The other day I traveled 2 hours and 45 minutes from Montreux to Zurich and 2 hours and 50 minutes home following a 2-hour meetup group meeting at the ETHZ. It was a classic case of my desire to meet and speak with interesting people being sufficiently strong to outweigh my feeling that I have too much to do in too little time. See Time Under Pressure. Fortunately, I could work while on the train and, in keeping with my thinking about Air Quality, I (probably) didn't contribute to the total Swiss CO2 emissions for the day. And what is really amazing is that the meetup was worth my investment. I previously mentioned that I was looking forward to catching up with Dominique Guinard, co-founder and CTO of EVRYTHNG, a young Zurich start up, and co-founder of Web-of-Things portal.
Dom did not disappoint me or the 20 people who joined the meetup. In addition to great content, he is an excellent presenter. He started out at a very high level and yet was quickly able to get into the details of implementations. He included a few demonstrations during the talk and a couple of interesting anecdotes. We learned that his sister doesn't really see the point to him sharing (via Facebook) the temperature readings from his sunspot gadget. And how he was inspired when WalMart IT management came to MIT for a visit and mentioned that they were considering a $200,000 project to connect security cameras to tags in objects in order to reduce theft. In 2 days, Dom (and others, I presume) had a prototype showing that the Web of Things could address the issue with open interfaces. My favorite story during the talk brought up the problems that can arise when you don't have sufficient security. Dom was giving a demonstration of Web of Things once when a hacker in the audience saw the IP address. He was able to go into Dom's server and within minutes (during Dom's talk) the power on his laptop shut off!
In addition to Dom's stage-setting talk, we had the pleasure of having Matthias Kovatsch, researcher in the Institute for Pervasive Computing at ETHZ, and the architect of Copper, a generic browser for the IoT based on Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP). Matthias presented the status of the projects on which he is working and the results of an ETSI/IETF plugfest to which he went in Paris. The consolidated slides of the IETF-83 CoRE meeting include the Plugtests wrap-up slides (slightly edited). It's really exciting to see how this project is directly contributing to part of the standards proving process!
In addition to these talks, Benjamin Wiederkehr, co-founder of Interactive Things, an experience design and architecture services firm based in Zurich, gave us great insights into the process and the tools they used to achieve the new interactive visualization of cell phone use in Geneva. Learn all about this project by visiting Ville Vivante web site, in collaboration with the City of Geneva.
Valuable evening, folks! Thank you for making another trip to Zurich worth the effort!