James Governor's Monkchips

ThingMonk 2015: Hacking Industrial, Scaling Processes, Digital Paper, Data, Design and even Legal Stuff

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So Thingmonk is fast approaching and it’s shaping up to be all kinds of awesome. Our key themes are data, process, and scaling the revolution that developers started. When we began the Thingmonk event series we felt we needed to make a statement about playfulness and getting stuff done. We achieved that with drones that took off when we poured a cup of coffee, and Adam Gunther wearing a Hasselhof leather jacket with programmable lights.

We avoided security as a topic, for example, because we wanted to encourage the building of services and proofs of concept. I have always felt that IoT was just M2M without the fear. But software developers do of course know how to scale things, and that’s what’s happening now. We’re seeing the emergence of powerful new back end cloud platforms – streams, lakes, events and various storage engines – packaging open source tools like Kafka and Cassandra in order to enable new uses cases. Dave McCrory, Basho CTO will be giving us the low down on design decisions for time series. Because of course the IoT is all about time series. Imagine a world where every time an engineer tightens a screw Bosch stores it in MongoDB and correlates it with CADCAM models of the machine part.

Companies like Bosch and GE are now using web technology to power the industrial internet, and I wanted to capture some of that energy. How do you scale an IoT service anyway? With that in mind, we’re proud to have a great speaker from GE itself – in the shape of Jeremiah Stone. If any one company is going to make a huge impact on the industrial world with IoT it’s GE.

For a hacker planning to build something epic at scale look no further than Matt Biddulph; we’re flying him over from San Francisco for the event. Matt Biddulph, who coined the term Silicon Roundabout for the Shoreditch cluster before it was a thing, flipped Dopplr to Nokia and is now building Thington, a conversational IoT platform. If you’re interested in what conversational IoT is about (machines talking to machines and people) come along. It’s a coup to have Matt, and it feels very right having had other Silicon Roundabout luminaries/early founders talk at the event in previous years – Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (Good Night Lamp, IoT london), Tom Taylor (Newspaper Club), Matt Webb (Berg).

If any company represents the success of Shoreditch as a thing it’s Moo – cashflow, revenues, design, reputation, crushing it. Having reinvented the business card once they’re now doing it again, by printing NFC into it with Business Cards+. That’s right – you can now business cards that ping. We have Kai Turner and Nick Ludlam of Moo talking about the practical implications of trying to build an entirely new industrial process at scale from a design and process perspective. At the event you will “pay for” coffees and adult beverages with Thingmonk credits stored on Moo cards. We’ll also kick off a hack competition to give you something to do over Christmas, with winners announced at sister event Monki Gras in late January 2016. There will be NFC payments systems printed on paper!

And Mark Shuttleworth – yes that Mark Shuttleworth – explaining how Ubuntu will play in the IoT world. And did I mention we have Mark Shuttleworth talking at the event. Claire Rowland is coming back to talk design. Tamara Giltsoff is also coming back to update us on building out small scale distributed energy, with monitoring, in Africa. And Boris Adryan – we do like a good PhD level curmudgeon on board. Amanda Brock meanwhile will be giving us the low down on the liability implications of a world where machines routinely make decisions in life critical contexts – which could be the most fascinating talk at the event.

I never intended this post to be just a list of speakers though – for that please head over to the Thingmonk site, take a look, then buy yourself a ticket.

We will also be hosting a London Pancake Breakfast with our friends at The New Stack. Hopefully with some gluten free. Our coffee will be epic as ever, this year provided by the wonderful Brunswick East.

It was super fun but we’ll try not to have a power cut this time, fun though hacking by candle and LED light is.

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