Monthnotes for June 2017
June 29, 2017 | By Peter Bihr |
One day you plant the seeds, and later you harvest. An old freelance friend used to say this to remind herself and me at the time of the cyclical nature of work. First you put in the work, then later it pays off. June is such a month of harvest: We published not one but two full-scale reports.
For this and much, much more: Keep reading.
If it seemed a bit quiet here last month it’s because it was the proverbial quiet before the storm, aka launch month.
View Source: Shenzhen
We went to Shenzhen to explore opportunities for collaboration between European Internet of Things practitioners and the Shenzhen hardware ecosystem—and how to promote the creation of a responsible Internet of Things. You can read the result here: View Source: Shenzhen
ThingsCon Report: The State of Responsible IoT
The ThingsCon report The State of Responsible IoT is a collection of essays by experts from the inter-disciplinary ThingsCon community of IoT practitioners. It explores the challenges, opportunities and questions surrounding the creation of a responsible & human-centric Internet of Things (IoT). You can read the result here: ThingsCon Report: The State of Responsible IoT
Trustmarks for the Internet of Things
My research into IoT labels to increase (and justify!) user trust in connected products continues.
As part of this research went to the Open IoT Definition (5 years later) hosted in London by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino and Usman Haque. Just like the first convening of this loose group, it was excellent and intense—and we started a process to try and develop an #iotmark (iotmark.wordpress.com). It’s currently a v0.1 document open for input.
While I’ve been doing expert interviews for a broad range of input, we’ve also just launched a small online survey. If you work in IoT or adjacent fields, I’d love to hear from you!
I’m also planning to host a brief workshop on this attached to the ThingsCon Salon Berlin on 13 July. Please ping me if you’d like to participate (likely 15:30 to 17:00 or so).
Perhaps a little less concrete but also relevant I think, I’ve reworked the company website to better reflect the types of work I’ve been doing these last few months and aim to continue doing. There were some seriously outdated things there.
The two core areas I’d sum up as strategy and research.
As a boutique strategy, research & foresight company we help guide our clients’ strategies regarding business, product, and research.
This top-level description now explicitly includes research and foresight, for reasons.
Maybe more notably I’ve introduced a dedicated research section because it’s something I’ve been doing with collaborators in almost all recent projects, but that basically wasn’t reflected at all on our website. Needless to say, I favor qualitative over quantitative.
To lead and advance the field, you need to look ahead and understand what’s on the horizon—and what’s possible. In future-facing areas like emerging tech, quantitative data doesn’t cut it: We provide—and help you apply—foresight & qualitative research so you stay ahead of the curve. This includes a wide range of methods and types of input and output. Because we are tapped into the backchannels of a large network of leading experts and collaborators, we have a powerful and fine-tuned radar for the near future.
You can find most of it on thewavingcat.com.
I’m curious to hear what you think!
We launched ThingsCon report on the state of responsible IoT (see above), and are preparing a whole wave of ThingsCon Salons for July: Amsterdam, Berlin, Cologne & Darmstadt are all ready to roll.
The salons are also a great occasion to catch a screening of the View Source: Shenzhen video documentation that The Incredible Machine has been producing throughout our two Shenzhen trips!
The impact of a community also grows with its footprint. In that sense we’d like to get more ThingsCon chapters online: More cities, more local communities, all working together.
This map shows where ThingsCon events happened in the past or are currently planned.
Over on the ThingsCon blog we wrote:
ThingsCon is a complete community effort, driven largely by volunteer work. And that’s a feature, not a bug! This community has a seat at the table because lots of us show up when important decisions are made, and when the future of this industry is discussed.
We’re hoping that by the end of 2017, we’ll see 15 new chapters, including 5 in the global South! Combined with the existing chapters, this could easily make for a total of 50 more events just this year.
It’s easy to get involved. Let’s go!
Holiday season is coming up. We still have a (small & shrinking) stack of ultimate travel pants. Get yours now!
While we’re looking into (potentially! no promises!) running one more small batch, we’re super curious to learn how people have modded, hacked or repaired their Zephyrs. If you have, send us a pic, will ya?
Writing, talks, media
At DevOpsCon, I had the pleasure to talk Shenzhen with Stephanie Koch. Our session was called Shenzhen: IoT going rogue and we had a full house:
Photo by Markus Andrezak (Thank you, Markus!)
I also had a blast of a time discussing the challenges and opportunities of IoT and security at the Transatlantic Digital Debates with a group of smart fellows from both sides of the Atlantic.
Speaking of smart fellows: Together with Meike Laaff I ran a 3 day weekend workshop with stipendiaries of Heinrich-Böll-Foundation on the future of work and how digital, AI, IoT and adjacent technologies impact how we work, and how we think about work.
As for writing, in addition to the two reports listed at the top of this post I wrote:
- We need a more transparent Internet of Things. My content contribution to our ThingsCon report, The State of Responsible IoT.
- Trust and expectations in IoT. One of the key challenges for IoT in the consumer space boils down to expectation management.
- For IoT, we need a holistic understanding of security, in which I argue that the IT notion of security is not sufficient to protect users of IoT products.
- We can move past the outdated cult of the genius founder. Some thoughts on Uber and how it exemplifies one of the worst traits of Silicon Valley.
- First and foremost, get the basics right. A plea to learn how to walk before trying to run.
- Challenges for governance in the Internet of Things. Turns out the width and depth of many issues around IoT make it not easy to figure out the best governance mechanisms.
What’s on the horizon?
Some writing, lots of research to be published later this year. I’ll also be speaking at ThingsCon Salon Berlin (about our Shenzhen trip), and at Das ist Netzpolitik! Also, we have 4 ThingsCon Salons coming up in July alone! Right after, in mid-July, I’ll be off on a vacation for a few weeks. If you’d like to talk about projects for after, ping me!