Posts in Announcements
Peter joins the Mozilla Fellows Program

We're very happy to share that Peter Bihr is a Mozilla Fellow for 2018. Through this fellowship, Mozilla supports the creation of an open trustmark for IoT under the ThingsCon umbrella. (Learn more on our IoT trustmark page.)

This fellowship builds on the research we did in 2017 with Mozilla around the potential of a trustmark, and will try to put the insights from this research into action.

This fellowship will allow for the time and effort to draft a trustmark for IoT—what it validates, how it works, etc.—and gather support within the industry and community to prepare a launch. As part of this effort, we'll also be convening groups of ThingsCon experts for workshops, meetups, and discussions, also with support from Mozilla. Most importantly, we'll be sharing openly our learnings (and failings) here and over on Peter's blog. We thank Mozilla for this support.

Full disclosure: Peter's partner works for Mozilla.

ThingsCon Log (22 Jan 2018): World-Sized Robots

Planning for 2018 is in full swing. We don't quite have definite dates for all the upcoming ThingsCon events just yet, but in the first quarter we expect ThingsCon Salons in (at least) Amsterdam, Berlin, Cologne, and Dublin, with a number more on the horizon. We'll keep you updated! Speaking of which: Shout-out to all local event organizers to let us know the planned dates for your cities! (Just hit reply.)


We're also planning a proper ThingsCon event in Cologne this year. More on that soon!


We've been quietly updating and restructuring the /resources/ section of our website. It's nowhere done and will be an ongoing project for a while to come, so if you have any resources we should absolutely include, please give us a shout. For now, you'll find "external" resources at and our own research and publications at—you guessed it—


Dept of world-sized robots If there's one thing you read this week, you could do a lot worse than Bruce Schneier's Click Here to Kill Everyone. With the Internet of Things, we’re building a world-size robot. How are we going to control it?

Dept of European regulation Not as sexy as giant robots, but maybe just as important: TechCrunch has a pretty solid overview of GDPR, aptly titled "TWF is GDPR". It's interesting (and good!) to see they actually appear to support GDPR, not to oppose. Not all, but lots of it will apply to IoT as well.


Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack ( And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter.

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this as a newsletter? Feel free to recommend it! 🙏

AnnouncementsPeter Bihr
Launching the ThingsCon Fellowship Program

We're happy to announce the ThingsCon Fellowship Program. The ThingsCon Fellowship recognizes achievements and commitment that advance the ThingsCon mission of fostering the creation of a responsible and human-centric IoT generally, and support for the ThingsCon community specifically.

With the program, we aim to amplify the fellows’ work in this area and to promote knowledge transfer and networking between fellows and the larger ThingsCon network.

The first round of fellows for 2017/2018 consists of a small cohort of ThingsCon allies. These individuals have over the past years put tremendous effort into advancing and promoting the ThingsCon mission.

We are both humbled and proud to welcome these six outstanding individuals as the inaugural ThingsCon Fellows:

ThingsCon Fellows 2017-18

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino Ame Elliott Dries de Roeck Iohanna Nicenboim Michelle Thorne Ricardo Brito

Together with them we will develop and evolve the ThingsCon Fellowship program through a collaborative process of mutual exchange and shared learning.

Learn more about the program and the fellows on

New report out now: A Trustmark for IoT

For Mozilla, we explored the potentials and challenges of a trustmark for the Internet of Things (IoT). That research is now publicly available. You can find background information, further links, and an executive summary here. You can download the report in full here: A Trustmark for IoT (PDF)

If you're also working on related topics, or if you'd like to work with us to conduct research on how to create a more responsible Internet of Things, please get in touch!

ThingsCon Report: The State of Responsible IoT // Out now!

ThingsCon Report: The State of Responsible IoT Fresh off the presses! We just launched the brand-new ThingsCon report The State of Responsible IoT, a collection of essays by experts from the inter-disciplinary ThingsCon community of IoT practitioners. It explores the challenges, opportunities and questions surrounding the creation of a responsible & human-centric Internet of Things (IoT). For your convenience you can read it on Medium or download a PDF.

It's a critical time in the development of the Internet of Things (IoT). We believe the ThingsCon community has a valuable contribution to make to ensure a future where IoT works for everyone: A responsible & human-centric IoT.

As part of our advocacy this key issue we gathered contributors from across the ThingsCon community and put together a report on the state of responsible IoT.

Learn more about the report, the contributors, and where to find it on

"View Source: Shenzhen" is now out

View Source: Shenzhen cover Please note: This is cross-posted from

Executive Summary: We went to Shenzhen to explore opportunities for collaboration between European Internet of Things practitioners and the Shenzhen hardware ecosystem—and how to promote the creation of a responsible Internet of Things. We documented our experience and insights in View Source: Shenzhen.

Download View Source: Shenzhen as a as a PDF (16MB) or read it on Medium.

View Source is the initiative of an alliance of organizations that promote the creation of a responsible Internet of Things:

  • The Incredible Machine is a Rotterdam-based design consultancy for products and services in a connected world.
  • ThingsCon is a global community of practitioners with the mission to foster the creation of a responsible & human-centric IoT.
  • Mozilla Foundation's Open IoT Studio aims to embed internet stewardship in the making of meaningful, connected things.

Along for part of the ride were two other value-aligned organizations:

  • Just Things Foundation aims to increase the awareness about ethical dilemmas in the development of internet connected products and services.
  • ThingsCon Amsterdam organizes the largest ThingsCon event globally, and also organized a guided delegation of European independent IoT practitioners to Shenzhen which coincided with our second Shenzhen trip.

