May 22nd, 2013 Huge UX: The Internet of Things
On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, OLC attended Huge UX’s event, The Internet of Things featuring Peter Semmelhack from Bug Labs, Matt Cottam from Tellart and Chad Jones from Xively. The event dealt with the introduction of sensory technologies in our lives and the future.
The panelists first introduced themselves to the audience before the moderator launched into the series of questions prepared for the panelists.
“Bug Labs was founded in 2006 We’re open-source hardware and I just wrote a book—a compendium, if you will, about what we learned as we progressed our business,” Peter Semmelhack said.
“I’m an industrial designer by trade. In 1999, I realized that what we designed had digital cuts, so my friends and I started thinking about craft. We started a company that is comprised of industrial designers, electrical engineers and graphic designers,” Matt Cottam said.
“Xively is an expansion of Cosm. We’re about processing the creation of the Internet of things,” Chad Jones said.
The moderator asked how the panelists saw the internet evolving.
“I don’t really know—a variety of things are useful—sensory computing, cloud—honestly, it’s going to be a very smooth ride in design. We treat it all the same way. Our goal is to have a hands-on experience with electrical hardware like wood,” Cottam said.
“We worked with companies that always asked ‘What in it for me?’ So we know what companies want. What started to happen is if you’re a maker of things, it became harder and harder for you. The internet is a great way to harness the services and people within this space. DIY will happen, but right now there isn’t a business model,” Semmelhack said.
“I looked for an alternative internet, but it’s the same thing. A couple of things I was excited about is transforming products into experience. It makes products more personal and relevant to our experiences. The internet is a tool to drive to the product, but it’s the experience that’s the fundamental factor. It’s like we’re all in it together. That brings brand loyalty. We’re creating a whole new technology to bring a whole new innovation,” Jones said. 
“What do you think about finding a viable business model?” the moderator asked.
“I think the problem is controlling the internet to the internet of things. For the most part, the world was dominated by Microsoft, but on the internet of things, it’s enormously fragmented. You can scale almost immediately, but the problem is that it’s very fragmented. You can’t get to the market as easily as you should. Products thave to come out with precedents that people can play with,” Semmelhack said.
“One thing you see on the web is futuristic videos from people about the promise of the future of the internet. I think there is a surplus of technologies that designers can use. I’m sick of hearing people say what the next step is. I don’t have the answers, but what I’m trying to say is that it’s dangerous. It’s time for businesses to step up,” Cottam said.
“One of the best and worst things on the internet of things is dreaming really big. There are real problems we can solve today,” Jones said. The problem, at least to Jones, was the absence of frictionless integration to solve the current disabling step-by-step process.
“People talk about making lives easier, but the expectations increase too. What implications do these have on our lives?” the moderator asked.
“It’s unclear if return on investment is consistent—there are people in the same business that are not making some money as software developers. We speak different languages and have different cultures—we’ve at least found that out in our experience,” Cottam said.
“Who will own the internet of things?” the moderator asked.
“I don’t think anyone will own it. In the end, it’s trying to impose an economic on the internet of things. The internet is free,” Semmelhack said.
“First of all, data is yours. Data isn’t a currency. It doesn’t sit well with me. The keyword here is, ‘own’. A lot of people want to own data,” Jones said. 
“How much do you think people owning, knowing and controlling data will impact where things?” the moderator asked.
“There is a way to figure out location and selling that location data to a third party, there can be recommendations on your phone that are location specific. The question is, where does it end?” Cottam said.
“The cliff we’re going off now, the data we’re giving away now, we’re going to look back and hit ourselves on the head. Think about predicted analytics. It’s going to be able to predict your life. What can we do more? On one side, it’s an amazing road we’re moving towards, but on the other, it’s a privacy concern,” Jones concluded.