ThingsCon Log (20 Nov 2017): One week to ThingsCon Amsterdam

It's just over a week to ThingsCon Amsterdam!


ThingsCon Amsterdam is coming up. The global gathering of our growing community take place on Nov 30/Dec 1 and what a program the team put together. There's too much to list here, but let us name just a few of the highlights:

  • Keynotes & talks by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (Designswarm, iotmark), Bas van Abel (Fairphone), Scott Jenson (Google), Tobias Revell (Strange Telemetry, Haunted Machines), Rob van Kranenburg (Council), Ugo Vallauri (The Restart Project), Jasmina Tesanovic (Casa Jasmina), Iohanna Nicenboim (TU Delft), Nazli Cila (Amsterdam University), Marcel Schouwenaar (The Incredible Machine) and many more (50+ speakers!)
  • Talks & workshops covering a wide range of super relevant and timely topics including smart city design and responsibe urban spaces, ethics for designers, manufacturing for IoT, rapid prototyping, GDPR for things, open source innovation, iotmark/certification for IoT, China, edge computing, and of course the lovely connectiklaas workshop for building a connected Sinterklaas gift for your loved ones.
  • ThingsCon Talents, a new program item to highlight the most interesting works by students in the IoT space, including a contest judged by ThingsCon Fellows and a talent night.

If you're interested at all in IoT and taking the contribution of our community to the next level to make a large scale positive impact, you really don't want to miss this event. Register here today!


The first ThingsCon event in Nairobi will take place on December 8th in collaboration with GIZ. Things are developing quickly. Learn more and register here.

Keep an eye on for details.


Department of deep thinking

Decision Making Under Stress. Studying the factors that affect the decision making capability of groups in extreme or remote environments, researchers found that "under acute (short-lived, high intensity) stress we focus on short-term rapid responses at the expense of complex thinking." Now while that's hardly a surprise, it's a good reminder. I'd argue this applies not just to individuals or groups in extreme physical environments but also those in extreme mental/business environments: Think founders under extreme financial pressure to deliver. It's good to keep a calm head as extreme pressure leads to sub-optimal decisions.

Department of artificial thinking

Not one but two promising AI research institutes have recently opened up (via Sentiers):

Given that the lines between IoT, AI and robotics are increasingly blurred, it's good to see more research popping up in that space. And led by such ace founders too!

Department of fishy things

  • A robotic spy among the fish. Fascinating research into how fish communicate and coordinate, conducted via robotic fish that sneak into shoals of fish and participate.
  • Who's in charge of securing the internet of things? Stacey Higginbotham offers a somber, and absolutely worth reading, account of the state of security in IoT: "Amidst some of the terrifying data points and an amusing chart that claims that business leaders aren't worried enough about IoT security, there was one worthwhile point. In many cases enterprise respondents said there is real confusion about who is responsible for securing the internet of things. That may be because IoT is just a fancy way of describing devices connected to your network, and traditionally some of those devices were not part of IT's domain, but it's also a organizational question we should be talking about."
  • The tech industry needs a moral compass. Rachel Coldicutt of the UK's Doteveryone makes the case for an "ethical pivot":

    Making it undesirable to profit from inhumane technology, and making it somehow “cool” to reference your moral compass, is not as flippant as it sounds. Personal and social awareness of the impact of your work can and should become a new building block for personal credibility. The “ethical pivot” could be respected by shareholders, and CEOs could say, “We were wrong. We didn’t need to verify that account/monetise that content/harass those employees, so we’ll stop now and make some reparation.” Risk registers and success metrics could prioritise human and social effects alongside economic gain.

Department of future things


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Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

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