The Internet of Things. Preface.

The internet of Things – preface.

My mind gets often carried away. I suffer from a thought wandering syndrome, not to be confused with a toad-wandering syndrome, such as a frog practicing Nordic walking in a Swiss swamp. See, I’m one sentence away in the most epic literature ever written and I already brought in cold-blooded reptiles and an ss-alliteration.

The attentive reader must have remarked the ironic character of ‘the epic literature’, since, epic it will undoubtedly be, defining it as literature will only be done by the number of prizes I will win, or alternatively the amount of attractive women I will have picked up when touring the world to launch the book and promoting the inevitable blockbuster that will follow, featuring Halle Berry as the Nymphomaniac Toaster. I believe the number is 3. (Prices and/or women.)

Starting this literature journey came with bravery and wisdom. I had to conquer my fear for the white page. Not because of its color or the emptiness of its character but because of the ecological consequences of my literary actions. Imagine only my writing becomes popular, reprinted and translated in Hebrew, Chinese, and Japanese. How many innocent trees will have their future stolen just because my words needed to be reproduced for an ever widening audience, and let’s face it, the mere benefit of being able to buy me a decent swimming pool or yet another house on a hill. There is an ‘i’ in capitalism, and Captalsm just doesn’t sound right.

On second thoughts, I wouldn’t mind Chinese, because they are capable of writing your name on a grain of rice. That would make the voluminal impact of my writing limited. My most sticky short novel would then fit under a sushi scampi. A lengthier epos would take all of the rice used in a gigantic paella at the annual fire brigade feast of the provincial French village I live in. Thought wandering, I’ve warned you.

Still, one could live with killing innocent trees and turning every leaf into an orphan, if it is for the noble cause of the distribution of honorable content. The message wins from the medium, you get it. Cobladeral damage, to make a dutch-anglo wordplay you wouldn’t understand , and no, it has nothing to do with the Sepp Blatter FIFA mogul , although he could have coined the term coblatteral damage for huge parts of his immense stadium building and moving innocent people out of their houses career. But that’s another award winning story.

Since there is also the issue of the unsold and unconsumed number of books. Printed to be left alone on a bookshelf under the chapter of paper oblivion , dying of solitude, only dreaming of a one way trip to Recycling Heaven and the hope of returning to a new life as a parking ticket or a pizza delivery menu. (Paper had to downscale their professional ambitions since the start of the age of book printing.)

That eternal oblivion on a bookshelf where books go to un-die is not a pretty sight. They start creating an odor that runs into a stench that increases with every human generation they survive. Who else gets an urge to go to the toilet after walking in an old bookshop? Raise your hands. But please only after you washed them.

The digital era has come to the rescue. I can now type away lengthy paragraphs, fill pdfs with all of my brain fruit and still be in a state of constant societal balance, just because the distribution of my written hallucinations can be limited to digital bits and bytes. It can all stick on one USB, and we all know USB sticks can be lost forever under a car seat and only found years later by the Polish guy while dissembling your broken down vehicle in order to ship it to Africa.

Now, I realize everything has been done, thought of, or written about. All matter is constant and stories are too. They just take on another form, like solid or gaz. I realize no one is waiting for another literary talent. But someone needs to bring to the attention the pain and psychological consequences of the Internet of things. My publisher, in the event I would have one and thus by existential definition, couldn’t agree more.

Maybe I need to take you back in history. Back in 2015, giving a voice to everyday objects seemed a good idea. Build-in software turned them into smart devices, and people found all ways to connect with them, and found connections between them. The old ‘Je pense donc je suis’, turned into ‘I am because I have an IP address’.

Yet since that beginning of the Internet of Things, there was an increasing amount of objects that could not fit in. That could not cope with their new found individuality and connective power. And I can assure you, it was not a pretty sight. No one thought of the downside before broccoli flowers and cupcakes broke Instagram posting disturbing selfies. It was a mess. Kitchen robots were throwing themselves from a bridge. But where can a bridge throw itself from?

