INTERNET OF THINGS - about how media industries can benefit from a network of connected things
a pocket guide from Media Evolution
Media Evolution This publication is published by the media cluster Media Evolution. We are working to boost growth in the media industries in southern Sweden. One of our key areas is gathering intelligence to monitor whatâ€™s going on in the media industries across the globe. We take that information and use it to highlight opportunities and business models that our members, and media industries in general, can exploit and develop. www.mediaevolution.se
INTRO by Media Evolution
An opportunity for the media industries
hen the world’s major telecom companies are vying to outdo each other in predicting how many connected devices we will have around us in the future — the head of Ericsson believes it will be 50 billion by 2020 — we can safely say there is much that will be connected.
“the head of Ericsson believes there will be 50 billion connected things by 2020”
In this publication we will look into what opportunities there are for the media industries to take advantage of the Internet of Things. Miranda Edner at IBM writes about how their technology can be used by media producers, David Cuartielles, a founder of the open hardware platform Arduino, explains how to use it and Dennis Rosinder from Magisty writes about the data that are already available on which services can be built.
4 A network of connected devices 6 Imagining an Internet of Things 8 The music of Traffic Lights – how would that sound? 10 Collaboration allows us to work with the new material 12 Arduino in the Internet of Things 14 Today, utility, tomorrow fun 16 Telcos provide the connectivity 18 Internet of Things creates A Smarter Planet 20 Ability to create stories in time and space 22 Glossary
Internet of Things February 2012
Publisher: Media Evolution Editors: Caroline Lantau, Sara Ponnert och Martin Thörnkvist firstname.lastname@example.org Design: You Us and Them
WHAT by Martin Thörnkvist
A network of connected devices
he Internet of Things is not a vision of the future, it’s happening. In particular, it’s happening in industrial sectors where the need for efficiency is high. The idea is to link together various sensor systems so they can talk to each other in order to save time, money, and the environment by keeping better track of where things are. We’ve been connected to the internet for over a decade. With sensors (especially GPS) linked to us to a greater extent, we are now also thoroughly connected (at least on the jogging path and on the road). Quite a few years ago we learned that things around us will also be connected, in the context of well-stocked shelves in the refrigerator. Since all the hype about the connected refrigerator, the complexity level has risen and opportunities are starting to arise for those of us working with media production, marketing and visualization. Media and the Internet of Things With sensors everywhere, we will be able to make more informed decisions that will enable us to become more effective. But the big question for those of us who create the media is how to use all these connected sensors. The question is, where does media content fit into this equation? Text, video, audio, and games? What role will it play? Is our knowledge the piece of the puzzle that makes the technology utilitarian, providing the impetus for the Internet of Things to finally take off for real? The major IT companies are investing in building in-
frastructure – an excellent signal for us that it’s time to start thinking about what the network of interconnected things will trigger and what things will be triggered by the media. Interfaces between us and things The Internet of Things is essentially about things that are connected, but it is just as much about the interfaces between the connected things and people. Right now, the spotlight is on technologies like NFC, RFID and QR codes in this context. For the media industries, however, I believe that the development of screens will be the key. Ultimately, we’ll have screens everywhere that can display the media we create, using the interfaces we are developing. In most cases media is being looked at: movies, games, television, literature. Connected screens everywhere, may be what makes media and the Internet of Things a really interesting combination. If we assume that every surface is a connected display the opportunities for the media industries become easier to understand and the potential for clear-sighted future scenarios increases. When the Prime Minister of China is talking about the Internet of Things, it’s time for the media industries to do the same.
Martin Thörnkvist is a business intelligence analyst at Media Evolution.
“If we assume that every surface is an online display, the Internet of Things connection and the media become easier to understand.”
WHAT by Joakim Formo
Imagining an Internet of Things
ave you tried to surf the Internet of Things? Have you seen the new user interface they made for it? Me neither. Or perhaps we have but didn’t realise it? We have had ’things’ for ages, and recently almost everyone have gotten used to the Internet, but it’s a bit difficult to pinpoint exactly what they become when mixed together. Not to mention how to actually use it? Would you ”browse” it? Will there be ”apps”? There is a built-in pedagogical design challenge in the Internet of Things. At Ericsson’s User Experience Lab we interviewed people about their understanding of networked technology and found that most people seem to have a very weak understanding of the “networkedness” of networked devices, meaning the invisible intangible interrelationships between everything that is networked. Understanding with design It seems like people understand the concept of “the network” as something that is a medium for many a-to-b connections and this is why they didn’t have any intuitive feeling for the network as a structure of simultaneous many-to-many interconnections. This puts the whole point, it’s relevance, meaning and potential value of an Internet of Things in a mental blind spot for the big masses of “normal” internet and things users. How can we then make people “get” the Internet of Things, from a user perspective? To make them see beyond all the single connections and give them a natural understanding of the sum of all the interconnections, i.e. the Network as such. Not to mention that they should also intuitively understand how to use it.
