Monthnotes for April 2017


A bird’s-eye view of Shenzhen’s HuaqiangBei market road

Sitrep: I’m in Madrid, fighting jetlag with strong Americanos in a lovely little neighborhood café. When I got up from the last real bed I had been in Shenzhen. In the 30 or so hours since then, I rode cabs, ferries, metros and planes; I strolled through Hong Kong and tried not to fall asleep in Abu Dhabi. But now I’m here, and using the temporary downtime of a rainy post-lunch Saturday Madrid afternoon to write up these #monthnotes while everything’s still fresh on my mind.

April just flew by. A deep dive in not one but two writing projects followed by the above-mentioned trip to Shenzhen meant it was a month full of intense input and output—lots and lots of both.


Essential writing from 2016


As 2017 is picking up steam and (especially under the ThingsCon banner) we’re working to make it a pivotal year for the creation of a responsible & human-centric internet of things (IoT), it’s worth having a look back at some of last year’s writing output.

Specifically I wrote, or helped write, a number of pieces on a range of topics that I hope will be relevant for a while to come.

Understanding the Connected Home: Thoughts on living in tomorrow’s connected home
Co-authored with Michelle Thorne. Second edition, July 2016.
The second edition of our ebook, fully revised and updated. It’s about designing connected homes in a way that’s great to live in, about the opportunities and challenges inherent in data-driven homes, and about the deeper questions we should ask ourselves when connecting our homes. Available at theconnectedhome.org, in a somewhat shortened, serialized version on Medium (starting here), and on the Kindle Store in a Kindle-optimized version.

Smart cities in the 21st century: Humanity on the move: The transformative power of cities
Co-authored with Prof. Dr. Christoph Bieber. April 2016.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Bieber and I were kindly asked to contribute some research and policy recommendations for a larger report for the German federal government around the role of cities and urbanization in the 21st century. The report is called “Humanity on the move: The transformative power of cities” (Der Umzug der Menschheit: Die transformative Kraft der Städte) and published through WBGU, the German Advisory Council for Global Change. You can find an English-language executive summary, some background, and all the links to the full documents (DE) are in this blog post.

Shenzhen: View Source
November 2016.
As part of a fact-finding and research trip we gathered a small alliance around open and responsible IoT (I was wearing my ThingsCon hat) and visited Shenzhen, China, where the majority of connected products are made for the rest of the world. It was a remarkable whirlwind experience. Here’s a series of blog posts of write-up. We’ll be back in Shenzhen for a larger ThingsCon event in April 2017.

Also, a shout-out to a report that Michelle Thorne, head of Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio (and full disclosure, my wife) co-wrote: We all live in the computer now. A NetGain paper on society, philanthropy and the Internet of Things (PDF). I was not involved in this report in any way, but it does touch on a few of the core themes we also tackle with ThingsCon and is full of great examples of the good and bad of IoT.

You can find a list of interviews, articles, and other publications at thewavingcat.com/media.

Launching TheConnectedHome.org


Over last few weeks I’ve been publishing a series of posts around connectivity and the home (Understanding the Connected Home).

Cover: Understanding the connected homeToday we’re taking this to the next level. Michelle and I teamed up for a book sprint, and after a full week in the word mines of writing, we’re proud to present…

TheConnectedHome.org: Thoughts on living in tomorrow’s connected home.

It’s a collection of essays – a v0.9 book so to speak – and a research pool for future work. We’ll continue to write it in the open, via Github/Gitbook and licenced under Creative Commons (by-nc), so it’s largely free to remix and re-use. It’s also a work in progress, so be gentle for now.

Feedback’s more than welcome! And if you’d like to get involved, ping one of us. Enjoy!

Click here to jump on over to TheConnectedHome.org!

KANT Report: Health


Doing reporty thingies.


Over at KANT we sat down for a topic sprint, a one-day effort to collaboratively dive deep into a topic and produce a somewhat substantial report. Our topic for this first round: Health & technology.

Cross-posting the KANT announcement:

At KANT, we regularly explore new topics. One that some of us had been touching on a few times before is the larger (and admittedly vague) area of health and fitness/lifestyle technology.


So we decided to sit down for a one-day content sprint and write a report. It’s a format we experimented with based on the book sprint methodology, but compressed into just one day. Five people, hacking away at the topic from early morning to late in the evening. It’s both highly collaborative and intense. And while it would be great to spend more time digging deeper, we’re quite happy with the result.


So without further ado, here it is. Our first KANT report. You can download the KANT Report HEALTH in full as PDF and epub.




And if you want to work with us to dig deeper, get in touch. You know how to find us.

BÄM – my lead article for the upcoming issue of t3n magazine is online




For next week’s print issue of t3n magazine, I wrote the lead article. It’s mostly an overview of the macro trends shaping the technology landscape right now: The Internet of Things, Big Data, context-aware services, R&D and experimentation, that kind of thing.

The article is part of the issue’s preview available online (it’s in German).

And while you’re there, why don’t you also check out Martin‘s piece on IoT in the same issue. Subscribers get the print copy next week, and it’ll be in stores the week after.


T3N #33: BÄM There’s a Scoble on the cover.


t3n 33 Photo by Martin Spindler.