Today, Dominique and I went to Sierre for a meeting on the Internet of Things. It was hosted by at the technoark at Sierre and their activities. It’s a startup incubator with around 10 statups working on ICTs.
Daniel Kaplan introduced the IoT. Cameras are a rich sensors that shall be integrated, on top of which different applications could be run (motion and people recognition). The Web came out from its virtual world and is integrating real objects. This brought us to the concept of cities? It’s about public places and the notion of information sharing, who is able to read and write what in a city? Walls, building, spaces, and other objects become interfaces. You can share sensory information for example by hugging a cushion. But it also brings us to industrial concepts. The concept of re-programmation is the trademark of an open Web, espcially Web 2.0. We buy an Aibo, we want it to blog, to add goodies, to customize it, pigeons have blogs and are used as environmental sensors. Objects are becoming more than just a toy, they becoming friends, and they know all about the intimacy. But the same substrate can be used as a surveillance, and it’s about big brother. He talks about Nuage Vert de HeHe, a representation of pollution in the city.
Networking has transformed objects, but it didn’t changed the way they are made. The “Internetization” of objects manufacturing, through Fab Labs follows the model of Web 2.0. Open source objects, that you can just download, print and built. This concepts has been already affecting third world countries, where people can built (and share the guidelines) structures, buildings, appliances, etc.
The new business, however, is about the machine to machine communication. Devices that just chat together. For now all integration is done vertically, one application for one user, just like the old days of computers. But the real challenge is about sharing devices accross several users and applications, sharing of infrastructures, devices. This echoes very much with our notion of Web of Things, which is all about. But Daniel goes further, he talks about devices that are share between… no users (that’s the real challenge).
This creates risks, shed lights on sensitve questions. Tracking is cool, but not too much. I like not to lose my cat, or track my shoes when running. But at some point, we don’t want to track too many things. What are the limits? New york shows you a path that minimizes the least filmed path. If everything in my city is tracked, viewed, then it’s problematic. I wanna do sometimes bad things in my city, without being tracked. He also mentions Adam Greenfield, and the design principles he proposed in Everyware. You always need to look more broadly at the IOT, because the potential is much larger than we see and think