Today at Web2Day, I had the pleasure to talk about the world of connected objects with Thomas Nicholls of Sigfox, Benoit Guennec of Connected Object, and Frédéric Boisdron of Planète Robots. Talking about connected hardware (homes, cars, etc.), quantified self, and the future of smart objects is always exciting in France, where so many successful hardware ventures are being started – Aedle, Invoxia, Sigfox, & Withings, to name a few.
— SIGFOX (@sigfox) May 16, 2013
During the conversation, we tried to paint a vast picture of the connected hardware landscape, not the least important of which is the question “why now?” We discussed the reduction in costs to creating hardware, as well as open source hardware technologies like Rasberry Pi, and we discussed the ever-rising access to connectivity through RFID, NFC, Wifi, and, of course, Sigfox.
While the connected hardware conversation has a tendency to stray into the realm of “everything needs to be connected,” Sigfox’s Thomas Nicholls was quick to bring us back to reality, saying “I don’t care about having everything connected, I just want my life to be easier.” This sentiment reflects why WiThings’ bodyscale and mobile application, along with connected fitness hardware like FitBit have had begun reaching a mainstream audience more easily – beause Quantified Self is the first real concrete advantage that one sees when they begin exploring connected hardware.
Beyond that, we touched on the ever-growing technologies around the “connected home” – players like Tony Fadell’s Nest and the Philip’s smart light bulb have begun piecing together the home and the web; however, I still feel like we’re lacking the universal “home” application that enables me to create presets for my house when I come home, leave, go on vacation, bring a hot date home (“IF bring a hot date home THEN set music to Marvin Gaye, dim lights, and raise the temperature a bit”).
The Web2Day conference has kicked off pretty well – just as last year, Web2Day has really defined itself as a must-attend event, not just for the French, but for Europeans. While this morning’s talk was in French (video to come later), I’ll be speaking on two panels in English this afternoon, and hope that, as Web2Day grows, it will grow its international audience size.