Today was the second and last day of Smart IoT London. Read here for Day One’s report.
I went to a few of the presentations, but only two of them are worthy of any mention (one, which I won’t name, didn’t have a presenter… the technical support guys simply played a video in the theatre – it was one of the oddest ‘presentations’ I’ve seen).
I recommend the organisers arrange fewer presentations next year, aiming for quality over this year’s huge quantity.
And please, supply more power sockets for visitors to recharge their phones and laptops (especially to help visitors cover Smart IoT on social networks).
Peter Semmelhack from BUG Labs
Peter wrote a book called social machines, and formed BUG Labs to work on Open Source hardware (such as Raspberry PI).
I love this quote at the start of the presentation:
Saying IoT is like saying ‘healthcare’… it says something and nothing.
Peter showed the Gartner hype cycle from last year (2015). It showed IoT at the peak of ‘inflated expectation’. After this stage come the trough of disillusionment.
Peter’s view of the IoT is that the challenge is with the word ‘of’ in Internet of Things. Steve described the ‘of’ in social terms… on social networks such as Twitter we follow people. In IoT we follow machines.
He outlined a case study where BUG Labs were brought in by an office furniture company to make their chairs IoT enabled. At first they asked why, and then ran a brainstorming session to see what they could come up with. In the end they created a sort of Fitbit for office chairs… such as displaying warnings of sitting still for too long. They also showed chair utilisation across Coca Cola’s meeting rooms.
Peter showed some other examples. And that was a theme from the decent speakers at Smart IoT. I’ve started reading Thingalytics which was being given away to VIP guests at the show, and it goes through dozens of case studies and how every industry could will be impacted by IoT.
At the end of Peter’s slick presentation he showed a concept his company have been working on… remember I talked about following machines? If you go to dweet.io on your smartphone, the device will be ‘registered’ (sort of anonymously) and you can follow other devices. BUG Labs have gone on to produce freeboard.io which extends dweet.io to provide a dashboard of stats about the device. And apparently some organisations use this commercially.
I thought Peter was one of the smartest presenters at the show, and someone to keep an eye on.
IoT getting beyond the hype
Audi Lucas from Wipro gave the last presentation in this theatre (and I went back to the office straight afterwards).
Audi said that there are two things which will change product companies in the next 10 years:
- 3D printing (the supply chain, the speed of recreating assets, stock storage, timeliness, etc.)
- Internet of Things (connected products)
He explained that IoT will be as big a revolution since James Young discovered how multiple products could be made from oil (plastics as well as fuel, although the latter wasn’t realised for some time).
Audi quoted that in the 20th century companies and countries rose to power out of access to raw materials such as oil. In the 21st century the raw materials will be data – the new commercial oil.
He described how Google isn’t a search company, Facebook isn’t a media company… they are both data companies.
Audi’s main case study were GE’s power plants, which incidentally is one of the first case studies in the Thingalytics book, but I digress… these big power plants create vast amounts of data to help GE improve the power output and the failure prediction. Both are enabled via the data streamed from sensors inside the plant. Apparently, just one of these failure predictions could have paid for the full investment in connectivity alone.
He provided one of the biggest lessons they have learned – that Enterprise paradigms don’t work. You need to think on Internet scale because the amount of data streamed is huge. The GE plant streams the equivalent to over half the amount of data that Twitter produces.
His second lesson was to think about legacy devices… as soon as one device is updated, the units in circulation are legacy.
On a positive side though, the business case for IoT devices is proportional to the number of sensors/ users.
His final lesson was to always think about security, and he observed how the Smart IoT part of the conference was placed next to the Cloud Security expo.