SXSW 2018; Soul-searching for Silicon Techies

This was my 6th SXSW, I counted. Started in 2011 the adventure with also my first ever Airbnb experience. I learned some things in the years after (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017). How to plan session schedule to prevent disappointments, but don’t fear for FOMO, it happens all the time.
Have a bike. So much better experience. But take a hybrid, the hills are steep. Especially in the favourite place to find your Airbnb; south of the river. This year we found a great house in the fancy neighbourhood Zilker Park .
We needed a five-room house as we teamed up this year with Wilbert and Marco again. And Femke joined us (Jann and me) too. Super nice to have good company to evaluate the day and share experiences. Makes it even more nice.

Continue reading at Medium: https://labsinfo.nl/looking-back-at-sxsw-2018-soul-searching-for-silicon-techies-b81a516b4ef3

ThingsCon 2017

Looking back at the yearly conference ThingsCon Amsterdam we organised November 30th & December 1st at Volkshotel.

We aimed for the conference to highlight ethics in practice. In 2016 we introduced our overall mission with ThingsCon to foster the creation of a responsible and human-centric IoT. This has become increasingly important throughout the last year with the developments in the world, both in tech as in society as a whole. More and more incidents with data breaches, discontinued companies breaking products, not speaking of politically developments. But also on a positive side with the announcement of GDPR, the IoT Mark initiative, and the follow-up discussions.

This year we wanted to combine a positive look on connected products with a critical design view. What does it mean in practice, from manufacturing to security, to ethics by design?

Read more on my thoughts in this Medium-post. I also share some thoughts on the plans for the coming year.

With great influence comes great responsibility. It may be a cheesy quote, but it is therefore no less true. We are at the point where the IoT is diffusing into everything and changing the character and behaviour of the things we use. This happens in ways we are not aware of and in ways that are not open and transparent. Currently, the drivers are often purely economic in nature resulting in a sneaky feeling that should make us all uncomfortable. That makes it even more important to have a stage like ThingsCon: we need a place to think about the state of IoT and take a stand together.

 

More on Medium

https://labsinfo.nl/thingscon-2017-looking-back-and-forward-an-elevating-community-2db6f3e6f176

Things as citizens in the inclusive smart city

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a known concept for the smart city vision of the future. However, current implementations are often limited to sensing only, often in the form of the Internet as a dashboard, connected to sensors in the real world. In this arrangement, urban innovation stops at collecting data, visualising it via an app, and opening it for insights to base decisions on. How fast can the city adapt if things in the real world could respond to data? If they could not only sense but also act? What will be the role of things in the city? What are the ethics of things and can we create an inclusive smart city?

More on Medium:

https://labsinfo.nl/things-as-citizen-in-the-inclusive-smart-city-f773567aa31d

What is a connectable?

We started a publication here on Medium that bundle the different articles that deal with the internet of things products as we like to see them. The internet of things is often mistaken with products that have an app with it to operate. We think that is not leveraging on the real value of IoT that emerges from the new space that evolves from the connecting and the service layer that is using this space. This is what we call a connectable.

In a research project on the design language for the connectable we found that (1) the dialogue will be the main interaction with our things, (2) hybrid interfaces mix screen interactions with haptics, voice, and (3) products get smarter while aging, also when still on the shelf. We will have this research outcomes published in this publication.

To make this IoT product-services possible you need to have an holistic view on both platform back-end, service layer, embedding of the sensors and connectivity and of course the integration with the user experience via both the product as the digital engine. There will be often a screen involved for managing or monitoring, or having a remote touchpoint, but the core functionality is not defined by the screen or app experience. The digital service layer is however crucial to the experience, it shapes the way a connected product behaves, often in an adaptive way to your own behaviour.

There are some examples of this coming to the market. The cars from Tesla that are more software than hardware is a good example. Or the toys from Vai Kai that get the experience from the connection with other toys. We will see this happen silently becoming a standard part of products.

IoT is often approached as a pure technological and infrastructural challenge. That is important for the success indeed, but the key is to design the right experience and platform, both from user perspective as technological. The new products will be more adaptive to the use which will lead to new trigger-based interaction models.

In this publication we will share research and visions on the connectable.