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CONNECTIONS™ Summit Speakers

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Amena Ali Amena Ali, Senior VP and General Manager, WeatherBug Home by Earth Networks
Twitter ID: @weatherbug

Amena leads WeatherBug Home, a unit of Earth Networks. In this role, Amena oversees business development, product offerings, go-to-market initiatives and strategic partnerships for WeatherBug Home. Amena joined the company in 2011 and previously served as CMO. Amena has more than 20 years' management experience with high-tech firms ranging in size from $10 million to $30 billion. Amena is passionate about game-changing technologies that delight and educate consumers while meeting partner and provider goals. She has deep experience in product marketing, brand management, partner and corporate marketing and business development. Previously, Amena held executive-level positions at EMC, MCI, and Bain & Company. She holds a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Yale University.

Avi Barel Avi Barel, Director Business Development, ULE Alliance

Avi has over 30 years of broad high tech experience, ranging from software development, semiconductor, engineering and business management. Avi joined the ULE Alliance in April 2013 as the Director of Business Development. Prior to ULE Alliance, worked 10 years at DSP Group, serving as Corporate Vice President of sales for 8 years. Before joining DSP Group established and managed Winbond subsidiary in Israel for 5 years, developing semiconductor products for speech processing and communication, managing team of 50+ engineers. At National Semiconductor held variety of engineering, engineering management and business management positions; involved in development and management of award winning, innovative projects. Avi holds M.Sc. degree in Computer Science and B.Sc. degree in Mathematics and Physics from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Bulent Celebi Bulent Celebi, Co-Founder and Chairman, AirTies Wireless Networks
Twitter ID: @BulentAirties

Bulent Celebi co-founded AirTies in 2004 with the vision of becoming the leader of wireless home media networking products that integrate free, purchased and personal content. After working as an engineer, Celebi joined National Semiconductor in Hong Kong as the Marketing Director for Asia. Later he returned to the US and became the driving force behind the technology that enabled multifunction printer/fax/scanner devices. Celebi played an active role in making his company the leader in the 10/100 Mbps Ethernet market. After National Semiconductor, Celebi served as Vice President & GM at Analog Devices running a successful $250 million division. Prior to founding AirTies, he served as the CEO of VC backed Ubicom, a network processor for WLAN applications. Celebi’s success in technical innovations resulted in his recognition as one of the “Top 10 Innovators” by the Red Herring Magazine, a reputable reference in the IT industry. Bulent Celebi attended the University of California, Berkeley and studied Electronics and Computer Engineering. He later attended the Stanford/AEA executive program.

Steve Christian Steve Christian, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Verimatrix

Steve Christian has a wealth of experience in the digital media and Internet technology space and is a speaker on media technology and business trends at industry events around the globe At Verimatrix he is responsible for product strategy, marketing programs and management of brand equity. Prior to joining Verimatrix Mr. Christian was VP Marketing at streaming media specialist Nine Systems and has also run his own "virtual VP" technology marketing consultancy, helping the growth of a variety of software, wireless and Internet security ventures. His background includes product and services management at Wind River, ST Microelectronics and Raytheon. Mr. Christian has a 1st class degree in Physics from the University of Bristol and an MBA from the Open University in the UK.

Rob Conant Rob Conant, CEO, Cirrent

Rob Conant, the CEO of Cirrent, has a long history in the Internet of Things and connected products. Rob was a pioneer in the Internet of Things as a co-founder of Dust Networks in 2002 where he ran sales and marketing for the company and set the product direction as the company enabled a new market for wireless connected products in the industrial markets. After Dust, Rob joined Trilliant to bring the benefit of connected products to the energy industry, where he delivered smart meters and energy management to millions of customers across the US, Europe, and Asia. Rob first ran the engineering team to ensure the company had market-leading products, then took the position of Chief Marketing Officer to drive the company’s growth. Rob’s deep technical background and business orientation (ran sales and marketing at multiple companies) gives him a unique perspective on the interactions between business models, technology, and consumers. Rob has a PhD in Electrical Engineering and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley.

