Cambridge Wireless Connected Devices SIG “I Don’t Use Wireless Yet – What Can It Do For My Business?”
Life is like a sewer – what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. Tom Lehrer US humorist.
Yesterday I spent an interesting afternoon at Cambridge Consultants learning and talking about the future of connected devices – and the likelihood of of sharing the world with 50 billion of them. The afternoon turned out to be a bit of an old-boys (and sadly it was mostly boys) reunion. I met ex-colleagues from my days at Origin, Symbionics and Qualcomm, some of whom I haven’t seen for around 15 years, along with putting faces to some names I knew from my Sentec days.
We had some excellent and interesting presentations:
- a good analysis from Tim Ensor of CCL on how we might get to 50 billion connected devices, half of which are “foreseeable”, and the other half “aspirational”
- a review of technology uptake by Steve Kay of Anglian Water, along with the gloriously named Sewernet, aiming to create smart sewerage. It always surprises me when I’m reminded of how conservative the water industry has been in uptake of technology (but it also surprises me that it’s impossible to send an email to HMRC)
- insight into smartphone security by Laurent Simon from the Computer Labs. In essence the message seems to be buy iPhone if you care about security. This rather depressing message was particularly relevant to the next presentation…
- a very professional presentation by Craig Tillotson of Faster Payments, about the soon to be released pan-industry mobile payments system, allowing us to use our mobiles to pay anyone for whom we have a mobile phone number. A noble goal, but to the uninitiated there seems to be a whole bunch of issues in relation to privacy and security
- last, and certainly not least, the remarkable story of Well Cow as told by David Tagardine of TTP – wireless telemetry straight from the stomach of a cow. The physical scale of the wireless bio-sensors swallowed by cows was truly impressive
I certainly hadn’t been expecting to learn a lot of gory detail about bovine digestive anatomy and sewers. I had been expecting to hear a lot more about internet connected “things” such as thermostats and other sensors, smart grid, smart appliances (the ubiquitous internet connected fridge did get a mention), and about technology enablers for making radical reductions in device cost, so I was surprised but certainly not disappointed by the afternoon. Thanks Cambridge Wireless for a fascinating afternoon.