Tom Coates has posted a slightly edited 1 version of his Webstock 2016 talk on The Shape of Things, which was about the challenges he sees in making the Internet of Things a useful service, as opposed to an excuse for an endless running joke about internet-enabled fridges:

Today I'm going to be talking about the thinking we've been doing at Thington about the right and wrong ways to interact with a world of connected objects, and some of the problems we've been trying to solve. In particular I want to talk about the relationship we're starting to build between physical network-connected objects and some kind of software or service layer that sits alongside them, normally interacted with via a mobile phone.

And I'm going to talk a bit about how there's a push in the design community to find a different model, dissolving the top layer here into the object itself through (a) tangible, physical computing, or through (b) metaphors of enchantment or magic […]

I thought it was just the sort of thoughtful, insightful talk it would have been worth travelling to New Zealand for 2 if you're in the IT business. If Tom Coates and people who think like him end up defining how the Internet of Things ends up being implemented then it might actually turn out to be a very good thing. But then I think about stories about security flaws in everything from cars to bathroom scales and I wonder if we really want to connect every damned object we own to the internet just yet.

  1. Specifically, he's removed jokes that would only have made sense to those actually in attendance at Webstock, where he gave the talk back in February 2016.

  2. No offence to our Antipodean cousins. All I'm getting at is that I'm round here on the other side of the planet in the UK so from where I'm sitting it'd be quite a long journey.