The book you’re about to read is the mesmerizing story of the Internet of Things, as seen through their eyes. Therefor I need to thank all objects and things that had the courage to come out with their stories. I need to excuse myself to them for when I had to turn to sometimes dirty undercover tactics to investigate. I can not really state that no objects were harmed when writing this, and I’ m sorry for that, but I did go to their funeral and prayed for their souls.

The book you’re holding, treat it well. It needs to be fed twice a week, simply plug it in using the free delivered USB connection. Oh, and do not pick your nose. There is a cold war going on between books and nose picked objects with an IP address. I know these things. Since I am the Richard Attenborough of the 22th century. I am the Robin Hood, Prince of Things. I am the Desmond Morris of the Naked App.

(Want to read more about the Internet of Things?  The drama, the romance, the nymphomaniac toaster? You’ll have to convince me. Chocolate will do. Or a publisher.)

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Designing the FRAME bag

I decided to think of a bag that would be transparent. Where everyone could see what you are carrying, because privacy today is an outdated concept, anyway.

So I created an object with a frame in veneer wood, with a shape that is a clear reference to the usual travel and business cases. Similar size and rounded corners, yet this one is open, empty.  The result is a brief case, an eco-conscious and contemporary designed shopping bag, or can get another function, depending on the finishing and accessories.

The first series is now in production, for the VLAM, the official Flemish governmental body that promotes buying your groceries straight from the farm.  For that particular use we added a shoulder strap and elastic sides, in order to be able to take enough products.. The straps and sides are made of recycled bicycle tubes. That fitted the eco thinking behind it, and the brand of Flanders..

The Frame bag then becomes an interesting fashion statement, as well 🙂 Curious to see who would wear this.

For the VLAM, Addictlab has coordinated the advertising : all Flemish producers can use the communication tools we developed. What makes the story complete is that we will not only have contributed to the advertising but also created the product development. Which fits in my vision to service a client much more holistically using the creative assets and concepts we have in our database.

Next to that, I believe the Frame bag has a potential to be the first Addictlab-conceived product that will actually come on the market. Wait and see.

I’ll be posting pics of the final product in September.2014-06-02 12.13.00

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Prototype with recycled bicycle tubes. The final version will have more bicycle tubes, and an extra one as a shoulder strap .

 

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YourOwnLab

YourOwnLab – a co-creation and community tool throughout the Creative Ring (www.creativering.eu)

The Creative Ring, initially developed by SPECIFI, is a new experimental community and platform for sharing creative and innovative content and activities all over Europe, using advanced Internet technologies and networks. It is based on an open collaboration between local artists and creative industries (comprising cultural, media, arts, advertising and other sectors) with universities, local authorities and ICT companies in each city and region. 

Building a Creative Ring to help and enhance the creative industries, is all about building and uniting communities that can spark ideas, accelerate creative talent, push conversations and initiate social change.

This has been the initial purpose of Addictlab.com, and is the main reason I decided to create the YourOwnLab app and program. This tool turns the addictlab idea into a software concept that can be implemented by other organisations and companies.

By distributing the app, the Creative Ring will be able to provide people from all the different communities with access to research, conversation and inspiration. The YourOwnLab app is an easy to navigate, low threshold tool that can help on different levels;

It will serve as a portfolio, a platform to show local talent and creative people from the different destinations. It will also serve as a conversation starter, allowing people to add ideas or thoughts and comments on certain topics. And it will definitely be a co-creation tool to generate innovation, as the app allows for dedicated ‘labs’ to be created. The first labs that will be rolled out will have a direct link with the existing Addictlab concept database, such as the Touristlab research and the Urban Green Lab.

Depending on activities in the different hubs, specific projects can be started. Only in June, already, a dedicated lab on poverty and education will be set up for a worldwide organisation renting the Egg Venue for an event.

Where needed, Addictlab and its partner organisations in the different hubs, such as Egg-Change in Brussels, can help in running the labs, and in implementing its unique lab member profiling system in order to create specific communities on specific issues.

The aim must be to push these labs through the ring, allowing for collaboration between the hubs and their people, and resulting in interpiloting projects that will eventually become the main reason of existence of the creative ring idea.

At best, this could maybe show you a first glimpse of the future of the internet.