James Governor's Monkchips

ThingMonk: Some Notes on a Successful IoT Event

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Last month I ran an Internet of Things conference for the first time. It went really well. We had amazing talks, great hallway conversations, fab food, and… a power cut.


That’s right, you’re working towards the Internet of Things when suddenly the lights go off. What impressed me however was that people just kept right on working by the light of their laptop screens, and the few auxiliary ceiling lights. Most of the hardware being hacked had batteries, so everything just worked. Distributed Internet of self-powered things indeed.

I had given myself a tough deadline, putting together the entire event in less than three months, but I pulled it off reasonably well I think. Day one was a hackday – meet the IoT APIs, as it were – while day two was all about talks on a range of related subjects.

IoT touches so many areas that it can be hard to build a program around, so I went with some key themes- next generation industrial automation, hardware hacking, big data, the rise of Javascript for automation, and perhaps most importantly, Design for acceptance.

My speakers all did a phenomenal job, so thanks again Rick Bullotta, Dom Guinard, Malcom Sparks, Yodit Stanton, Paul Tanner, Jon Collins, Haiyan Zhang, Claire Rowlands, Matt Webb, Alex Deschamps-Sonsino, Patrick Bergel, Nuno Job, Darach Ennis, Tom Taylor, Peter Elger, Andy Piper and Reid Carlberg, Nick O’Leary, Morten Bagai, Seema Jethani, Tom Raftery, Ian Skerrett and Usman Haque.

As ever at RedMonk events we went hardcore on the catering – people are still talking about the charcuterie on day one. At which point I should also thank my sponsors, which help pay for all the lovely victuals and beverages- ARM, IBM, ThingWorx, The Eclipse Foundation, Salesforce.com, Ubiquiti, Typesafe, 2lemetry and Datastax.

But of course its the program that folks come along for.

There are some great roundup posts about the event – such as one this one by ThingWorx.

“ThingMonk lived up to its theme of “Unpacking the Internet of Things”, where several players from diverse backgrounds came together to share their vision and insight on the Internet of Things”

Some great posts, and photos and video, came from the IBM Hursley crowd, which came along mob-handed, demonstrating IBM’s strengthening commitment to developer-led adoption. We brought Hursley to Shoreditch!

Laura Cowen sums things up in this post, summarising some of the talks, and celebrating impact.

“It seems Nick and colleagues, Dave C-J and Andy S-C, won over many of the hackday attendees to the view that IBM’s MQTT and NodeRED are the coolest things known to developerkind right now. So many people mentioned one or both of them throughout the day. One developer told me he didn’t know why he’d not tried MQTT 4 years ago. He also seemed interested in playing with NodeRED, just as soon as the shock that IBM produces cool things for developers had worn off.”

It’s true. NodeRED was the belle of the ball. After a hackday on day one, everybody on day two was talking about NodeRed, a node.js based IoT integration tool built by an IBMer.


Finally I just wanted to close the coffee loop. Before the conference I used this Youtube video to explain the IoT in terms of coffee machines.

And we did it! Check out this video of flying a nodecopter by pouring a coffee!


Reid, Darach and Mikeil For The Win.

So that was ThingMonk, another RedMonk conference. I hope my delegates enjoyed it as much as I did, but now I am working on Monki Gras, my craft conference!

One comment

  1. I’ve just noticed that you are running another of these events on the 2 December 2014.

    I was very keen to attend until I saw your CoC. I would have thought that most of what it covers is generally accepted anyway, so I find it unnecessary to list each item that offends you. More to the point, and this is what I found to be objectionable, you appear to be completely obsessed with sex. This is endorsed by the image of three phallic-looking bananas at the top of your website. Of course, I’ve nothing against sex, but I thought that it was an IoT event, unless I’ve missed something.

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