Recently we attended an event run by the Technology Strategy Board entitled Kickstarting the Internet of Things ecosystem. It was an interesting day, exploring the possibilities and opportunities and trying to pin down what the Internet of Things really is.
We didn't draw any firm conclusions, and there tended to be a split between those favouring a top-down, plan it out and build a platform for it all to run on, and those of us advocating an agile, bottom-up, we can start building (and benefitting from) it right now approach.
Part of the reason for the event was for the TSB to gain a better understanding of the whole area, and as a result the day followed a pretty fluid and changing format. Initially they asked for people to volunteer to talk, but when it became clear there were more talks being proposed than could be accommodated they suggested something nearer to a barcamp-style wall of proposals, which were voted on by the attendees.
Having not attended any TSB events before, it was tricky to know the composition of the audience and therefore pitch a talk. I figured that explaining some of the challenges and lessons I've learned in actually getting hands-on with building a part of the Internet of Things would be useful.
On the day, my talk didn't quite garner enough votes (a blessing as it wouldn't have fit well into the pared-down 2-minute slots we ended up with to give more time for group work) but it seems a shame not to share it.
Here it is, it's best to click through and view it on slideshare directly as then you'll be able to see the notes that accompany each slide.
In addition to the talks, we'd also been asked to take along an object (or a picture of an object) that represents the Internet of Things. Naturally, Bubblino had accompanied me down to London but I was rather surprised at the lack of other examples. Fiddian had brought along an Arduino board (which was handy to help explain what powers Bubblino) and Usman, of Pachube fame, had the original 'Live Wire' network monitor (a real piece of ubicomp and Internet of Things history), but that was it. Duncan summed it up nicely in this tweet:
When you spend all your time surrounded by others who are getting on and making this stuff a reality it's easy to forget that we're leading the way.