Student-organized conference on March 20 highlights smart home tech

An upcoming free, one-day conference on emerging technologies will focus on smart home technologies and feature talks by top officials from Amazon, Google Nest and Peloton, among others.

Emerge 2021: Home Smart Home is Saturday, March 20, on Zoom. The conference is hosted annually by the Vanderbilt University’s Women in Computing student organization.

The event, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Register at EMERGE.

In the last 12 months, millions of people turned areas of their homes into offices, classrooms, gyms, meeting rooms, yoga studios, game centers and spas.

“With the way times have changed during this pandemic, people are spending more time at home than ever, and the impact of technology within the home is more apparent than ever,” said Ryan Weiss, a computer science senior and Emerge director of marketing. “Smart home tech is a topic that is applicable, relatable and interesting for everyone, no matter their educational background.”

The schedule is as follows:

    • 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Keynote with David Limp, Senior VP at Amazon Devices & Services and School of Engineering Board of Visitors member
    • 12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Talk with Natalie Elliott, VP of Marketing Strategy at ecobee, a smart home device and service company
    • 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Human-Centered Design Workshop with Jenn Gamble, Data Science Practice Lead at Very Possible, which develops Internet of Things hardware, software and products
    • 2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Talk with Rachel Been, Design Lead at Google Nest
    • 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Keynote with Yony Feng, CTO & Co-Founder at Peloton

Attendees also will be able to connect and network with these industry leaders during a dedicated networking session after the final keynote. Student attendees can take advantage of a “resume drop” to corporate by uploading their resumes during registration. Swag will be available Saturday for pickup on campus; the event also includes prizes and giveaways.

“A main goal of Emerge is to be a conference that welcomes in and appeals to everyone, and smart home tech lends itself to being a topic for engineering-focused students with more technical keynotes, as well as others, with more business-oriented talks or general keynotes, such as addressing privacy concerns,” Weiss said.

Emerge brings together students, educators, entrepreneurs and the larger community to learn more about emerging technologies. Past conferences have focused on virtual reality, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.