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This story has been presented in different variations to a range of audiences, each time a different story but essentially based on this underlying framework which is continually changing and updated as time and technology progress:
Internet of Things: anytime, anyplace, anyone, anything… Executive Ladies Breakfast Only, Deloitte, Amsterdam
Internet of Things Opening of the KPN Data Centre in Eindhoven
Internet of Things: Smart Products, Smart Places but most of all Smart People Hackathon for Diversity, Todos Includios Barcelona
Internet of Things and “the paradigm shift of all paradigm shifts” IoT Shifts Conference, Barcelona
The Internet of Things Future is Today Eindhoven Internet of Things Meetup, Eindhoven
Internet of Things: Smart Products, Smart Homes but most of all Smart People Eneco SmartHome Day Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven
Configuring Light Workshop 5th ESRC Seminar by Configuring Light/Staging the Social and Philips, at the Philips Museum in Eindhoven
My name is Lorna Goulden, I am the Director of Creative Innovation Works.
Originally from the UK, I am now living and working in the Netherlands for over 20 years
But I am also living in the future ... and I would like to share some of that future with you today
The Internet of Things, Innovation, and also disruption
> With a Human focus
So technology is driving a very disruptive shift at the moment
And it is already starting to impact many different area of our lives . . .
> Recent research for example concluded that in the US 47% of jobs are at risk within the next 10 years. And this is a shift that is already starting to happen, and not just in the US either
> But unlike technology driven shifts in the past, some believe that for the first time this convergence of technologies is actually set to destroy more jobs that it creates. But these technologies are of course also bringing with them amazing new opportunities for those open enough to discover them
So what is the Internet of Things? Is it a technology? Is it a product? Is it a hype?
It rather depends on which viewpoint you have
Coming from a creativity and innovation perspective, I consider it as essentially a natural evolution of the Internet.
> We are in the middle of a shift from connectivity ANYTIME, ANYPLACE for ANYONE, to also > include anyTHING - Billions of things, connecting to the Internet.
So how did I get interested in this area?
> Well I first started ‘hacking’ with the Internet of Things over 20 years ago as a student, at the Royal College of Art in London, with RFID tags kindly donated by Texas Instruments, which I smashed open - the glass casing – soldered on some buttons and used them as a tool to develop new physical interaction prototypes.
> These RFID tags were actually developed for tracking Dutch cows.
> And of course the technology has come on a long way since then, cows have their own wearables. Farmers can monitor not just their location, but also their body temperature, their milk production, fertility rates and many more parameters,
> with data interfaces , apps, which are essentially enabling them to improve the efficiency of their farming.
> But at the same time, it also enables them to improve the quality of life of their livestock.
> So for the past couple of years we have been hearing an increasing number of predictions about the amount of things being connected to the Internet.
> Billions and billions. But what does that actually mean?
> To put it slightly in context, we have already passed the point where there are more mobile devices than there are people in the world.
But again, but what does that actually mean, for us?
> I’d like to show you a short clip from IBM, which sheds a little bit of light on this question.
> so “The planet has grown a central nervous system”
> What this actually highlights for me is an important aspect of the internet of things, it is not just about the ‘things’ that are being connected to the internet,
> but it is also the data that is being gathered, stored and analysed, which is enabling smart applications to be developed, giving us increasing value from this new type of connectivity.
> Again some more big numbers,
> this time billions of dollars!
But again what does this mean? What is the actual value that is being brought to us by the Internet of Things? Why is this predicted as a potential billion-dollar market opportunity?
> From the point of view of innovation
I like to simplify value creation into 3 different types
On the one hand, often the easiest to understand because it relates to what we already know, what we are already doing. To be more efficient, to reduce costs and risks, to do things faster. But still remaining very close to our current frame of reference.
But as anyone involved in innovation knows
It is important to also introduce entirely new, differentiated, and of course desirable, products and services.
