The Internet Gets Real


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Manifestations of the Web in Everyday Objects

Steve Winton, NixonMcInnes

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  • Today’s topic...

    The Internet Gets Real -- Manifestations of the Web in Everyday Objects

    Alternative title:

    “Look what we’ve got, a real boy!”
  • ...some might say (and quite often do), although I prefer ‘technologist’

    I work @NixonMcInnes in the, as yet unannounced, in-beta Applied Technology practice

  • Applied Tech. exists to ...

    enrich life, and educate and empower others
    by developing innovative technical solutions to everyday problems

    or, simply, to make LIFE EASIER
  • The Dawn of Time, otherwise know as 1990

    1. The Web of Documents - human readable
    2. The Web of Data - machine readable
    3. The System of Systems
  • We’re going to take a look at The Physical Web...

    Humans, talking to and controlling everyday objects via the Web, those everyday objects talking back

    Also, everyday objects talking to each other

    [background image is nabaztag, the internet connected rabbit]

  • A prediction from 2008:

    Every device has the potential to become network-connected, delivering information to, or from, a web service

    from O’Reilly Radar

    We’re expanding device to cover pretty much any real-world object
  • BUT, we’re running out of numbers!!!

    A bit of ancient history... back in early 90s BT had to split the dialling codes for London into two (081, 071) due to the high number of devices requiring a phone line (fax machines were all the rage back then!)

    Similar situation with the Internet now. The Internet’s current capacity will likely be exhausted by 2012.

    IPv6 is set to address this, allowing for same # of IP addresses per person as there are atoms in 1 metric ton of carbon FACT

    I’ve also heard that IPv6 will give us enough space to address every grain of sand on Brighton beach (I’ve not verified this myself)
  • Back in 2005, we had ReadywhenUR, aka SMS Kettle, which allowed you to control your kettle (tell it to boil) remotely via your mobile phone.

    Used SMS as the communication layer

    Quite a high barrier, required access to a mobile network
  • Nowadays it’s much easier, thanks to Twitter, which can act as the vehicle by which we send and receive messages to each other and the real world around us.

  • Twitter not just a marketing/PR tool or a way of broadcasting/listening to your network, although it is very useful for that

    Part of the original concept for Twitter was for it to be a utility, to act as a conduit, a messaging layer, one part of a bigger vision.

    Thanks to this, it’s now much easier to connect with the real-world via the Web using Twitter’s APIs

    It’s also free, real-time, and mobile-friendly (and open in some/most regards)

  • Another important piece of the puzzle, the browser, our ‘window to the web’.

    It’s ubiquitous, present in:

    * Desktops
    * Mobiles
    * Televisions
    * Games consoles
    * ...

    You can produce sophisticated, slick interfaces (HTML5 photoshop) or quick-and-dirty interfaces both really quickly

    The browser is therefore our universal interface to the physical web, allowing us to build the interfaces by which we can communicate with the physical world via the Web!
  • Demo time!

    or, here’s one I made earlier...
  • Allow me to introduce you to our Web-enabled, Twitter-powered office stereo!


  • Please send us your tunes when you get back to the office!
  • Please send us your tunes when you get back to the office!
  • The initiating tweet
  • The response
  • Other examples

    Some fun, some practical

    Some connect directly to the web, others require some manual intervention (privacy)
  • Bubblino, an arduino bot that blows bubbles every time its name is mentioned on Twitter

  • Fiat Eco-drive, records your driving habits, and suggest ways of improving them to become more economical

    There’s also an online community
  • Olinda, a digital radio that has your social network built in, showing you the stations your friends are listening to

  • Poken, a social business card.

    Connect your poken with another owner’s poken and your social media details will be exchanged.

    e.g. you become friends on Facebook, connected on LinkedIn etc.
  • Nike+

    Your shoes record your running performance, and allow you to share it with the wider world on the web
  • Botanicalls

    Your pot plants tell you when they need watering
  • Other possibilities

  • Thanks for your time!

    Any questions/responses?
  • The Internet Gets Real

    1. 1. The Internet Gets Real Manifestations of the Web in Everyday Objects Steve Winton, NixonMcInnes
    2. 2. I’m Steve! A geek, some might say I work @NixonMcInnes, within the Applied Technology* practice *a brand-new service offering, currently in-beta and yet to be formerly announced
    3. 3. Applied Tech... ...piecing technology together, in interesting ways, to solve real world problems... make life easier
    4. 4. Back to the Dawn of Time... 1. The Web of 2. The Web of 3. The System Documents Data of Systems
    5. 5. The Physical Web - talking to, and controlling, everyday objects via the Web, everyday objects talking back
    6. 6. “Allelectronic devices will be active participants in the future Internet.” - The Future Internet, STI International. Oct. 2009
    7. 7. One small problem... ...we’re running out of numbers!
    8. 8. An early example (ca. 2005): Control your kettle via SMS!
    9. 9. Thanks to our friend... ( ) These things are somewhat easier now!
    10. 10. Twitter as a utility
    11. 11. Time for a demonstration of... ...The Power!
    12. 12. Introducing... ...@nmstereo... ...Our crowdsourced, Web- enabled, Twitter-powered, office stereo!
    13. 13. Allow me to demonstrate... Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!
    14. 14. The technical bit... - Listens to Twitter for mentions of nmstereo - Grabs any Spotify track URIs - Plays, tweets and scrobbles - Notifies so others can listen along, in real time
    15. 15. Rules is rules... 1. Absolutely no Rick-Rolling! 2. Wednesdays, 3pm, reserved exclusively for The Love Hour™!
    16. 16. Some other real-world examples
    17. 17. Bubblino
    18. 18. Baker Tweet BakerTweet
    19. 19. Fiat Eco-drive
    20. 20. Olinda
    21. 21. Big Ben Tower Bridge
    22. 22. Nike+
    23. 23. Future possibilities...
    24. 24. Limited only by our imaginations
    25. 25. -What could your real- world app do?
    26. 26. Thanks for listening!