”Sociality as a core metaphor for the user interaction could solve the problem since social relations is something that virtually all humans have an intuitive understanding of”
We got the idea that the key could be to substitute the mental model of the network as connections with a mental model borrowed from social networking. Sociality as a core metaphor for the user interaction could solve the problem since social relations is something that virtually all humans have an intuitive understanding of, and thus could be a way to make users naturally aware of the ”networkedness” itself.
Social web of things.
Social Web of Things So we designed and built something that basically is a social network for connected objects and we called it the Social Web of Things. We tested it on people in different parts of the world and listened to what they said about it. What we found was that it really did help them to ”see” the network, intuitively and in a much more holistic way. Immediately and almost without any explanation it became apparent to people that many very different things would be able to literally talk to each other, and to cooperate in order to for example be more cost efficient and energy aware. The key seems to be using the familiar and very human notion of ”friendship” rather than the much more technical ”connection”. Presenting the Internet of Things as if it is a social network proved to be very effective for making people understand the ”networkedness” which we believe is the true power of an Internet of Things. Joakim Formo is Senior Researcher at the User Experience Lab at the research department of the global telecommunications company Ericsson.
HOW by Dennis Rosinder
The music of Traffic Lights – how would that sound?
t often takes time for new technologies to become a natural part of daily life. Players like IBM and Ericsson create the premises for technology within the Internet of Things. But how can smaller players take advantage of the technology for which the large companies are laying the foundation? We are the ones—service providers, media companies and innovators—who will play a major role in developing the true benefits, making the new technology useful and valuable. The idea of how “everything” in the future could be connected is staggering in terms of both public benefit and commercial benefit. We are still decades behind Hollywood’s futuristic scenarios, and we need to start somewhere, but where? The IoT, all things interconnected, needs to be accomplished gradually in order to achieve a healthy development. Start with what we’ve got But do we really need to start from scratch? One idea is to start with what is available in our immediate environment. Cities contain tremendous amounts of data that are stored for statistical purposes, as well as the type of data collected in real time by various sensors located all over the city. A typical example of how this openness can be used is www.dataSF.org – an initiative from the city of San Francisco a few years ago. They made the majority of public data available to the citizens, including data and information on tourism, transportation, police, parking, politics, the environment, civic studies, history, business, etc. Private individuals and companies could then develop
“all things interconnected needs to be accomplished gradually to achieve a healthy development”
Media and the Internet of Things It is not hard to imagine the incredible possibilities that can arise when creative urban minds have access to all this data. Perhaps curious businesspeople might reveal the city’s historical data archive and then involve the movie and gaming industry to create a historical experience through the city streets?
flickr.com/eyedeaz CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
web and mobile services for the benefit of citizens, businesses and visitors. Accessibility combined with people’s mobile internet presence made it possible to achieve a completely new level of civic engagement and belonging. From that point new types of commercial, cultural and tourism services had the potential to be created.
When the traffic lights have their say.
And wouldn’t it be great to be able to see, as soon as you enter the city limits, exactly which car park has a vacant place close to your final destination? What if the artists created an LED art project from the city’s energy flows, or what would it sound like if a composer created street music from the traffic light signals at the base station? So my questions are: which Swedish municipal commissioner will be the first to walk in Armstrong’s footsteps: one small step for man, a huge leap for mankind?
Dennis Rosinder, CEO of Magisty, which help companies to make contemporary technology useful.
HOW by Richard Topgaard
Collaboration allows us to work with the new material
e media producers, programmers, scientists and ordinary users have new material to work with called the Internet of Things. This material is at the boundary between digital and analog, virtual and physical, and between private and public. People have been talking about the Internet of Things as a technical infrastructure for a long time, but it’s getting to be time to think about the values we can create using this infrastructure. This new material is often created without us having to make an effort. It’s already easy to create and have access to data about how you move about the city without manually entering data in a spreadsheet. Open application programming interfaces allow you to create services and products based on publicly available data. Applications for the material There are already many examples of applications based on the new material: apps that automatically send reimbursement claims when your train is delayed, art installations that illustrate how to translate the number of bicycles passing by into dollars, gasoline or carbon dioxide; washing machines that start when the electricity price is lowest, a home that talks to you through social media channels or a car that automatically makes an appointment at the garage when it’s time for an oil change. From the examples above, we can conclude that we have a long way to go when it comes to developing applications that are actually useful for people. The material we have to work with is complex in nature and I believe that
“The material we have to work with is complex in nature and I believe that in the future the ability to work across traditional industry boundaries will be invaluable.”
in the future the ability to work across traditional industry boundaries will be invaluable.