But a third value is really where I think the biggest potential for disruption is coming from the Internet of Things; by dramatically improving the users experience, generating more accurate insights, providing greater levels of personalisation and empowering people. . . often with a view to improving quality of life. With attention shifting more towards the creation of what I call a value model; focusing on the qualitative benefit, as opposed to focusing on the quantitative aspects of a business model alone.
And of course it gets most interesting if you are able to combine and develop for all 3 value types at the same time. Which essentially means being able to think both inside as well as outside of the box at the same time.
> This also introduces for me another important aspect of the Internet of things, we have billions of connected things,
> and we have enormous amounts of data,
> but I believe that we need to also shift the way we think of people in relation to these new systems and solutions. Should we be pushing to automate people out of smart and connected systems? Is this really the most valuable thing that we can be offering? Thinking for example of the predominant approaches to autonomous vehicles, many smart lighting solutions, or home security systems.
> In order to innovate with the Internet of Things
> I PROPOSE that we need to change the way that we think as well as the way that we create if we are going to design an Internet of things that people really want.
> And in order to support this shift in thinking I would like to share with you a tool that I use; an overview of hundreds of ‘Triggers, Trends and Signals’ connected to the domain of the Internet of Things.
By mapping these numerous examples of what is happening today, sharing and discussing … and continously updating because things are changing and at an increasing pace as well.
> The idea is to essentially shift the perspective from technology to what technology is enabling.
On the one hand we have sensing technology and data that is being gathered and analysed, which is essentially providing us with INSIGHT. Into our bodies, our environment, our planet. And on the other side we have the ability to control things, to switch and adjust remotely or automatically, but what this is enabling us to do as people is to INFLUENCE our environment. And this is possible across all industries, in all geographies.
> The goal of this tool is to recognise different patterns that are emerging, to shift away from silo thinking and to ultimately generate INSIGHT > into the IMPACT,
> to start to see where BEHAVIOUR may be changing, whether this is by businesses, or consumers, or even brands and communities;
> and to question where is VALUE being created? or perhaps in some cases being lost or destroyed?
> And to shift the question from what and how to WHY? One of the most important questions in my view,
Through research Simon highlights that people are more likely to value, or be driven to change their behaviour, based on WHY, a purpose, a cause or a belief. Not on WHAT or HOW.
> So lets dive first into disruption.
Disruption can come from new products, services, business models or even approaches to manufacturing that challenge the status quo.
I particularly like this quote from Colin Angle, CEO and founder of iRobot, where he maintains that the idea, or the image of a humanoid robot, with arms pushing a vacuum cleaner may well have set back the industry . . . instead of rethinking what needs to be done and building a specific product to satisfy that need.
> And today of course we have a number of rather well known disruptors.
> For example Airbnb, Uber and Alibaba.
But what is perhaps most striking about these hyperscale companies is that Uber, for example established in 2008, and now apparently the largest taxi company in the world, does not own it’s own vehicles, AirBnB doesn’t own it's real-estate and Alibaba apparently doesn’t own any inventory.
> Essentially what these companies are doing is providing platforms, and rather than having an asset based business model they are instead battling for the customer interface, to capture huge amounts of data and to facilitate millions, or even billions of transactions. They have shifted the way that business is being run in their industries, and causing quite some disruption along the way. But even more disruptive perhaps is that they are not even sticking within the boundaries of one industry. I can’t really imagine that within the walls of these organisations you will hear someone saying “that is not our core business” when discussing potential new innovation opportunities.
So how should existing or new organisation ensure that they are not going to be Uber-ed out of existence?
> By changing the way they think and how they innovate,
> it is no longer about what you build alone; it’s about how smartly you incorporate what others have built. A shift that is only possible because of a once-in–a-generation convergence of megatrends: cloud, mobile and the “Internet of Things.”
Databases of available API’s (Application Programming Interfaces). I like to think of them as ‘Lego blocks’ of functionality, forming a bridge between the connected things on the one hand and the cloud based information and data crunching capabilities on the other, and then back again to mobile interfaces or other connected devices.
