350 (time-sensitive discounts available for both conference and classes)

The Embedded World Conference is meant for developers and designers of embedded systems. Organizers say it is Europe's biggest conference devoted to embedded systems development. It addresses all major topics in this sector and features papers and classes, with a focus on concrete solutions.

Who should attend: Developers and designers of embedded systems

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March

DroidCon

Twitter: @droidcon / #droidcon
Web: droidcon.com
Date: March-October
Location: Global
Cost: Varies

DroidCon is a global conference series focused on the Android developer ecosystem. In 2020 conferences will be held in Islamabad, Pakistan; Turin, Italy; Berlin, Germany; New York, New York; and London, United Kingdom.

Who should attend: Android developers and engineers

Industry of Things World USA

Twitter: @IoTClan / #IoTClan
Web: industryofthingsworldusa.com
Date: March 12-13
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Cost: $2,295 to $2,595 (team discounts available)

Organizers call this conference "the leading Industrial IoT event in the USA." The event focuses on the impact of industrial IoT on current business models and production processes across all major industries. It includes topics such as automation, machine-to-machine communication, interoperability, analytics, and new business models.

Part of the Industry of Things World global event series, this conference has become the meeting point for senior executives who want to learn more about the industrial Internet. Sister conferences are scheduled for Singapore (July 20-21) and Berlin, Germany (September 21-22).

Who should attend: IoT specialists and strategists, IoT novices, cloud computing adopters, big data analytics experts, and anyone else involved in a business's digital transformation

SXSW (South by Southwest)

Twitter: @sxsw / #SXSW
Web: sxsw.com
Date: March 13-22
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Cost: $1,145 to $1,725 (time-sensitive, group, and student discounts available)

While music and film are key elements of SXSW, the event also has a strong technology component. Tech topics include startup briefings, blockchain, health IT, artificial intelligence, IoT, virtual reality, augmented reality, smart cities, digital media, software design and development, open source, mobile design, and user experience.

Who should attend: Developers, company founders, and embedded developers

IOT Device Security Conference

Twitter: @embedded_comp
Web: iotdevicesecurityconference.com
Date: March 26
Location: Santa Clara, California, USA
Cost (2018): $195

Embedded Computer Design and Extension are partnering to stage this conference, which will focus on securing all aspects of industrial platforms, from the edge to the cloud, using techniques such as AI and machine learning.

Who should attend: Design engineers, system developers, programmers, engineering managers and directors, and C-level executives

April

Codemobile

Twitter: @Codemobileuk
Web: codemobile.co.uk
Date: April 28-29
Location: London, United Kingdom
Cost: £350 to £550, plus VAT; workshops, £175 to £275 (time-sensitive and student discounts available)

This conference is organized by developers for developers. This year, 25 in-depth technical talks are planned. They'll be focusing on Swift, Kotlin, Java, accessibility, tools, UI/UX, testing, automation, TDD/BDD, APIs, frameworks, standards, and techniques.

Who should attend: iOS and Android developers

May

Google I/O

Twitter: @googledevs
Web: events.google.com/io
Date (2019): May
Location (2019): Mountain View, California, USA
Cost (2019): $1,150; community, $750; academic, $375

First held in 2008, Google I/O, has become one of the most important developer conferences in the world. Like Apple’s WWDC, Google I/O isn't strictly about mobile, but the event is heavily focused on Android and its ecosystem.

The conference also covers developer tools and APIs for other Google products, services, and platforms, including its enterprise cloud platform, consumer online services such as Google Play, products for publishers and advertisers such as AdSense and Analytics, consumer devices such as the Cardboard virtual reality headset, and even some of the company's "moonshot" projects.

Who should attend: Developers working with Android or with the growing variety of Google web services, mobile apps, and hardware

AppBuilders

Twitter: @appbuilders_ch
Web: appbuilders.ch
Date: May 11-12​​​​​​​
Location: Lugano, Switzerland​​​​​​​
Cost: CHF360 to CHF460 (time-sensitive discounts available)

AppBuilders is a mobile technology conference with sessions for both iOS and Android developers. The conference has had speakers from high-profile companies, including Spotify, Lyft, and Google.

