ThingsCon development report 2016 & outlook for 2017

We needed a bit of an overview of what happened in 2016 and what's going to happen next year. We figured it might be helpful to share it publicly, too, even if it's phrased a little formally. Here goes.

ThingsCon's core mission is to foster the creation of a human-centric and responsible Internet of Things (IoT). To promote this goal, ThingsCon runs a network of events for professional creators of IoT and connected hardware taking a strongly inclusive, diverse, and interdisciplinary approach, as well as complementary activities.

For the first time, in 2016 ThingsCon opened up for community members to host local events ranging from small meet-ups to full-scale conferences. In this first year this led to ca. 20 local events with around 800 attendees total (this includes one larger event and lots of local salons and meetups). In addition to events, in 2016 ThingsCon expanded activities to include in-house research and advocacy.

Milestones reached in 2016 include:

  • the first ThingsCon events in South America (Brazil) as well as Asia (Shanghai).
  • establishment of an open-academic knowledge sharing program, ThingsCon Labs, to leverage the knowledge generated within the network.
  • first outreach to consumer rights organizations to see how the ThingsCon network can help them navigate IoT within their mandate.
  • a research and fact-finding trip to Shenzhen, China, where more than 90% of global electronics are manufactured, to establish relationships with local researchers and manufacturers for future activities.

Outlook for 2017

In 2017, the global event activity will increase further, and include events in North America (and hopefully Africa), bringing the global footprint to a total of four (maybe five) continents. As of December 2016, plans for 2017 (note: these are still subject to change!) include—in addition to 2016's cities—events in Shenzhen, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Copenhagen, Cologne, Edinburgh, Paris, and London. We expect full conferences (1-2 days, 2-300+ participants each) in Amsterdam, London, and Shenzhen, plus a wide range of smaller events.

This is a current overview of ThingsCon's global footprint:

ThingsCon events are happening all over the globe.

Additionally, to further promote the ThingsCon mission statement we plan to build out our complementary activities to include:

  • Advocacy & publications: Increase the number, frequency, and reach of our publications to promote and amplify good examples of human-centric & responsible IoT, including newsletter, blog, Medium channel, Twitter, and a more comprehensive end-of-year publication.
  • Research: Build out ThingsCon Labs, and engage in further in-house research (incl. another trip to Shenzhen to build on previously established contacts).
  • Stronger institutional backing: Set up a not-for-profit organization for an even clearer mandate, and opportunity to apply for independent funding, and to make it easier for other organizations to interface and partner with ThingsCon.

So that's the current status. Talk soon!