What unites us in our efforts is great optimism about the Internet of Things (IoT), but also a deep concern about the implications of this technology being embedded in anything ranging from our household appliances to our cities.

About this document

This document was written as part of a larger research effort that included, among other things, two trips to Shenzhen, a video documentary, and lots of workshops, meetings, and events over a period of about a year. It's part of the documentation of these efforts. Links to the other parts are interspersed throughout this document.

This research was a collaborative effort undertaken with the Dutch design consultancy The Incredible Machine, and our delegations to China included many Dutch designers, developers, entrepreneurs and innovators: One of the over-arching goals of this collaboration was to build bridges between Shenzhen and the Netherlands specifically—and Europe more generally—in order to learn from one another and identify business opportunities and future collaborations.

Creative Industries Fund NL
We thank the Creative Industry Fund NL for their support.

Please note: While I (Peter) happen to be the one to write this text as my contribution to documenting our group's experiences, I cannot speak for the group, and don't want to put words in anyone's mouth. In fact, I use the "we" loosely; depending on context it refers to either one of the two delegations, our lose alliance for responsible IoT, or is a collective "we". I hope that it's clear in the context. Needless to say, all factual errors in this text are mine, and mine alone. If you discover any errors, please let me know.

Founding ThingsCon e.V.

We're happy to announce that we're setting up ThingsCon e.V.—a Germany-based membership association—to further promote ThingsCon's mission: To foster the creation of a human-centric & responsible IoT. It's a not-for-profit structure with 7 founding members (as German regulations require) and will be open for new members once the registration process is completed, most likely in April 2017.

A few days ago, we gathered the founding members to kick off the official process (in alphabetical order):

Having this not-for-profit structure will help us interface with other organizations more easily in terms of both advocacy and funding. After all, it's easier for any organization to interface with another organization rather than a lose network of collaborators backed by a small company as has been the case before.

Simultaneously, our friends in the Netherlands have also set up a foundation for ThingsCon Amsterdam. So we're very happy that our little rebel alliance for responsible IoT keeps growing and maturing.

It now includes a "core" ThingsCon group made up one association in Germany and the Netherlands plus local organizers, plus (helping out wherever needed) the founders' companies (The Waving Cat in Germany and The Incredible Machine & in the Netherlands). And we work very closely and side-by-side with a number of other organizations with aligned values and mission statements including the Just Things Foundation, Mozilla's Open IoT Studio and others.

With this organically grown, trust-based setup and two associations that make it even easier to join and support our shared cause and mission, we're in a great position to do what we set out to do: Promote a responsible IoT and make sure that IoT works well for everyone.

ThingsCon goes Shenzhen

Our Shenzhen shenanigans are coming together nicely. April will be all about going (back) to Shenzhen and do a deep immersion into the hardware ecosystem that produces most of the world's connected hardware. Only this time it'll be much easier for you to join in on the fun as there'll be a fully organized trip and a full-on conference!

In November 2016, we were part of a small group of allies—including long-time collaborators and friends from the Just Things Foundation and Mozilla's Open IoT Studio—to explore opportunities to promote our mission of fostering the creation of a responsible & human-centric IoT. Now, half a year later, it's time to go back—and bring a bunch more people, and host a bigger community event.

Our Shenzhen collaborator David Li, head of the Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab (SZOIL), kindly agreed to work with team Amsterdam to organize a trip that you can join (details below). On top of that, he also took the lead in organizing the very first ThingsCon Shenzhen, which takes place during Shenzhen Industrial Design Week.

Details are still in flux, but are coming together step by step now. Just remember the local Shenzhen wisdom: A week in Shenzhen is like a month anywhere else. In that spirit, here's the current state of our plans:

Shenzhen I: The program for a deep immersion into the Shenzhen hardware ecosystem (April 22-28) is available online. Organized by the Amsterdam team in collaboration with Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab, this will be fantastic. Limited seats are available. Learn more at

Shenzhen II: The first ThingsCon Shenzhen (27 April) will happen during the Shenzhen Industrial Design Week (21-29 April), hosted by David Li, head of the Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab and a ThingsCon Amsterdam alumnus. A detailed program will be published soon. Topics will revolve around

  1. A responsible & ethical IoT
  2. How to interface with the Shenzhen hardware ecosystem
  3. IoT opportunities for Africa

As always, keep an eye on for details!

Shenzhen impressions

View Source: Things in Shenzhen (beta) from The Incredible Machine on Vimeo.

Last November we were part of a small delegation of allied organizations and long-time collaborators—the Dutch Just Things Foundation & The Incredible Machine, as well as Mozilla's Open IoT Studio—that visited Shenzhen, China, where most of the world's electronics are made. Above, a short documentation of this trip. (For a longer travel log, see Peter's series of Shenzhen blog posts starting here.)

It was a fantastic experience to do a deep dive into the Shenzhen hardware ecosystem. We got to meet design houses, manufacturers, incubators, and researchers, and visited the famous electronics market. None of this would have been easy (or even possible?) without the great help of David Li, head of the Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab (SZOIL), who kindly hosted us and introduced us to this part of the world.

This April, we're going back to Shenzhen. It's going to be a whirlwind trip with tons going on. Details are still in flux (as a preparation for Shenzhen, you might want to get used to that!), but this time you can join in on the fun. Team Amsterdam teamed up with David once more to organize a full-service trip to Shenzhen (program), and SZOIL hosts a one-day ThingsCon conference that coincides with that trip. It's going to be a lot of fun.

The trip itself will offer the opportunity to meet and visit design houses, manufacturers and the electronics market; ThingsCon Shenzhen will explore a range of topics including ethical IoT, IoT opportunities for Africa, as well as how to best interface with the Shenzhen hardware ecosystem.

We can't wait!