Tagpublication

“View Source: Shenzhen” is now out

&

View Source: Shenzhen cover

Executive Summary: 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. We documented our experience and insights in View Source: Shenzhen.

Download View Source: Shenzhen as a as a PDF (16MB) or…
read it on Medium.

View Source is the initiative of an alliance of organizations that promote the creation of a responsible Internet of Things:

  • The Incredible Machine is a Rotterdam-based design consultancy for products and services in a connected world.
  • The Waving Cat is a Berlin-based boutique strategy, research & foresight company around the impact and opportunities of emerging technologies.
  • ThingsCon is a global community of practitioners with the mission to foster the creation of a responsible & human-centric IoT.
  • Mozilla Foundation’s Open IoT Studio aims to embed internet stewardship in the making of meaningful, connected things.

Along for part of the ride were two other value-aligned organizations:

  • Just Things Foundation aims to increase the awareness about ethical dilemmas in the development of internet connected products and services.
  • ThingsCon Amsterdam organizes the largest ThingsCon event globally, and also organized a guided delegation of European independent IoT practitioners to Shenzhen which coincided with our second Shenzhen trip.

What unites us in our efforts is great optimism about the Internet of Things (IoT), but also a deep concern about the implications of this technology being embedded in anything ranging from our household appliances to our cities.

About this document

This document was written as part of a larger research effort that included, among other things, two trips to Shenzhen, a video documentary, and lots of workshops, meetings, and events over a period of about a year. It’s part of the documentation of these efforts. Links to the other parts are interspersed throughout this document.

This research was a collaborative effort undertaken with the Dutch design consultancy The Incredible Machine, and our delegations to China included many Dutch designers, developers, entrepreneurs and innovators: One of the over-arching goals of this collaboration was to build bridges between Shenzhen and the Netherlands specifically—and Europe more generally—in order to learn from one another and identify business opportunities and future collaborations.

Creative Industries Fund NL
We thank the Creative Industry Fund NL for their support.

*Please note: While I happen to be the one to write this text as my contribution to documenting our group’s experiences, I cannot speak for the group, and don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth. In fact, I use the “we” loosely; depending on context it refers to either one of the two delegations, our lose alliance for responsible IoT, or is a collective “we”. I hope that it’s clear in the context. Needless to say, all factual errors in this text are mine, and mine alone. If you discover any errors, please let me know.

Understanding the Connected Home, 2nd edition

U

Cover: Understanding the Connected Home

The second edition of our book Understanding the Connected Home is out. Michelle Thorne and I fully revised, rewrote and updated this edition. It’s both broader and deeper and reflects our thinking around connected homes and smart homes; IoT and ethics; and some other related fields.

You can read it online at theconnectedhome.org and also find various other formats to download there. For even easier reading, you can find a specially formatted edition of Understanding the Connected Home on the Kindle Store (this is also a way to support this and further books).

Understanding the Connected Home: Shared connected objects

U

This blog post is an excerpt from Understanding the Connected Home, an ongoing exploration on the implications of connectivity on our living spaces. (Show all posts on this blog.) The whole collection is available as a (free) ebook: Understanding the Connected Home: Thoughts on living in tomorrow’s connected home

As anyone who’s lived in a shared household can attest, there will be objects that you share with others.

Be it the TV remote, a book, the dining room table, or even the dishes, the connected home will not doubt be filled with objects that will be used by multiple people, sometimes simultaneously and sometimes even without the owner’s permission.

On the whole, you find wealth much more in use than in ownership. — Aristotle

Rival vs. non-rival goods

What will these shared, connected objects be like? What characteristics will define them?

(more…)

Understanding the Connected Home: VUCA in the connected home

U

This blog post is an excerpt from Understanding the Connected Home, an ongoing exploration on the implications of connectivity on our living spaces. (Show all posts on this blog.) The whole collection is available as a (free) ebook: Understanding the Connected Home: Thoughts on living in tomorrow’s connected home

VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity – is a framework to analyze military situations. It’s since been adapted to management/strategic thinking as well as foresight. We’ll make the case that VUCA can offer some valuable insight into the connected home.

First, a look at the four components of VUCA as explained by Wikipedia:

  • V = Volatility. The nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.
  • U = Uncertainty. The lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.
  • C = Complexity. The multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues and the chaos and confusion that surround an organization.
  • A = Ambiguity. The haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion.

The connected home is a new space we don’t yet understand

We believe that as of today, we have only the earliest understanding on how connectivity in our living environment will change our lives. Hence, applying frameworks designed for strategic analysis and foresight might yield insights.

(more…)

Understanding the Connected Home: Augmentation not Automation

U

This blog post is an excerpt from Understanding the Connected Home, an ongoing exploration on the implications of connectivity on our living spaces. (Show all posts on this blog.) The whole collection is available as a (free) ebook: Understanding the Connected Home: Thoughts on living in tomorrow’s connected home

A pioneer in human-machine interfaces and a solver of unusual problems, Doug Engelbart – inventor of the computer mouse, among other things – had a mantra: augmentation not automation.

Engelbart’s work focused on the human intellect and how to improve it. Yet, his framework conceptual for augmenting the human intellect can guide our exploration of the connected home, too.

(more…)

Understanding the Connected Home: Etiquette

U

This blog post is an excerpt from Understanding the Connected Home, an ongoing exploration on the implications of connectivity on our living spaces. The whole collection is available as a (free) ebook: Understanding the Connected Home: Thoughts on living in tomorrow’s connected home

Being a house guest and host in a connected home will of course in many ways be similar to how humans have socialized for centuries.

But there will also be aspects that are new, or that need to be negotiated. What might that look like?

(more…)

Understanding the Connected Home: Different kinds of things

U

This blog post is an excerpt from Understanding the Connected Home, an ongoing exploration on the implications of connectivity on our living spaces. The whole collection is available as a (free) ebook: Understanding the Connected Home: Thoughts on living in tomorrow’s connected home

The home is full of things that fall into various categories: furniture, lamps, appliances, gadgets, etc. For the connected home, we might need to re-examine these categories.

Which categorization scheme might lead us to interesting insights? Let’s explore a few.

(more…)