The result may be I Am Poem, a poetry machine that draws its material from the millions of tweets that people, bots and sensors are churning out every day. I Am Poem took shape partly on a website, but also as a hacked label printer and a lever that could “control the speed of the internet”.
What happens, for example, if we let authors and poets work with interaction designers and publishers to create digital poetry?
Printed stream from Pär Thörns poem “I am”.
If we allow many skills to work together, I think we will look back in ten years and wonder why we thought the Internet of Things was so difficult to understand. If we start focusing on human needs and what these needs look like in different types of environments—public spaces, at home, at a concert or on public transportation—then we will be able to create services and products that not only help us with daily chores, but also make us laugh and cry.
Richard Topgaard is a media strategist and developer at Malmö University’s research center for collaborative media, Medea.
HOW by David Cuartielles
Arduino in the Internet of Things
ack in the 80’s, scientists imagined a world where we would be surrounded by a multiplicity of computers. Nowadays, any home appliance is using microcontrollers more powerful than some of the first personal computers. There are so many computers surrounding us, that if all of them had a screen and a keyboard, it would be impossible for us to interact with them. The Internet of Things (IoT) adds one extra degree of complexity to this equation. It brings to our attention that those computers are not living in isolation, they talk to other computers through the internet. Connecting to the net opens up for a world of possibilities where products and services come in bundles offering functionalities we never dreamed of. David Cuartielles The IoT deals with simplifying the way we generate and consume information that is sensitive to be shared online. The issue is then how to create objects that will help designers thinking about new devices.
An open source hardware platform Arduino is an open platform with a whole series of documentation that allows doing just that: creating new connected devices that will serve or collect data in ways that are more meaningful to us. It addresses the fact that you don’t need to be an engineer to envision a new product. In 2005 our platform was used by industrial designers to implement visions of future devices. Back then we didn’t
ambition it to leave the university labs or to be used by a broader audience. Nowadays it can be found at retail stores like Radioshack in the US or Kjell&Co in Sweden. It is manufactured by tens of thousands each month. Students use it when bringing their ideas to life, hobbyist spend time building new concepts out of them, engineers study its development at universities, companies like Apple ask for cv’s of people with ”Arduino knowledge”. It is being cloned at a ratio of one copy for each original board. Use around the world We are crafting collaborations with companies dedicated to the internet as a business model. In May 2011, Google launched their accessory development kit based on one of the Arduino designs. In February 2012 Telefonica announced Arduino’s official M2M (machine-to-machine) board to allow the ”long tail” of the communication business building connected objects including reasonable data-plans attached to them. Arduino has grown beyond expectations and we keep on getting amazed by projects like the one of Sebastian, a 14 year old Chilean teen that managed to get over 30.000 followers on Twitter thanks to an Arduino machine he designed that would post a message when detecting an earthquake. Arduino is a tool to bring us a little closer to a more connected world.
David Cuartielles founded Arduino five years ago together with an international team and is a researcher at Malmö University.
“Connecting to the net opens up for a world of possibilities where products and services come in bundles offering functionalities we never dreamed of.”
WHAT by Robert Bellwaldius
Today, utility, tomorrow fun
hy should a device be connected to the internet, really; what is the purpose and what is driving this trend? Basically, the idea is that if we can get devices to talk directly with each other, we should be able to develop new services that improve our daily lives, create new business, or maybe even raise the entertainment industry to new heights. Already today, applications are being developed for use in the car, with both utility functions and entertainment features. Homes are getting smarter, particularly from an energy perspective. Televisions are disappearing, to be replaced by the media hub: the computer-games console-TVradio are merging with the private media collection; photo albums, home movies and music collection are being integrated into one. But information flows today are by no means connected in a simple manner. Information has to meet somewhere in order to be refined and then generate new intelligent solutions. Service providers will drive development Based on developments in recent years, we can conclude that service providers, not communications providers, had the solutions. They did so simply by developing services that are not dependent on communication channels and instead developing services from a user perspective: Skype, Spotify, 100Koll, or any service in a mobile that works as long as there is internet connection. Already now, it seems like we more or less deliberately allow these “services” to share information. Information from
“We should be able to develop new services that improve our daily lives, create new business or maybe even raise the entertainment industry to new heights.”
