[Liveblog] Sami Niemelä on how connecting thing changes them

The digital is moving faster than the physical can keep pace with. What interesting things can we do in the gap between the two?

Sami Niemelä, Nordkapp

Warning: Liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and howling crimes against grammar. This post will be improved over the first 48 hours after publication.

The interesting places in life are the cracks, the spaces between the “seamless” experience.

We have a huge taxi company – with no fleet. We have a huge hotel company – with no rooms.

We’re 3D printing nerves, and building cybernetic arms. Tesla’s dashboard is like something out of Blade Runner. Google is creating robotics for the road.

But we’re in a parallax moment – the digital and the physical are moving at different speeds. Cat videos come and go quickly, but urban co-planning is a lot slower. And laws are very slow indeed. A revolution is coming in our laws – but it’s so slow.

Everything you know about the web is changing, too. Services are being boiled down to a chat window. Your content strategy is handed over down to a person working long hours on low pay, chatting as your UI.

Technology as a nag

If you have a wearable like Apple Watch, you’ll be keenly aware of the volume of notifications coming out way. Lark runs a dialogue with you about your life and how you want to change it. You can easily end up with 10 to 15 health apps nagging for your attention.

Connected ovens? A bad idea? Well, if it’s just a camera in there, talking to your iPad, you can check the state of your roast without opening the oven. Or going downstairs. But if you get too much control over the over via the app – can someone hack your oven and start a fire? Every decision we make about these objects is political.

Disney’s magic band is given as an example of the IoT working well:


It tracks you, it’s your ticket, it’s your payment card. But too many systems are black boxes we don’t understand.

Experience is the key

Simple ideas work – like Virgin making foldable, printable boarding passes.

Innovation is not the same as winning. Those who are first often don’t win, it’s the ones who provide the best experience.

Mobiles are becoming the most important things in most people’s lives. And its from will continue to evolve – but they will still be glowing rectangles.

Kintsukugi is the Japanese idea of repairing broken things with gold – embracing the brokenness. We should take that idea and apply it to the IoT. Enhance what is there, don’t remanufacture it – that would be a sustainability disaster.