LeWeb 12: Mid-conference report

So half way through the conference and what are my impressions?

The internet of things is complicated. Is it just on your phone? Is it the quantified self? Is it toys? Is it switches and buttons that you put round your house? is it embedded processors in cars and coffee machines. One thing that is missing is some discussion of what do we mean. At Futures of Entertainment in MIT last month, there was time to discuss meanings and semantics and common language. Here, with the focus on show me something new now, we can be left foundering in meanings and definitions without clarity.

Just because you have a new product announcement that may have a finger in the real world does not mean that you can talk with authority about the internet of things. There are lost of short speeches, of talks from the big companies that have nothing concrete and credible to say about the theme but have something small to announce. Just because of the scale and the PR around this conference they need to be seen and need to be seen to say something. But my challenge is not to tell me about something new – as in a product – but get me to think something new. Challenge my preconceptions about the world

The internet of things is not a new topic – as Adam Tinworth says, other conferences look to the future, Le Web looks at the now and what is happening. And what we are seeing is commercialisation and the start of commoditisation. The barriers are coming down. I don’t need to be an expert in circuits and soldering to connect my cupboard to the web. I just need to buy the right part. It’s not yet open to all, but the toys and tools are getting there so that people are interacting now without considering it the internet of things, this new thing, it’s just life and how things happen. Being able to turn my lights on as I turn into my street or turn the car heating on remotely as I drink my coffee in the morning. Everything is becoming connected and the connections are becoming invisible.

So that’s it after a day and a half. Time to dig in and get typing for the rest of the sessions

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