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GUEST BLOG – Shane Mitchell - Tech Beyond The Screen: What is the Internet of Everything?

On Wednesday 3rd February 2016, The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton kicked off it's event series 'Tech Beyond The Screen' with it's first event 'What is the Internet of Everything?'. Guest speakers Shane Mitchell (UrbanPeer) and Adrian Bone (Deteq) talked to a packed room of Sussex's digital, arts and tech community about the Internet of Everything and demonstrated a number of case studies of how the technology is being used.

Shane Mitchell has written a guest blog post with his thoughts on the progression of the Internet of Everything.

"Digital entrepreneurship and the Internet of Every/Thing

I’d like to reflect on some the discussions that came out of yesterday’s launch of the Tech Beyond The Screen series of talks. I was delighted to share experiences, along with local entrepreneur Adrian Bone from Deteq on experiences with the Internet of Things in recent years.

Living in East Sussex, and having a very active entrepreneurship network on my doorstep, I’m currently delving deeper into the thinking and businesses in Brighton and along the coast as a co-founder of, and engaging with the Wired Sussex network. The Brighton cluster is one of the UK’s strongest in advancing the UK’s global leadership in the digital economy. With that premise, of course we always have much to learn from elsewhere.

I shared my experiences around the world with Cisco in driving the Internet of Everything agenda globally from broad macro-economic research, to delivering projects in cities and communities from South Korea, across Europe and the US. In the last year also, I have also led the setup of IoTUK for the Digital Catapult in London and its engagements with cities, academia, health industries, and business clusters across the UK and globally. It is this export focus for UK entrepreneurship that is taking a lot of my time currently working with UKTI, and one that Brighton businesses can and are having a leading role in.

From big picture to doing stuff

In my talk I shared a wide range of examples of IoT/E from cities, industrial applications, health, and personal applications that illustrate where tech is moving beyond the screen to be pervasive in our daily lives. The bottom line for all of this as citizens, as businesses, as communities, is that like no other time we have the potential to transform the status quo, disrupt and participate.

Taking a global view is important to help set out visions and potentials. That is really only a starting point, to the imperative to do stuff on the ground, to test and iterate from. As I found and Adrian concurred, the big examples of IoT being implemented today are typically doing one thing very well, be that parking, waste management, lighting and so on. Each of the successful IoT projects I know also offer the potential for extensibility to other applications, a platform, or interoperable flow to other applications. We’re on an exciting journey, and we are at the centre of this in the UK, with our national strengths in systems integration, creative thinking and engineering and computer science expertise.

Peer exchanges

I’m increasingly coming around to the view that the Internet of Things is an unsatisfactory framing for the wide range of applications and new value exchanges. IoT still tends to lead to a technology driven, sensor, network, software or platform lens that misses the wider socio-economic trends and resulting impact.

For many years, since undertaking academic research into this, I have seen the real disruption is in peer to peer exchanges. I shared my perspectives on commons based peer production, which we see emerging in open source, and to the emergence of blockchain, and the even more solid activities in community participation and the open sharing of data.

A call to action

My call to the audience was to get busy in finding what they can do, to find new partnerships, but anchor this in reality with tangible use cases. A business model for IoT is somewhat elusive it seems in this P2P framing. But that is also the whole point. It is this lack of monetary exchange through established routes that is leaving incumbents scratching their head. The big areas of Artificial Intelligence, cognitive computing, AR/VR are truly incredible in blending the physical and digital, and are where a lot of attention is now focussed. We also heard from the audience Q&A that we still need to find better networks, and data flows to enable this, along with the huge topics of security, personal data and trust, which I briefly eluded to in my talk.

I have an optimistic take on IoT, but not for any business continuing with business as usual. Technology is pervasive, not geeky, impacts on all our daily lives and will make us much more informed, fulfilled, engaged and resilient.

I hope my thoughts provoked and I look forward to continuing to explore the potential for East Sussex, as much as with the global potentials that are emerging."

The next event in the Tech Beyond The Screen series is 'UX & Design for Connected Products' on Wednesday 17th February 2016, where we'll explore user experiences for people engaging with real world, ‘smart’ technologies. Register to attend here.

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