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Recalculating: how the internet of things presents new challenges for design.
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Recalculating: how the internet of things presents new challenges for design.


Talk given on October 31st at Cofa in Sydney. http://www.cofa.unsw.edu.au/events/archive/964

Talk given on October 31st at Cofa in Sydney. http://www.cofa.unsw.edu.au/events/archive/964

Published in Design , Technology , Business
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  • Gestures chanes thought by grounding it in action, goldin-meadow
  • Let’s start with an example: a Wi-Fi-enabled scale. You would weigh yourself with it and it posts your weight to a Twitter feed of your choice (private or public). We’re assuming there’s a Wi-Fi chip, a pressure sensor, maybe other sensors included in the scale for future use. There’s also software and firmware updates. There’s a cloud service where the data is stored. There’s an app that helps you keep track, maybe that app has an API so you can get recommendations about dieting.
    So in service design terms, the scale and resulting services have lots of potential “touch points.” But what happens when insurance companies start to follow the hashtag on Twitter and send you messages hoping you’ll sign up to their health insurance if your thin. Or conversely remind you that you are too fat for their current policy?
    What if the Wi-Fi packets can be sniffed so someone can ascertain if you weigh too little to be dangerous against a really bulky robber? What if brands start to sell you healthy salads, shakes, and more based on your trend of weight loss on your tweets? Say a hacker sniffs the data packets sent by your scale and it turns out there are more sensors which produce data that aren’t used currently (like a tiny speaker/mic) and those sensors can tell when you’re around your home.
    What if there’s a database issue and you get shown data online that doesn’t add up to what your product tells you. Who do you believe? Even though some of these scenarios are a little extreme, it paints a useful picture for a conversation about what can be done about data rights and who should do it. There are some ideas:
  • None of this exists right now, if I buy the scale, it’s pretty opaque why data is being gathered apart from whatever mobile experience I may have. I don’t know what other sensors are there, pushing out data, but I should know..
  • For me this goes back to the Fitbit sex scandal where, when given the opportunity, users were very happy tagging their physical activity with a little too much information.
    Fitbit (see disclosure) had assumed that transparency about one’s own data would make people responsible for it. No such luck, so they had to impose a “private by default” setting overnight. Knowing and understanding the landscape around the privacy and security issues we will encounter in the world of connected devices means that we have to rethink our policies around the data and the objects. Only then can we design interactions that make sense and tools people can use.
  • This means we might end up with short URLs printed at the bottom of every connected object that points to the data being gathered by that particular object. A Data Collection Act. Something akin to the provenance and recycling signs on most plastic goods. This is also data someone might be able to “claim” the way someone can claim a Twitter account if they are the owner
  • This is very much part of the conversation about the value of data. Like selling your home-generated energy back to the grid. If my scale is helping a company understand weight fluctuations across the year and inform the sizes that should be stocked in stores, it should be both transparent but also possibly remunerative to the original producer of the data.
    These points are also about engaging in a conversation about the public/private nature of data. If I take my weight data to the gym, can the gym use it for its own analytics about how much progress people make at this gym? If my city scale can weigh me and connect to the same data, can it send me Foursquare recommendations via Twitter because it knows which restaurants have more salads around me now that it knows where I am?
  • airqualityegg.com/‎
  • japan.failedrobot.com/‎
  • www.chromaroma.com/‎
  • http://designswarm.com/blog/2012/04/iot-references
  • www.arduino.cc
  • airqualityegg.com/‎
  • Also : http://gigaom.com/2013/10/03/designing-security-into-the-internet-of-things/


  • 1. Recalculating... How the internet of things presents new challenges for design. @iotwatch designswarm
  • 2. Est. in London since 2007. @arduino @tinkerlondon @GNLteam
  • 3. •  What? •  What data does. •  How? •  Why?  
  • 4. open* embedded connectivity everywhere
  • 5. embedded invisible easy built in
  • 6. connectivity wifi radio / zigbee GSM Low energy Bluetooth
  • 7. everywhere everyday boring things
  • 8. Things we know already Ambient Umbrella. Pebble. Glowcaps.
  • 9. App-cessories Nest. Teddo. CubeSensors. Nike +. August.
  • 10. Totally new products Little Printer. Nabaztag. BleepBleeps.
  • 11. privacy the right to know what data is being collected about you and why. protect your confidentiality and privacy explicit permission granted if a third party receives requests to de-anonymize your data set.
  • 12. data collection act? tinyurl.com/ bottle12345
  • 13. publishing You should be granted license to data that is created, collected or otherwise generated about you. If that’s from public space, you should have a role in decision-making and governance.
  • 14. publishing You should have the right to remain anonymous, or the ability to license data on an anonymous basis and/or at a different granularity/resolution.
  • 15. open* accessible transparent findable
  • 16. how?
  • 17. chips dev boards cloud apps products
  • 18. chips Intel ARM
  • 19. dev boards Arduino RaspberryPi BeagleBone mbed Galileo
  • 20. cloud Xively IFTTT Thingworx bergcloud …
  • 21. products TechShops Makerspace 3D printing Google Sketchup
  • 22. designers are an afterthought for the maker community.
  • 23. The inventor model.
  • 24. The designer model.
  • 25. The Maker model.
  • 26. proof of concept video funding shipping = 6 months
  • 27. How to survive •  learn how to code •  hang out with makers •  become an aggressive marketer
  • 28. How to survive •  •  •  •  learn about the tech learn about the web hang out with makers become an aggressive marketer
  • 29. Clients are interested •  IBM, Cisco, Intel •  Samsung, Nokia •  Phillips
  • 30. Good Luck. alex@designswarm.com @iotwatch @GNLteam @iotlondon @eyehub slides: designswarm.com/blog