I managed to make it to the CloudCamp London meeting at St James Church last night having missed the previous one (which was on the subject of Big Data). This time the theme of the evening was the Internet of Things (IoT), which was a bit further “out there” than the usual discussion topics but really interesting all the same.
The key thing I took away from the evening (apart from some beer and jelly beans from one of the sponsors) was to have been reminded about what incredibly revolutionary times we are living through (it’s easy to forget or take it for granted) – when we look back in the future, the Internet revolution and the democratisation of mass communication will just be seen as the first steps on the road.
The evening started with an intro from Simon Wardley, which was as usual, excellent and engaging. This was followed by an overview of the history of IoT – the first webcam’d coffee pot etc – which set the scene nicely, and then the rather more random lightning presentations kicked off. Here’s a few notes on the more interesting of them:
Open source hardware – very interesting stuff from Paul Downey – discussing 3D printing and various open source hardware projects. The key takeaway for me here relating to IoT was that these various projects (e.g. Arduino and variants forked from it) will be a key driving force in keeping costs and IP barriers down, and so therefore will enable the creation of massive volumes of “things” in the IoTs.
Cookie Law – Kuan Hon revisited a subject that I’ve seen her speak on before. The previously delayed so called “cookie law” now comes into force on 26th May and Kuan reviewed what it means, it’s breadth and impacts – which are SIGNIFICANT. The key point I think is about enforcement – it has significant implications for advertising/marketing sectors, but it all depends on whether non-compliance is publicly tackled and punished. The relationship to the subject of IoT is that the law uses the term “terminal equipment” to define its scope – and so that can include pretty much anything – apps on mobiles, maybe RFID, maybe NFC (that’s not clear yet it seems) as well as the standard web apps, HTML5 storage etc. So, many of the things in the IoT would be within scope and therefore require explicit customer permission to be granted for data storage etc – e.g. your Internet-enabled TV.
IoT and Science Fiction – OK, this was a bit “out there”, but there were a few interesting takeaways/provocations. Firstly, IoT is going to make IPv4 address exhaustion an even more critical issue. Secondly, security of IoT devices is going to be a key battleground of the future – as more and more devices become “connected” we will become more dependant upon them and so any failure or virus attack will be utterly devastating, e.g. if you come to rely on your Google Project Glass specs to find/do/remember anything, you’ll be pretty screwed when they bluescreen on you :)