Wynn Grubbs Wynn Grubbs, Senior Vice President, Business and Partner Development, PlumChoice

Wynn leads go-to-market strategy and implementation for PlumChoice, Inc., accelerating strategic execution to expand the company’s Specialized Technology Services leadership role in enabling the Internet of Things and Cloud. Wynn is responsible for: market assessment, segmentation and coverage; business model optimization; product management; strategic pricing management; marketing; business development; program implementation; and partner development and sales. He serves on the MassTLC IoT Steering Committee and is a sought-after speaker for both Cloud and IoT topics such as market enablement, ecosystems, new business models, consumer and SMB technical needs, and new service paradigms. Speaking engagements include Parks Associates CONNECTIONS, CABA, 2015 FOLEYTech Summit (Foley & Lardner LLC).

Wynn brings more than 20 years of executive business development and marketing experience in both private and public companies to the organization. Previous to PlumChoice, he led sales, marketing and account management teams at several companies including CommercialWare, Independent Mobile (IMO) and Valora Technologies. At Lightbridge, an outsourced services company servicing the converged telecommunications market, he helped build the company from a $16M private entity to publicly traded with revenues in excess of $100M. Wynn has extensive background in the outsourced services, SaaS and software sectors including specific experience in telecommunications, retail and legal industries. He began his career as an entrepreneur, having founded and operated two retail businesses. Wynn holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University.

Lee Gruenfeld Lee Gruenfeld, VP, Strategic Initiatives, Support.com

Lee joined Support.com in July 2014 as Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, responsible for overseeing the development and execution of various long-range technology and service strategies, including the company’s IoT positioning and mergers & acquisitions. Prior to joining Support.com he consulted to clients including Citrix, where he contributed to the design of a customer care system for the SaaS division and helped guide the integration of several acquisitions. He also served as Senior Vice President/General Manager of the SaaS product division he started for New Wave Automation (acquired by Global Cash Access). Earlier, he was a partner in the management consulting practice of Deloitte in New York and Los Angeles, where he served as National Director of Education for the firm’s Strategic Information Systems Planning service line and was a national resource in the areas of technology-related litigation and contracting. A best-selling novelist and non-fiction writer, he has also written features for Computerworld, and served as a member of the board of directors for the Society of Certified Data Processors.

Scott Hublou Scott Hublou, VP of Global Connected Services, Salus

Scott Hublou is currently the VP of Global Connected Services for Salus, an international brand in the home control market. Deployed in 14 countries worldwide, the Salus Connected Home solution is one of the largest international players in the Connected/Smart home industry. Scott is a leading voice in the clean tech and energy industries, through his consumer advocacy in the residential energy efficiency space. He is a frequent speaker on emerging smart grid technologies and the important role that smart homes play in creating a truly efficient energy system. Prior to Salus, Scott was the Founder of EcoFactor, North America’s leading Electric Utility solution Demand Side energy management CEO of Sapria Technology Group, a product strategy-consulting firm with clients including BlueShield, Oracle, Peoplesoft, SAP, and HP. Before heading Sapria, Scott was the CEO of Asimba, a SaaS based business intelligence and CRM solution for the online and brick-n-mortar fitness and nutrition industry. Scott has been a regular guest lecturer at both Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley business schools, sharing his knowledge and expertise on innovative business strategy, business intelligence and SaaS platforms.

Jim Hunter Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist and Technology Evangelist, Greenwave Systems
Twitter ID: @GreenwaveSys

Jim Hunter is the Chief Scientist and Technology Evangelist of Greenwave Systems. He is responsible for oversight of technology, architecture and innovation of the Axon platform. As Technology Evangelist, Jim promotes the Greenwave platform and technology message through industry engagement. Prior to joining Greenwave Systems, Jim led Motorola Mobility’s (a division of Google) architecture and strategy for driving the future of the smart, simple connected home. During this time, Jim invented several key patents and served on several patent boards mentoring other inventors. In December 2010, Jim joined Motorola Mobility through the acquisition of 4Home, a company he founded and served as CTO and Chief Architect. Earlier in his career, Jim founded Premise Systems, the first IP-based connected home platform company, which was acquired by Motorola in 2003. Jim's specialties include Software Architecture, User Interface Design and Development and Intellectual Property Development. Jim is a passionate inventor and futurist, inventing a number of patents across a broad spectrum including data algorithms, user interaction, contextual data and device management. Prior to the advent of the connected home, Jim served in the US Navy as a Nuclear Engineer and Nuclear Certified Instructor.

