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connected world

Understanding the Connected Home: Managing Conflict

August 17, 2015 | By | No Comments

Understanding the Connected Home is an ongoing series. (Show all posts.)

When we introduce connectedness into infrastructure like buildings – into our homes – we stitch a technological network into, or better: onto, our lives. And with it we introduce smart agents of sorts: Software that has more or less its own goals and agendas.

For example, a Nest thermostat’s primary goal might be to achieve and maintain a certain temperature in the living room; a secondary goal might be to save energy.

Of course the Nest’s owner has given that goal to the thermostat. And while it will undergo some interpretation at the hand of the algorithm (say you express you prefer a desire for the temperature to be 19° Celsius and the algorithm knows to translate this statement into “you want 19° Celsius in your living room when you are at home but while you’re gone temperature can vary to lower energy consumption”), the goals come more or less from the user.

“User” as in singular human individual. It’s important to stress this as these kinds of interaction models tend to break down, or at least be challenged, along three axes once we do not talk about single-user scenarios:

  • user-to-user conflicts
  • user-to-agent conflicts
  • agent-to-agent conflicts

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07 Aug

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Understanding the Connected Home: Framing the Debate

August 7, 2015 | By |

Understanding the Connected Home is an ongoing series. (Show all posts.)

As connectivity is increasingly seeping into our homes, we need to ask ourselves: What’s a smart home? What is it today and what’s the vision for a potential tomorrow? In which ways will the connected home manifest itself?

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05 Aug

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I’m becoming an e-citizen of Estonia

August 5, 2015 | By |

I had been vaguely aware of Estonia’s initiative e-Estonia, in which people from around the world could sign up for a sort of e-citizenship for this most technologically advanced country of not just the Baltics, but maybe the world. But at the time, you had to pick up the actual ID in Estonia, which seemed slightly over the top (for now).

Fast forward to today, when I stumbled over Ben Hammersley‘s WIRED article about e-Estonia and learned that the application process now works completely online and a trip to our local Estonian embassy (a mere 20min or so by bike or subway away) now does the trick.

That’s exciting!

e-Estonia is not, of course, an actual citizenship, even though for many intents and purposes it does provide a surprisingly large number of services that traditionally were tied to residency of a nationstate.

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03 Aug

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Understanding the Connected Home: Ground Rules

August 3, 2015 | By |

Understanding the Connected Home is an ongoing series. (Show all posts.)

Five years from now the moment we enter a home might require some decisions from us: It might be a transition into a connected space, and it might not be obvious how connected it is, and in which ways. Yet, these are essential things to know to make an informed decision.

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03 Aug

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New series: Understanding the Connected Home

August 3, 2015 | By |

Ever since visiting Casa Jasmina one question we discussed there wouldn’t leave me alone – there literally hasn’t been a day where the topic hasn’t come up, where I haven’t been trying to get closer to figuring out answers, or at least better questions: How do we interact with a connected home? How does the space, and the things in it, communicate what’s expected of the person, what the ground rules are, what requires interaction and what doesn’t? How, in other word, do we know how connected a home is, and in which way?

Over the weekend at Foocamp, I asked many people for their thoughts on the topic, all of whom are smarter than I and many of whom have a great deal of experience in related matters. From interaction design to artificial intelligence researcher to chip engineer to journalist: Both in a session I hosted about the topic and in many hallway conversations it slowly emerged that it’s an area that might just not be fully explored yet.

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22 Jul

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Visiting Casa Jasmina

July 22, 2015 | By |

Visiting Casa Jasmina We lived in the open source connected home of the future. And survived.

When I learned about Casa Jasmina (CJ), a connected open source home of the future that Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic are building with a part of the Ardunio team – namely Lorenzo Romagnoli and Massimo Banzi – I knew I wanted to see it.

(Michelle and I, sitting side by side at Bruce’s ThingsCon closing keynote literally looked at each other and said: Let’s go!)

So Michelle, Alexandra and I got to go – and happened to be the very first official guests: A tremendous honor and privilege, and also a responsibility to kick it off well, contribute and reflect; if we can start a few good traditions there, all the better.

Here are some notes, thoughts, questions and impressions from these last few days, typed up quickly on the way back from Torino to Berlin. Unsorted, a bit rough around the edges, as behooves the project itself, while the impressions are still fresh.

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22 Jul

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Letter to the next resident of Casa Jasmina

July 22, 2015 | By |

Dear next guest of Casa Jasmina,

Welcome to your new temporary home.

Please note: This is a cross-post from the GitHub repo for letters from one resident of Casa Jasmina to the next. For more context, jump on over to this blog post about my visit to Casa Jasmina.

We’re writing this letter to share some of our experiences, and hope to provide some helpful cues to make your stay the best it can be. Also, as the first “official” guests at CJ we hope we can start a tradition in leaving a message to the next person or group coming in – as a service to the next resident, as an archive and log book that might provide interesting research signals later on, and as a sort of social continuum that connects all residents to CJ and to one another.

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