> API’s for example, are behind the data access and management of many smart city apps,
> also prominent in healthcare developments,
> in fact in almost any domain you can think of they are “Turning these rather limited little things into powerful networks of possibilities”
> But what is also particularly interesting to consider is that there is a large of amount of open data, being created and shared by people. And with API’s bridging the storage and analysis, giving access to completely new insights which are in some cases particularly human, such as emotion and mood at a particular time or location with for example crowd-sourced sentiment mapping.
> which is one of the information sources currently being experimented with by London Transport, running pilots to see if they can help passengers plan their journeys in a more efficient but also a stress-free way.
> And a recent initiative that I particularly like, in the US Twitter is being used to detect earthquakes, making people a critical part of the system, with quake related tweets also having the potential to trigger alerts in areas, homes, without sensors.
> In some ways similar to the mesh communication network created by the Firechat app, which is being considered in Manila as a potentially powerful and resilient communication platform to use during and after a natural disaster, when traditional communication platforms tend to collapse; the most important system component again being the community of people who are essential in ensuring citywide mesh coverage, from person to person.
> So we have databases with thousands of available API’s; enormous amounts of data, a lot of it open and available, there is also an increasing amount of open hardware and device platforms making it increasingly more accessible to innovate Internet of Things solutions.
Adding to a disruptive shift sometimes referred to as a ‘democratization of technology’. Where we have on the one hand disruption coming from hyperscale businesses, we also have an increasing potential for disruption coming from what I call the ‘homescale’. Individuals and entrepreneurs having the ability to develop and launch their own connected products and services.
> A great example of this is the recently launched The Things Network. An initiative that was kicked off in Amsterdam by Wienke Giezeman, to crowdsource a global open Internet of Things data network using LoRaWAN technology; in just a few weeks the entire city of Amsterdam was covered with an open, free to use Internet of Things data network.
> Within a couple of months it has already started to spread around the world
> and they also launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to reduce the cost of the network hardware and further increase global scale accessibility. With the campaign reaching its target within just a few days.
> And we launched our own Things Network in the city of Eindhoven. It is still very early days, there are of course some interesting technical challenges, but we are at the start of what promises to be an extremely interesting journey to make this platform more user friendly, and to engage with local residents and communities, bringing together technology experts and designers to develop their own smart city applications. Shifting from a business model approach to a value model (first) approach. When the community becomes the service provider, what does this mean?
> Smart cities, and smart lighting are of course big domains for the Internet of Things, with economies of scale that make efficiency and energy savings extremely attractive.
But if you remember the 3 types of value creation mentioned earlier?
> City Lighting is for example predominantly addressed from efficiency / energy saving perspective. With the potential for savings of up to 70 , 80 per cent this is of course bringing a considerable positive impact, both environmentally as well as economically. But, lighting also has potential to provide a lot more when coupled with the Internet of Things.
> At an urban redevelopment in Eindhoven, Netherlands, we intentionally took things one-step further, with energy saving and sustainability taken as a given, we focused the design efforts on the effect that light could have on the urban experience. Creating a Public Lighting Experience. Creating a series of experience scenarios to illustrate the innovative possibilities of public lighting presented by new and emerging technologies.
> This resulted in a number of innovative installations that were developed and installed in the Strijp-S district of Eindhoven.
> For example one of my favourites is a set of dynamic coloured light poles, which were designed by Ewelina Schreven whilst a masters student at the local university – built with Arduino inside – she created a set of programs that react to presence of people as well as the changing seasons. I wonder if it might be possible to hack these lamps in the future and connect them to our Things Network and see what new communication possibilities might emerge !
> We also have a number of animated pedestrian crossings that communicate about approaching public transport.
> And an award winning streetlamp was developed through a shared innovation initiative conecting a Dutch lighting design company, 3MansBV, with the manufacturer Schreder. Each lamp has its own IP address and can be individually controlled to provide a full range of colour (RGB) and white hues. This makes it possible to create a wide range of urban atmospheres, intentionally focusing on shifting between subtle shades of white from warm to cool, or even communicative animation behaviours that can react to weather conditions, events and activities such as the movement of people, or emergency vehicles. I won’t show any pictures or videos of this installation, because to be honest you really have to be in the space to experience it, standing next to the old industrial buildings in the tree lined boulevard to be able to understand how it feels (not looks) when the hue of light around you changes subtly from warm to cool, or moves in a wave down the street in front of you.
