Thinga-me-GIGs: Gathering the Internet of Things Community

Internet of Things

I can’t wait for the Internet of Things, it’s gonna be epic. Wait, no, it’s already here. But it’s gonna be cooler next year, right?

The connected world has been shifting from bits to atoms for a while and it feels like we’re finally riding over the edge of a kind of Cambrian Explosion of connected tools and systems that could reshape every sector of life. Or maybe not, maybe that’s just starry-eyed confirmation bias. We’ve spoken with a lot of people in the last few months about how to stay on top of the Internet of Things (“IoT”) movement.

We’re trying to figure-out what the right level of discussion and engagement is for Northern Ireland’s part in the revolution. So earlier this month we got a few good people around the benches in the sunshine outside the Labs to move things forward. Below are some disjointed notes following that session. Better to think out loud.

We’re planning a series of events around this and would love comments on how to get the most out of them. Also how to create that value in tandem with other events and projects, such as the IoT Belfast meetup, and next month’s Enterprise Forum, where our friends at NISP CONNECT are hosting our friends from Intel to present Intel’s vision for the IoT.

Our next session will be at 18:00 Weds 13 Aug, down here at Farset: IoT Hack – Creative Tinkering & Knowledge Sharing around the Internet of Things. Join us.

Notes from our Discussion:

  1. Definition: what can we agree that Internet of Things actually means? What does it include/exclude? Is there a better or more appropriate name? I think saying “Internet of Things” in ten years will sound like it does now if you call the internet the “Information Superhighway”.
  2. Standards: open standards; proprietary solutions such as Android vs Apple.
  3. Unexplored territory: a lot is happening in a few areas (eg. home and fitness), where is there an unsolved need? What sectors might converge into clusters in future (ie. Biology + Technology is now Biotech), maybe agriculture + connected architecture, or personalised healthcare + medical devices?
  4. The NI angle: identifying the greatest opportunities on home turf, such as finding existing talent and resources; playing to NI’s strengths such as agriculture and the public sector. Who are the local IoT innovators? What are the local needs?
  5. Session format: potentially aim to have something out of each session, such as a blackboard prototype; have people present problems that we can try to solve in the room.

This IoT thing is a big field. Much bigger than us. We invite anyone to join the conversation or, better still, help stimulate activities in Northern Ireland and hack our way into a leading position in the global IoT sector. There are many different pieces to this but together I’m sure we can connect them.