HAT in a newsletter

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HAT in a Newsletter

I recently wrote a piece for an executive recruitment company’s news letter and thought I would also put it here as it seems to engage people in this idea:

Written By Dr Glenn Parry – 25th April 2013

We all spend a lot of time on the internet. Increasingly the things we use have some form of internet connectivity. Our telephone company, banks, utilities and supermarkets all utilise the web to interact with us. However, very few of the things we use every day are connected to the internet. The Internet of Things is a concept where we can connect more of the objects around us to the internet and make them work for us. As an example, my kettle is not connected to the internet. I think it should be. I want to be able to tweet it to boil from my front room. I want the GPS in my phone to locate me when I am 1 mile away on my drive home from work and have it boil so I can make tea the moment I walk in the door. But what if things were smarter? Many items may not seem readily internet connectable. But what if video sensors could be told what a pair of spectacles looks like? The sensors can track images of the rooms and recognise your glasses. If you lose them, you just ask the house where they were last seen. This technology seems futuristic but is almost ready now.

Such connectivity requires a home base station to connect things in the home, collect data and hold the applications chosen to run in the house. This is the basis of the Hub of All Things [HAT] project. To begin in June 2013 and last 2 years, the HAT project involves 9 researchers from the domain of Economics, Business, Computing and the Arts from 6 UK universities of Warwick, Exeter, Nottingham, Cambridge, University of the West England and Edinburgh.

The project aims to create the hub and sensors for the home. To be trialled in a small number of homes, sensors will be installed and tested, collecting data on the lived life. What is interesting for business is how people use things in the homes. The supermarkets have data on your food purchase, but not what you eat, when or with whom. Their vertical data stream doesn’t describe the lived life. The HAT can collect data on individuals’ consumption, behaviour and interactions with people and objects. The project will seek contextual archetypes, the common shared activities and processes of living life in the home, and describe those using data. This will reveal dependencies between industries. For example the effectiveness of the medicine you take is likely closely linked to the food you eat, the exercise you take and your sleep. By developing algorithms to mathematically embed context into data, the project will facilitate the creation of almost limitless new business models and data-driven innovation.

If all this scares you into thinking that firms and government will be even more a “big brother”, the H.A.T seeks to reverse that. Crucially, all data generated by the individual is owned by the individual, with no access except with permission and based on a limited time. Their “digital labour” is a commodity to empower the individual to create exchanges of data for products/services for more innovative and personalized offerings of the future (think about retailers providing personalised wardrobes, groceries and even medicine). Likewise manufacturers can share data with the home to “upgrade” the lived life. The HAT subscribes to personal empowerment and preservation of privacy while being able to stimulate growth in the economy through new innovation in businesses, products, services and new business models.

If anyone reading this makes kettles, let’s talk.


Original text may be found on the Moon Consulting website here: http://www.moonconsulting.co.uk/newsArticle/the_hub_of_all_things

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