Will hardware as platform be a SXSW theme?

This week, just before SXSW, I was invited to take part in the Bosch Connected Experience conference. A prequel to the big Bosch Connected World relation event that focuses on unlocking new ideas and inspiration by organising a big hackathon and a parallel conference. I presented onAdaptive interactions and the core of things during the conference. It stroke me that an interesting trend popped up on using hardware as a software platform. See if it will be addressed in Austin too…

Bosch is entering the game of connected products with their own IoT Cloudsolution, that they announced on March 9. At the conference several people from Bosch shared their ideas and plans on stimulating startup culture within the organisation and innovation. One of the talks was by the special unit that creates solutions for the connected car, even the self driving car. Kay Herget told on SoftTec and the collaboration with TomTom, but most interesting was the approach on creating a platform for others to use. This is something that will be giving a new stimulant to the Internet of Things the coming time.

What is the idea? The internet of things is of course heavenly inspired by the business models that derives from the digital world. The good and the bad, not for nothing people are worrying on the data and privacy issues. That is another story.

Strong in the idea of don’t building strict products that have all their functions is that products will adapt by using them. That is a concept that I foresee for some time, but it need a healthy driver to invest in. That driver will be the platform economy. Just like software can be an operating system for the end products, hardware will get the same qualities. Hardware with API’s.

An example how this would work is the way we plan to make TaSST sleeve into more than a single product for a single purpose. We have defined the first use case (deaf-blind people) but it gets even more interesting if we manage to create a platform product with an API/SDK for everyone to build their own product on. For me the end result of the project is that package of the sleeves with the SDK and a good way to manage the products you want to create.

This approach is exactly what Bosch is showing in between the lines in that presentation. Building components for intelligent mobility to use by others to build upon, making the software for the physical world.

So I’m wondering if we will see some of this development in Austin at the SXSW conference we are attending the coming week. Keep you posted!

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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