Pankaj Kedia Pankaj Kedia, Senior Director and Business Lead, Smart Wearables, Qualcomm

Pankaj Kedia is senior director of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. where he is responsible for cultivating business opportunities with strategic customers and emerging segments. Pankaj is leading Qualcomm’s efforts in the wearable space – setting its wearable business strategy, defining product roadmaps, and collaborating with customers and partners to bring innovative products to market.

Previously, Pankaj was the director of business development and innovation at Intel Corporation where he was responsible for winning, nurturing, and launching mobility products and technologies. Pankaj launched the Intel Atom processor and led the company’s early efforts to establish its presence and momentum in the tablet and smartphone categories. Earlier at Intel, Pankaj played an instrumental role in accelerating the deployment of Notebook PCs in the industry by defining and implementing the company’s mobile strategies and launching a range of products including Centrino, Pentium 4 and Pentium III processors. Pankaj joined Intel in 1996 and held a series of executive advisory, strategy, marketing, planning, ecosystem, and business development roles across the company. He holds one of the early/defining patents around implementing low power sub-systems in mobile devices.

Prior to Intel, Pankaj was in the management consulting industry for five years leading projects in strategy, management, and information technology. Pankaj is an avid TED follower and has spoken at multiple TEDx events about the impact of mobile technologies around the world. He is frequently sought after as a speaker at industry events in the area of mobile, wearable, wireless, and Internet, and has been extensively quoted in mainstream publications.

Pankaj holds a Master of Business Administration from Wharton, a Master of Science from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science from the Indian Institute of Technology. 

Art Lancaster Art Lancaster, CTO, Affinegy
Twitter ID: @Affinegy
Website: http://www.affinegy.com

As CTO of Affinegy, Art Lancaster drives the company’s technology strategy and oversees its solutions development. Affinegy’s CHARIOT Stack delivers the simple, secure and scalable way to support the full life cycle for connected products and services. From cloud servers through embedded clients and mobile user experiences - Affinegy provides software services that automatically provision, configure, update and manage the connected products that are at the heart of the Internet of Things. Leading broadband service providers, connected device manufacturers, and application/service providers have deployed Affinegy’s solutions to over 35 million customers around the world. Lancaster speaks regularly as a strong advocate for open source software and open standards to achieve true ease-of-use and broad interoperability. He is active in the AllSeen Alliance serving as a Board Member and as chair of its Gateway Working Group. In recent years he has spearheaded development of key connected device technologies with a number of patents issued and embraced important industry standards like TR-069, XMPP and AllJoyn, having championed commercialization within the industry and Affinegy’s products. 

Joe Liu Joe Liu, CEO, MivaTek

Joe Liu leads strategy and directs operations at MivaTek, a comprehensive smart home and business assurance solution and service company. MivaTek integrates advanced connected mobile-cloud with Internet of Things technology to change the way people protect their loved ones, homes and the things they value the most. The name “MivaTek” is derived from “Mobile Interactive Video Assurance Technology,” which describes the modern network-based video-centric home security, safety and personal emergency response systems (PERS) Liu and his team have developed.

Prior to founding MivaTek, Liu, an engineer and serial technology entrepreneur, co-founded and led the California-based Oplink Communications, a leading provider of design, integration and optical manufacturing of optical networking components, modules and subsystems. After Oplink Communications Inc. got acquired by Koch industries/Molex in 2014, Liu assembled a team and bought the connected portfolio from Koch/Molex and launched MivaTek in 2015.

While MivaTek is a startup, the solutions and services the company offers are the culmination of five years of R & D efforts, and $30 million dollar investment that Liu and his Oplink team applied their optical network system technology to MivaTek’s integrated, managed, and comprehensive IoT system solution and service offerings.

Earlier in his career, Liu co-founded BCD Semiconductor, Vertex Networks, Syscan Systems, PMC Semiconductor, AAC Semi, and Integrated Silicon Solutions Inc. As his first entrepreneurial project, Liu formed Techlink Equipment and Technology in 1985, selling US capital equipment to Asian semiconductor companies. Liu began his engineering career at Mostek Semiconductor, Motorola Semiconductor, and National Semi. Liu earned his master’s degree from California State University, Chico. 