“Lightning flashes across the movie screen; why not a weak echo in my environment, too?”
Visions for filmmakers Consider the filmmaker who can not only display video and audio at home. Add the dimension of smell; clearly there will be a gadget that can generate different types of scents. Obviously, film should be able to automatically generate the right experiences in terms of scents. Personally, I think film should be experienced in a dark atmosphere; it’s not unreasonable to let the filmmaker take advantage of the opportunity to turn off all the A greater film experience. lights in my living room. Or perhaps the cinematic experience should be complemented with light in room, controlled by the film’s storyline. Lightning flashes across the movie screen; why not a weak echo in my environment, too? Of course it could work; “smart” lamps are already available, it just has to be controlled from a movie. Who will be first to provide me with this next generation film experience? Robert Bellwaldius is COO at Maingate, which provides solutions using M2M communication.
flickr.com/mgoulet CC BY-ND 2.0
the music service tells Facebook friends what music I play, while the professional networking site receives information from the travel service that I am taking a trip to London. Meanwhile, my energy consumption drops and notifies the contest service along with all the other contest participants that I’m about to win the energy saving contest.
WHY by Javier Zorzano
Telcos provide the connectivity t can be considered that in developed countries a practical totality of consumers own a mobile phone and nearly all computers have an Internet connection. For the worlds Telecommunication providers (the Telcos), this is a notable achievement, but also a considerable challenge. User base will not grow, meaning bigger revenues will not be generated in the way it used to. Furthermore, market forces drive revenues and margins down. Global roaming The Internet of Things opens up a different landscape. On the one hand and as Robert Louis Stevenson’s verse says: ”The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” In an IoT-world the numbers managed are simply overwhelming. It may take generations to fully connect the physical world. On the other hand, providing this connectivity is something Telcos do naturally, without reinventing themselves. Telcos have the scale, the technology A wired world. and the processes to connect anything, anywhere in the world to the Internet. 2G or 3G networks cover pervasively most of the world’s surface. Satellites reach even the remotest locations. Through Telcos networks Internet connected Things can run out of the box, seamlessly, with no configuration by the owner.
“Telcos have the scale, the technology and the processes to connect anything, anywhere in the world to the Internet.”
flickr.com/deadair CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
New kinds of interaction Keyboards and screens have been our interface to the Internet and its content for a long time. Internet content and services lie in a separate world, the cyberspace, that people sporadically view through a ever-shrinking glass. The Internet of Things allows creators to provide Internet interaction through any kind of physical object. It is especially interesting considering the common objects we use every day as a part of this interface. On the one hand common objects have simpler interfaces, with reduced expressivity. This is a problem. But, on the other hand, these objects fit human tasks and accompany them silently through their lives. Besides, human beings interact strongly with objects, putting lots of feelings into them. So, physical objects give new chances to media companies. People will receive or interact with content through their environment, in a completely immersive experience. Creators will be able to coordinate different interfaces, such as sensors, tools, furniture, screens and, of course, web pages or mobile apps. Of course creators will have to imagine new content structures that fit this new scenario. The challenge is huge but the tools are there and the prize is a fully new world.
Javier Zorzano, Physical Internet Lab at TelefĂłnica Digital
â€œThe Internet of Things allows creators to provide Internet interaction through any kind of physical object.â€?
WHY by Miranda Edner
Internet of Things creates A Smarter Planet
t IBM, we have our own name for the The Internet of Things – A ‘Smarter Planet’ ibm.com/smarterplanet. The initiative can be summarized by the words Interconnected, Intelligent and Instrumented. It involves how we can use sensors placed out in our world and that communicate with each other, or with data centers, which in turn compile and use the information from the sensors to create better grounds for decision making. Not being on board is not an option So why do we want to create a smarter planet, why now? Because that’s where the world is headed. Because the possibilities are there, the sensors are deployed and people and things are constantly connected and can communicate data to smart analytics systems. Because we will need to take advantage of the opportunities to optimize the systems from an overall perspective that the Internet of Things offers, in order to meet the challenges of the next century. Climate change, the financial crisis, growing conflict hotbeds around the world and unevenly distributed resources. Thanks to intelligent smarter systems that optimize transport systems, disease diagnosis, law enforcement control and supply chains, we can reduce the equivalent corresponding amount of greenhouse gases, medical expenses, crime and wasted resources. In Denmark, IBM is participating in a research project on Bornholm involving smarter grids, allowing for a cycle flow of electricity in both directions between wind turbines, electric cars and homes, to charge in one direction when the wind blows and the other on calm days when it doesn’t.