Now these installations have of course been innovating within the familiar archetype of street lighting; Lighting on poles. Yet new technologies also offer entirely new possibilities, so we initiated a couple of projects that were deliberately intended to shift the way that people think about street lighting and how they relate to lighting in the urban environment.
> For example with LED it is possible for a lamp to be very small, cool (so that you can touch it) and also low power;
> characteristics that have been more fully capitalised on in the project Crystal by artist Daan Roosegaarde.
One of the interesting things about this project is that between the time the first prototype was presented and discussed and the project being installed on location, there was a great deal of discussion with the municipality on whether or not to go against existing logic and install something in the public space that was not bolted down to the ground. A bold risk to take really. Yet now over two years later, the installation is still working, the crystals are still there, and perhaps even more remarkable is that in an area that sadly suffers from a degree of vandalism, partly because it is still very much a dynamic building site, there has not been any damage or graffiti in the passageway where Crystal is located. Could the effect of being able to more directly interact with and creatively influence your surroundings have a positive side-effect on how people feel about and treat their public environment? I'd like to think so.
A second project aimed at pushing the boundaries of expectation and the urban lighting experience even further. Inspired during a workshop discussing the cities sustainability ambitions where the initial goal was to develop the complete public lighting system in the area without lampposts, to reduce the amount of material being used.
> This proved not feasible at the time for various reasons but the idea did pop about drones, flying light.
This was a few years ago now, and any time I spoke to anyone about the idea I would more often than not be greeted with a smile or even outright laughter. Often a good sign that you are operating outside of someone's current frame of reference! So undeterred we brought in a student from the interaction design department of Zurich University to work together on developing a number of illustrative scenarios,
> And it is of course particularly important when it comes innovating with emerging technologies, when unexpected results are intended, to prototype as quickly as possible.
> video . . . putting together existing technologies we built two prototype, flying streetlights. We discovered through this exercise for example that in order to fly we had to have a certified pilot, we had to register a flight path and call the local air traffic control an hour before we wanted to fly to get their permission. We were able to run a few tests; to get a sense of what it was like to have street lighting flying around. Unfortunately the video made on the first flight, is rather poor quality, but it is all that we have because after flying for the first couple of nights we called the air traffic control again for permission to fly and were informed that we were not allowed to fly anymore, because it is actually illegal to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle after dark. So this prototype development for flying light is currently grounded here for now
But it was most certainly not a wasted effort. It gave us new insights into some of the technical challenges that would need to be addressed before there will be light flying around our cities, such as the noise of the drones.
> Developing the scenarios and prototypes was also a valuable trigger to generate new ideas about the potential value that new technological combination could bring, whilst we wait for the laws to on the one hand enable the potential value to be realised while still protecting us of course from potential threats. Ideas such as more tenporary personal lighting in remote areas with no street lights could provide an increased level of comfort and safety for people whilst not permanently distrubing the dark night; or to provide communicative protection for cyclists in urban areas; and of course many search and rescue applications, some of which have since been implemented in different parts of the world.
So with the city we have an economy of scale, it is possible to calculate considerable savings that can also offset a lot of the initial installation costs.
> But what about on a smaller scale, in the home?
This seems to be proving to be quite a challenging domain, with little indication that it will get much better in the near future, despite being heralded by some as a huge potential growth area. I still foresee a lot of problems along the way unless there is a considerable shift in thinking.
> So I have a question for you, how many of you have a smart fridge?
I have been asking this question for a number of years now and have yet to find anyone who owns a smart fridge. Yet this has been the most commonly referenced idea by journalists when they write about the Internet of Things.