Who should attend: iOS and Android developers

Internet of Things Applications

Twitter: @IDTechEx
Web: idtechex.com/internet-of-things-europe/show/en/
Date: May 13-14​​​​​​​
Location: Berlin, Germany
CostConference and expo, €395 to €941.50 (academic discount available); master classes, €419.30 each; conference, expo, classes packages, €1,358 to €2,131.50

Internet of Things Applications is colocated with six conferences covering electric vehicles, energy storage, graphene, printed electronics, sensors, and wearable technology. A ticket to any conference grants attendees access to the others.

This event addresses real business opportunities for IoT. Business models, case studies, opportunities, and profitability are all covered. Topics at the conference sessions include autonomous and connected cars, smart packaging, biosensors, biometric identification, wearables in healthcare, and worker monitoring.

Who should attend: IoT developers, IT pros, and CxOs

Microsoft Build

Twitter: #MSBuild
Web: microsoft.com/en-us/build
Date: May 19-21​​​​​​​
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Cost (2019): $2,500

Build is a massive conference for developers building apps for Windows, Office 365, Edge/IE, SQL Server, Azure, Xbox, and HoloLens. Build is now also relevant for Android, iOS, and open-source developers, too, thanks to CEO Satya Nadella's push for Microsoft to be more platform-agnostic and its distancing of itself from its old Windows-only strategy. Microsoft uses the conference to make important announcements for its ecosystem.

Who should attend: Windows and other developers, SQL Server DBAs, Azure admins, IT admins, and managers

WeAreDevelopers World Congress

Twitter: @WeAreDevs
Web: earedevelopers.com/events/world-congress
Date: May 28-29​​​​​​​
Location: Berlin, Germany​​​​​​​
Cost: €129 to €799 (time-sensitive discounts available)

This mammoth event has been described as the World Mobile Congress for developers. It's attended by more than 10,000 people, and has over 250 speakers and over 80 workshops. Past headliners have included Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, PHP inventor Rasmus Lerdorf, and the designer of Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein, John Romero. A sister event will be held in December in Vienna, Austria.

Who should attend: Developers

June

Apple World Wide Developers Conference

Twitter: #WWDC20
Web: developer.apple.com/wwdc
Date: June
Location: San Jose, California, USA
Cost (2019): $1,599

This event is Apple's biggest developer conference, so it attracts major attention from the press, industry analysts, Apple customers, and macOS/iOS developers. Although it's not exclusively mobile-focused, mobile dominates the proceedings. New versions of Xcode, App Store services, and iOS are typically announced.

Who should attend: iOS and macOS developers

AltConf

Twitter: @AltConference
Web: altconf.com
Date (2019): June
Location (2019): San Jose, California, USA​​​​​​​
Cost (2019): $360 for those who can afford it; otherwise free

Billed as the alternative Apple developer conference, AltConf is a community-driven event, assembled to serve developers and a product-driven community alongside Apple's WWDC. Although most of the presentations are focused on Apple's ecosystem, other topics include design, business, marketing, and team management.

Who should attend: iOS and macOS developers

Sensors Expo & Conference

Twitter: @SensorsExpo / #Sensors20
Web: sensorsexpo.com
Date: June 22-24
Location: San Jose, California, USA​​​​​​​
Cost: $1,199 to $2,499 (time-sensitive discounts available)

For more than 30 years, the Sensors Expo & Conference has focused exclusively on current and upcoming sensors and sensor-integrated systems. It remains the top conference for learning about sensors from industry experts. This year's event is co-located with the Embedded Technologies Expo and Conference, Autonomous Vehicle Sensors Conference, and IoT Implementation Forum.