Letha McLaren Letha McLaren, Chief Marketing Officer, Icontrol Networks
Twitter ID: @IcontrolNtwrks

As Chief Marketing Officer, Letha leads Icontrol’s product and marketing initiatives, responsible for product investments and corresponding marketing strategies to grow revenue and deliver excellent customer experiences in the emerging connected home market. She brings more than 15 years of diverse marketing, product development, and business leadership experience. Letha came to Icontrol from Landis+Gyr, a leading smart metering and energy management solutions provider, where she was the General Manager of global deployments for Energy Management and Advanced Applications. Prior to that, Letha was the Director of Software Product Management at Cellnet Technology, a leading automated meter reading services provider. She also held roles at Schlumberger in their automated metering division. Letha has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Tech in Marietta, GA and a Global MBA from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA.

Sami Nassar Sami Nassar, Vice President, Cyber Security Solutions, NXP Semiconductors

With 20 years of experience in the high-tech industry, Mr. Nassar brings a broad insight into digital security and semiconductors. Previous to joining NXP Semiconductors, Mr. Nassar held key executive positions, among them, General Manager of the Advanced Solution Group at Renesas, Managing Director of Strategic Marketing for Hitachi, and Managing Director of Schlumberger’s (now Gemalto) telecom smart cards and systems. He also founded a number of startup companies in Silicon Valley.

Matthew Pine Matthew Pine, Vice President, Marketing, Carrier

Matthew Pine is Vice President of Marketing for Carrier Corporation’s Residential business unit based out of Indianapolis, IN. Matthew has over 20 years of experience including over 2 years with Carrier/UTC. He came to Carrier from Vestas Wind Systems, who supplies energy from over 52,000 turbines to millions of households on six continents, where he was Head of Power Plant Sales Technology for Europe, living in Hamburg, Germany. Prior to Vestas, Matthew spent 13 years in the HVAC Industry with increasing responsibly in Sales & Distribution, Marketing, Product Management and General Management functions. Matthew received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from The University of Alabama and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Northeastern University.

Stuart Rench Stuart Rench, CEO, ihiji

Stuart, a Houston native, began his career working in Research and Development for home networking technologies with BellSouth while completing his Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering at The Georgia Institute of Technology. After living and working overseas for a large multinational firm, Stuart saw the technologies from his days in R&D begin working their way to the market. He realized that the majority of the existing companies in the market did not know how to deal with this radical shift in technology. Thus, a West Palm Beach, Florida-based residential design-build home automation company, was born out of the idea that home electronic systems could be simplified using proper engineering and application of technology. After growing a successful integration firm Stuart put his full-time focus on ihiji to create an industry leading monitoring tool to help other dealers better service their customer base.

Sagar Savla Sagar Savla, Data Science Engineer, Facebook

Sagar is a breaker-of-all-things-data at Facebook. He's ex-PayPal (built fraud and anomaly detection in graphs) and ex-Lyft (Used data science to build the in-house dispatch system). He has a Masters' from Georgia Tech with research in fields of Machine Learning, User Experience and Privacy Policies. He's co-author of Uxonomy: UX for Modern Engineers.

Parks Associates Analysts / Moderators

Tom Kerber Tom Kerber, Director, Research, Home Controls & Energy, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @TomAKerber
Website: http://www.ParksAssociates.com

Tom leads Parks Associates research in the areas of home controls, energy management, and home networks. Tom authors numerous reports on energy management and home controls covering the evolution of technology, partnership opportunities, and new business models. Tom’s work at Parks Associates includes managing consumer surveys that track trends and market opportunities and enable insightful evidence-based forecasting for energy, security, and home controls. Tom speaks frequently at key industry events, and his views are sought out by national press organizations and publications.

Tom has done extensive consulting with electric utilities operating in a variety of regulator structures and numerous firms within the smart home ecosystem. Recent utility engagements include defining the home area network roadmap for a California IOU, updating the consumer engagement strategy for a traditional vertically integrated IOU, providing consumer and industry analysis to refine EE and DR programs for an IOU in a restructured market, and providing insights on the evolution of the connected home for a large Midwest IOU. Tom has also led projects for many Fortune 500 companies, helping clients refine smart home strategies, develop scenarios of the future of the smart home market, enhance product roadmaps, and refine specific product features.

Prior to working at Parks Associates, Tom worked as director of engineering and director of product management in multiple industries. Tom began his career in the U.S. Navy nuclear power program on submarines. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in systems engineering and a master's in software engineering from the University of Texas.