“For the media and experience industries, the opportunities are enormous”
The islanders inhabitants of the island will also have access to a web interface where they can monitor the availability and price of electricity in real time to decide what time of day they prefer to charge their cars. Unimaginable opportunities for media The opportunities for the media and experience industries are enormous. With the recent boom in smartphones and the fact that there will be an estimated 15 billion (twice the world population!) more mobile phones in the next four years, it is easy to see how mobiles will change the game. I envision a future reminiscent of something like the scene in Minority Report, where Tom Cruise enters a store and a digital shop assistant asks him how he liked his last suit and gives him a recommendation on what could be appropriate for him the next time. Although we donâ€™t use the iris of our eyes as a sensor, or eye scanning as a method of position measurement, smart phones offer us a good way to reach out with specific messages that the outside surrounding world wants to give us when we move pass by strategically placed sensors. Iâ€™m waiting curiously to see how the media and entertainment industries chooses to implement these capabilities in the near future.
Miranda Edner, customer account manager at IBM for customers in the retail, wholesale and consumer product industries.
WHAT by Per Johansson
Ability to create stories in time and space
The bench would be able to convey thoughts, impressions, and stories from everyone who ever sat on it. The pigeons could tell about where they prefer to sleep and about what is in the air you breathe. Bridge between local and digital With an Internet of Things that has become as natural as texting is today, we can expect a completely different accessibility and response from and through the physical environment. The boundary between A place full of stories. local and nonlocal (digital) is erased, at the same time that places become deeply meaningful. A fantasy landscape in the midst of daily life. Inspiration can be taken from geocaching, which is based on entering GPS coordinates where a “treasure” is hidden. Then you have to get there. Participants interact with a digital space, but what really happens is that they discover and explore real locations and the path that leads to them. If they could talk to all manner of things along the way—and find out what ideas,
flickr.com/wili CC BY-NC 2.0
he Internet of Things could be constructed so that things become ”bridges” that enable people to come into contact with each other and understand their environment in new ways. Imagine you are in a square and you can talk not only with the people there, but also with the fountain, sculptures, benches, and pigeons. What can they say to you? What can you say to them? Who else has talked to them before? What have they said?
information, pictures others left behind here and there— then the entire physical space could convey an ongoing, more vibrant account of life in the here and now, although, paradoxically, without physical limitations. Endless games and potential meetings could be constructed as needed. Making sense of large amounts of data Meaningful experience is intimately linked to stories. The sum of all the data constantly generated, most of it beyond anyone’s consciousness, can in turn be harvested and illustrated in countless ways, both useful and useless, humorous and serious. Different time dimensions gain a new, immediate significance. Each place, each thing has a future and a history and a series of simultaneous relationships. Enhancing accessibility for all this can raise awareness about what is going on and what we are doing. History can literally be created and recreated on site and in a way that both deepens and broadens the sense of presence. And both intentional and unintentional patterns can be visualized through different interfaces. As more things are actively included in communicating networks, complexity will increase exponentially. An essential task for the media savvy will be to make this complexity transparent and relevant in a way that strengthens human benefit and inspires a sense of participation.
Per Johansson runs his own company, Diakrino, and is co-founder of the think tank Infontology.
“An essential task for the media savvy will be to make this complexity transparent and relevant”
CONTEMPORARY BUZZWORDS by Media Evolution
Glossary Arduino Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. IoT – Internet of Things A concept coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999. It refers to things and sensors that can be identified as unique items that are interconnected in a web-like structure. M2M – Machine-to-Machine A generic term for technologies that allow communication between devices. NFC – Near Field Communication A technology for wireless data exchange over short distances. The standard is a further development of RFID and unlike its predecessor, allows two-way communication between devices.
About this publication This publication comprises texts previously published at www.mediaevolution.se. The idea is to repackage our regular analysis as focused in-depth looks at areas that we think the media industries need to understand a little bit better. We release four publications annually. At our web site you can download or order mail copies of previous and future editions. Internet of Things is published under the Creative Commons licence by-nc-sa. Read more at creativecommons.se
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