I went to the Smart IoT (Internet of Things) event today in London’s Excel centre. The programme of presentations over the two days looked great, so I signed up a while ago. This post is to share with my colleagues and for anyone else who couldn’t make it today.
I’ll start with a summary and then go into detail, because I made lots of notes during the presentations.
Summary of Smart IoT 2016 Day One
On the content:
- There were some thought provoking content (which I’ve covered below) mixed in with some below-par presentations.
- I didn’t see any presentations where payments were discussed. I.e how IoT devices will transact with one another/ a service/ a person.
And on the event itself:
- Why are there no women visitors? At a guess, there may have been 1 woman to 25 men. Even for a technology event that’s really low. Why is this the case?
- The theatres were packed. If you’re visiting tomorrow, arrive at the theatres early.
- There are lots of theatres, and some of the presentations overlap, so if you want to see one in one theatre and go to another theatre, you might have missed the start of the second.
- Why are there no charging points at a technology show? My laptop and phone ran out of battery by 3pm and I had to use a spare power socket by a stage light.
- On the first event of the day, the presenter arrived late, the video stream didn’t work, and the presenter hadn’t prepared. We heard five minutes of “This is me” and then they asked for questions from the audience. Not a great start. Later on in the day, one presenter didn’t appear at all, and the theatre was overflowing with [disappointed] people.
The BBC will be giving away a micro:bit to all year 7s (that’s 11 and 12 year olds) in the UK this year. The presentation was about the R&D phase before the release. On a personal note, year 7 is one of the only school years I don’t have a child in at the moment! When the devices are distributed, I will have kids in years 10, 9 and 6!
The computer was designed by a consortium of over 30 companies, from ARM to Cisco to Nominet. The project started in 2011 to address the technology skills gap in the UK.
The BBC (or more precisely, BBC Learning, which is responsible for the project) has been conducting user research with school years 5-7.
The aim of the project is to turn these young digital consumers into digital creators.
The device is hands on and is designed to stimulate curiosity. It can be used within two minutes of switching it on, and is seen as an introduction to computing before the child goes on to use a Raspberry PI. The micro:bit has a number of sensors including an accelerometer, thermometer, magnetometer, LEDs and a packet based radio. Other devices can connect via Bluetooth.
Here’s the introduction video they played:
BBC Learning aims to change the lives of an entire generation – once every 30 years or so – and the last time was with the BBC Micro.
And finally, the entire project from the design upwards is open source.
The BBC Acorn Electron was partly responsible for me getting into the IT industry and I wish the BBC every bit of success with the micro:bit.
OCTO – The Answer is IoT, what was the question?
OCTO are a telematics provider to the insurance industry (they only mentioned that after a few minutes, so I spent the first part of the presentation wondering what was going on!). OCTO’s aim is focussed on connectivity – making driverless cars possible.
The biggest industry to be impacted by IoT will be insurance.
The telematics industry is currently worth around $60bn globally, but OCTO have done some research and believe it could be worth as much as $35bn in future.
The aim is to have a telematics device in every vehicle – consumers, fleet, agricultural, etc.
There are currently 20 million telematics-based insurance policies globally. This will increase to 93 million by 2020, with the fastest growing market in the US.
OCTO showed a three stage model as follows:
- Data from telematics devices which currently take 2,000 real-time parameters from the vehicle, plus the weather, road surface, etc.
- The machine learning and dynamic risk assessments on the data stream
- Creating the policy, whether its usage based, a forensic crash reconstruction, actuarial pricing, stolen vehicle recovery or emergency call.
There needs to be “something in it” for everyone though, and at the moment drivers can have up to 30% discount on policies, and insurers typically add 20% productivity through more accurate pricing and improved claims management.
As OCTO sign up more insurers and get more drivers on board, the data will improve, and the whole cyclical process will help grow the company.
OCTO are aiming to support driverless cars, develop home and health insurance policies, and provide a B2C2B model, or what Doc Searls calls VRM – i.e. consumers tendering out to insurers to get the best policy based on their data.
Thingalytics & Thinganomics – Dr John Bates
One of the best presenters of the day was in the packed out keynote theatre. If you’re at the event tomorrow, his book is available to VIP members.
Dr Bates had a logical, multi-step approach to IoT. Essentially, by connecting devices in the home, devices can become multifunctional, and can offer different business models. For instance, the default set of x functions with a gold-level subscription of x+y features such as sending alerts to your smartphone or even remote control from a phone.
I took a few photos of his slides which are self-explanatory – see below.
Click the image above to read the smartphone alert about impending doom
And here is Dr Bates summary of his principles (concerning IoT):
Delivering IoT to the masses, some lessons from telematics (Direct Line)
Direct Line is a UK insurer which owns Churchill, Green Flag (recovery) and many white label insurance brands (e.g. NatWest and RBS are a couple).
Currently, British people buy car insurance this way:
- Visit a price comparison website
- Fill in a complex online form (which takes up to 10 minutes)
- The form generates up to 80 quotes from insurers
- The user picks the top 3-5, completely ignoring the rest
- The user may visit a direct insurer afterwards
Car insurers currently use 70 parameters to generate a premium, and bizarrely these don’t take into account how well you drive! IoT changes this by providing dynamic analysis of how you drive.
Direct Line has 78,000 telematics customers, targeting young drivers with up front discounts. One limitation at the moment is the cost of the in car telematics device, making it uneconomical to issue to older drivers.
The presenter, Dan Freedman, explained the lessons he’d learned on the telematics project:
- Make it possible to take risks in a large organisation, setting simple objectives, learn by doing, and creating a bold team
- Be ready to manage the complexity of legacy systems (e.g. the first version of the device, when the second generation is ready)
- Be open to unexpected directions, but learn to filter out irrelevant noise
- Think about future competitors… what would Google or Amazon do? And think about traditional competitors who may want to overtake you
- Focus on the customer and friendly partners. Build best in class services for the user. And work with suppliers rather than building everything
- Get the operating model right – choose what you’re good at and focus on that
- Be clear about your strategy – ask “WHY ARE YOU HERE?”
Retail Web Analytics – developing actions from the data
Firstly, the IKEA presentation was all about web analytics, and I’m not that sure how it fit into IoT, but it was interesting nonetheless.
IKEA have 375 stores, with 884 visitors per year. They have 1.9 billion visits to their websites each year.
Their strategy for web analytics is purely about increasing conversions.
There is such a huge amount of data overload that not everything online is measured. IKEA use Adobe SiteCatalyst, and are doing experimentation including multi-variate testing as part of their agile transformation.
They are exploring web behaviour and want to be able to update furniture designs in real-time based on web activity.
IKEA uses BrandWatch for social media listening and they try to act quickly when the tool provides insight. One example was when the team was developing an AR (Augmented Reality) version of the IKEA catalogue, and an IKEA video (from Singapore) went viral, so they paused the AR project because of the video message.
The presentation finished with the following slide.
If you are visiting Smart IoT, let me know on Twitter and we can try and meet up. I will be there from 11am until the end of the event. (And you might want to bring a battery charger for your phone).