Brad Russell Brad Russell, Research Analyst, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @bradrusselltech
Website: http://www.ParksAssociates.com

Brad Russell explores leading-edge issues in connected consumer electronics, robotics, IoT data privacy and security, and machine vision applications. He has a background in marketing communications, technology startups, and online media. Brad balances the art and science of marketing research to generate insights that lead to more astute business decision making and value-generating practices.

Brad received his BS degree in advertising and marketing from the University of Texas at Austin. He also earned MDiv and DMin degrees from two leading seminaries with concentrations in ethics and cross-cultural leadership.

Patrice Samuels Patrice Samuels, Research Analyst, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @PatriceatParks
Website: http://www.ParksAssociates.com

Patrice Samuels studies digital home technical support services across global markets, with a focus on market trends, business models, and provider strategies. In addition to exploring events and disruptions in the technical support space, she examines pay-TV and broadband services in North America and Europe, digital media, and digital music services.

Patrice earned her MBA from Texas A&M University at College Station and BSc. in Psychology from the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

INDUSTRY EXPERTISE: Television Services, Broadband Services, Technical Support Services, International Markets, Digital Music

Brett Sappington Brett Sappington, Director, Research, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @BrettsView
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

As a director of research at Parks Associates, Brett Sappington leads Parks Associates services research team, including access and entertainment services, digital media, OTT, cloud media, video gaming, and technical support services. Brett is an expert in worldwide television and broadband services. His personal research focuses on the activities and trends among operators and the market forces affecting their businesses. Brett is a regular speaker and moderator at international industry events.

Brett has spent over eighteen years in the industry as an analyst, executive manager, and entrepreneur. Previously, he founded and served as vice president for Teligy, a software company specializing in software for wired and wireless communications systems. Brett established new divisions for networking and audio/multimedia software for Intelligraphics. He has also been involved in the development and marketing of early-market products for 802.11 wireless networking, VoIP, and other technologies.

Brett holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in high-tech marketing and a BA in physics from Baylor University.

INDUSTRY EXPERTISE: International Digital Living Trends, Television Services (IPTV, cable, satellite/DTH, terrestrial/DTT), Broadband Services, Multiscreen Services, Value-added Services, Cloud-based Consumer Services, Set-top Boxes, Residential Gateways, Electronic Program Guides, Video Search and Recommendation, Video Metadata, Middleware, Technical Support Services

Stuart Sikes Stuart Sikes, President, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @stuartsikes
Website: http://www.ParksAssociates.com

Stuart Sikes is the president of Parks Associates, a market research firm specializing in consumer adoption of technology products and services. Stuart and team assist clients around the world by predicting trends in consumer technologies and identifying evolving business models. The Parks Associates team serves the world’s leading semiconductor, software, consumer electronics, telecom equipment, and entertainment companies, providing them with industry analysis, consumer research, and go-to-market recommendations. Stuart’s recent industry presentations include the outlook for residential energy management, new business models for the connected home, and the evolution of new video services.

Stuart has served technology companies for over twenty years, designing technical service, software, and hardware solutions for companies ranging from global semiconductor manufacturers to one of the nation’s largest airlines. In his positions with companies including AT&T, NCR, OpenConnect Systems, and Intelligraphics, Stuart’s roles have included sales, product marketing, marketing communications, and executive management.

Stuart holds an MBA from SMU and a BA in economics from Vanderbilt University.

Harry Wang Harry Wang, Director, Health & Mobile Product Research, Parks Associates
Twitter ID: @HarryatParks
Website: http://www.parksassociates.com

Harry Wang studies the consumer electronics and entertainment service industries with a focus on portable CE hardware, software, and associated applications and services. He is also the lead analyst for Parks Associates’ digital health research program. Harry has presented his research in numerous industry events including CES, Digital Hollywood, Photo Marketing Association Annual Show, American Telemedicine Association Annual Show, World Health Congress, and Parks Associates’ CONNECTIONS™ conferences.

Harry earned his MS degree in marketing research from the University of Texas at Arlington. He also holds an MBA degree in finance from Texas Christian University and a BA degree in international business from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, P.R. China.

INDUSTRY EXPERTISE: Digital Health Products and Services, Portable and Mobile Access Platforms and Applications, Digital Imaging Products and Services