Who should attend: Software engineers, scientists, researchers, academics, investors, and corporate buyers

August

360 iDev

Twitter: @360iDev / #360iDev
Web: 360idev.com
Date: August 16-19​​​​​​​
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA​​​​​​​
Cost: $500 to $749 (time-sensitive discounts available)

360 iDev positions itself as the smaller, more intimate, independent alternative to Apple's WWDC. Typically, around 400 people attend the event, which includes roughly 50 sessions and 40 speakers. It's the largest, longest-running independent iOS/Mac conference in the world, so it attracts some of the best and brightest in the industry as both speakers and attendees.

Who should attend: iOS and macOS developers

September

IoT Exchange Smart Cities Summit

Twitter: @nGage_IoT
Web: iotsmartcitiessummit.com
Date (2019): September​​​​​​​
Location (2019): La Jolla, California, USA​​​​​​​
Cost: Invitation-only; contact organizers for information

IoT Exchange brings together thought leaders, technology decision makers, and vendors to explore, learn, and exchange best-in-class ideas, technology, and solutions, as well as solve real issues around smart cities and smart campuses.

Core tech topics at the event include security and surveillance systems, access control, IoT security, sensor systems and networks, intelligent building management and control, open data, data analytics, data storage, anomaly detection, event-driven software, and predictive maintenance and analytics.

Who should attend: City or municipal planners; urban planners; sustainability managers; state and city CIOs/CTOs/IT directors; smart city and innovation leaders; department heads who manage tech and infrastructure in cities; college and university tech executives, directors, and CIOs/CTOs; and others in the city/muni space who are decision makers and influencers in smart city projects

October

IoT Security Summit

Twitter: #iotsecuritysummit
Web: tmt.knect365.com/iot-security
Date: October 5-6​​​​​​​
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA​​​​​​​
Cost (2019): $895 to $2,295

This conference is organized by Informa, an international events, intelligence, and scholarly research group. Among the topics discussed at the 2019 forum were creating best practices and protocols for flexible IoT security, utilizing machine learning to protect the IoT, and consumer IoT and the challenges of global security requirements. This event is colocated with two others: Industrial IoT World and the Smart Cities Summit.

Who should attend: Software and network engineers and architects, cybersecurity practitioners

Embedded Linux Conference

Twitter: @linuxfoundation, #lfelc
Web: events.linuxfoundation.org/events/elc-north-america-2019/
Date: June 22-24​​​​​​​
Location: Austin, Texas​​​​​​​
Cost (2019): $550 to $850 (time-sensitive, academic, and hobbyist discounts available)

This conference is sponsored by the Linux Foundation. Organizers describe this event as a vendor-neutral technical conference where more than 800 developers working on embedded Linux and industrial IoT products and deployments gather for education and to collaborate. In the last few years, the conference has expanded its scope to include both the user space for developers building applications on embedded Linux, as well as the architects and developers working to deliver smart connected products and industrial IoT solutions.

Who should attend: Kernel developers and system developers, user space developers, product vendors, system architects, firmware developers, software developers, and application developers

November

Open Mobile & Digital Experience Summit

Twitter: @Incite_Group / #omssf
Web: events.incite-group.com
Date: November
Location (2019): San Francisco, California, USA
Cost (2019): Executive pass, $2,395 to $3,095; standard, $2,195 to $2,895; economy, $1,995 to $2,645

This conference is aimed at digital product and marketing officers from America's most powerful and innovative brands. More than 300 brands gather at this forum annually to debate and design the strategies geared toward delivering long-term digital customer acquisition, retention, and growth. The speaker lineup includes executives from Macy's, Mastercard, Mozilla, Hilton, and Walmart.

Who should attend: Chief digital, product, and marketing officers

There you have it: The best mobile and IoT conferences of 2020, month by month. Review the options and make your choices soon: Prices may vary based on how early you register. And remember that hotel and travel costs are generally separate from the conference pricing.

We listed all conferences, although not all dates, locations, and pricing were available at publication time—especially for events taking place later in the year. In those cases, we have provided historical information on the event to give you an idea of what to expect and what you'll get out of attending. Keep checking back. We'll update this guide as more information becomes available.

Which are your favorite conferences and why? Post your comments below, and let us know if there are any other relevant events or conferences we missed.

Image courtesy of DroidCon.

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