The first Internet connected fridge was on the market 15 years ago (LG). Deutsche Telecom amongst others have presented concept prototypes with a screen on the fridge door, envisaging users standing in front of their fridge to watch the news in the morning or browse recipes either based on the contents of the fridge or the shopping list to be sent to the local supermarket.
It seems that most appliance manufactures assume that the Smart Home means connecting their existing electrical devices and appliances to the Internet to gain new capabilities, and they start by connecting and then try to work out why.
And what do we get? Easier control? Improved energy efficiency? This is of course very valuable, but is this going to be on a scale that consumers are willing to pay more for the pleasure? And for real envrinmental impact to be reasonably achieved it will need whole communities to be more efficient together.
> Or, what we also get is the opporutnity for the manufacturer to monitor our behaviour more closely so that they can sell us more consumables, under the guise of convenience.
> Take for example the Amazon buttons,
> one click and you can order a range of different products. But I can’t help imagining here the surprise at the end of the week when the shopping gets delivered to the family with the little children who love pressing brightly coloured buttons . . . but of course they will have that scenario covered.
> But what is perhaps more interesting to consider is how this approach to home connectivity will develop at a time when the dominant business model of the internet – people as product with push advertising as the tool – is being tested, with the recent and rapid growth of people installing Adblockers
> if you look at this visually, it is almost exponential
> In the home domain it is perhaps even more imperative to consider people's circle of trust, and how this will impact the level of comfort people will feel sharing intimate and personal data with entitites on the farthest extremes of the circle. While perhaps obvious that we would be more likely to trust our family and close friends with our personal data; we are apparently least likely to trust energy companies, advertising companies and government. So how should different entities behave when it comes to taking and using data as opposed to being given this right?
> It is of course convenient to be able to control your appliances when you are on away from your home, isn’t it? But do you really need to check your fridge, washing machine, lights and heating system when you are away from home? Maybe.
I have met one or two people who are extremely happy with this extra ability to remote control their home devices. But with the few examples I have tried out myself I did experience the risk that the novelty factor wears off after a period of time. A crucial factor in the development of Internet of Things solutions is to consider how they will stand up to the test of time. And of course in the meantime you may have gained 3 or 4 different bridges, servers or hubs that all need energy to enable this control – and you gain an increasing number of App interfaces, with different log-in credentials which incidentally get lost every time you update your mobile OS. And lets not start the discussion on security and having your home hacked. . . that is a complete presentation in itself!
So I still have great reservations about the path that the Smart Home currently seems to be following.
Because I do not believe that energy meters, lighting, washing machines, door locks or security systems remote control, are bringing us towards a Smart Home, at best it is enabling a Smart House.
Coming back to Colin Angle’s quote about the robot vacuum cleaner, the main issue seems to be the idea, or the image, that the Smart Home means connecting existing electrical appliances to the Internet. Instead of first understanding what the Home is about, what will fit and what is actually needed.
A House becomes a Home through the activity and interaction of people, through the human qualities that build up in the space over time. Relationships, family, memory, identity, caring and sharing, which is why for example, a hotel room rarely feels like home. If we were to take this as a starting point for the design of Smart Home services and solutions then I think we will start to get much closer to a Smart Home that people want.
And before we get carried away connecting, monitoring and automating everything we can think of, we need to take a step back and work out if this is what people need, want or even feel comfortable with.
And it is also very important to realise that if people don't like something they can often be incredibly ingenious when it comes to adaptations.
> To quote Douglas Adams “A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools,”
> I would like to finish with what I think is a truly great video made by innovation consultancy Superflux. A piece of ‘Design Fiction’ developed to trigger discussion and challenge preconceptions about the relationship that an elderly man might have with a collection of Smart devices given to him by his caring family, but which are essentially uninvited guests in his home.
> and so to conclude
> I would like to propose that it is time consider a shift in our way of thinking about the Internet of Things, to find more effective ways to integrate people into the systems being designed and developed, rather than automating them out. In particular building in the very human characteristics that cannot be replaced by technology, such as critical thinking, social intelligence, ethics and trust as well as humour and fun and of course serendipity – the unexpected surprise.
> Thank you !