On December 1, 2010, the Maison des Métallos in Paris, the Next Generation Internet Foundation(FING), Music and Digital Cultures (MCD), nod-A (involved in digital creation as an input for innovation), and EPITA organized the first event of the French "Council for the Internet of Things" to explore the world of smart, connected and interactive objects communicating with entrepreneurs, designers and artists...
The Revolution of the Internet of Things
The Conquest of the Virtual Reality
It's a shift into a new dimension: the conquest of the object through the Internet, by making the boundaries between the virtual and the real fuzzier, may become the handle of a true human revolution, whose movement is traceable on all levels. The Internet of things is gradually upsetting our everyday world. It organizes the "fusion of real and virtual" and generates "the creation of a sensible world, a world responsive to our presence," according to Rafi Haladjian, founder of Open-sens-se, an open platform for all those who want to imagine, prototype and test new Devices, Installations, Scenarios, Applications for this globally interconnected and immersive world.
Gérald Santucci, Head of the Unit Networked Enterprise & Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) at the European Commission, gives an overview of the possibilities: "The opportunities offered by smart objects are numerous: the revolution of home automation, construction of intelligent buildings, more efficient management of energies, more dynamic management of transportation, better organization of health. The Internet of Things will enable us to have a convenience of better life, to build smart apartments and cities."
Generalized Pattern Recognition
Gilles Privat, senior scientist at Orange Labs talks about the revolution of home automation, home appliances and urbanism: doubling the electrical network through a network of phénotropiques sensors (pattern recognition) that can recognize objects and provide automated applications necessary data for their operation. "The idea is that the background of sensors will be shared and that we will be able to expand the scope of objects that are managed within the home. These sensors will be shared across different applications. This is particularly interesting in electrical appliances. For example, using these sensors we could measure the current used by the object. Similarly, on a larger scale, one could imagine the operation of an infrastructure of sensors distributed across the city, for example - for waste collection networks or transportation networks: one could imagine a physical infrastructure of supervision and control of these networks. "
The Internet of Things will also disrupt the economy by dramatically changing the way enterprises operate and the way products are consumed. It may, for example, provide solutions to problems posed by the traceability of goods and thus make logistics progress. Further, it can improve service to the consumer. Xavier Barrat, Director of Innovation, GS1, a company whose objective is to establish standards and solutions for the exchange of consumer goods on the planet, says: "One wonders how the item offered for the purchase will suit the needs of the person and initiate a communication with him. As an example, one could imagine that through this communication, an allergic person is automatically informed on the allergenic components of a product. The bar-code can be one of the engines of the Internet of things in department stores, a means of identifying the product and make it talk when it is coupled to the Internet. There are other ways: sensors, RFID, smart phones ... "
Serving the consumer
The project Proxi Product, backed by the government, opens the prospect of a new communication medium to the final consumer: a downloadable application that helps in reaching the information on the packaging and provides access to new services on the go such as additional information and personalized product composition (allergens, nutrition, ...) or environmental information in accordance with the commitments of the Grenelle Environment Forum (Carbon Index, recycling instructions, etc.. ). The Internet of Things could be a help in the search for highly targeted information. More broadly, one could imagine an interaction with posters, buses, buildings, between the car and its components, intelligent fridges, applications in home automation, in the management of parks, on specific issues such as managing gas containers in a company. The range of applications and benefits remains to be seen.
The revolution of the Internet of Things must be escorted and interrogated. It sometimes involves choices turning up to politics. For Rob van Kranenburg, founder of the Council, "the issue, through the Internet of Things lies in an alternative: build a city of friends or strangers, uniformity or diversity. The Internet of Things can create transparency, open new paths of quality, improve sharing of data, of information, and thereby contributing towards the creation of an open world." Gérald Santucci adds: "Do we want the things to make interactions between men more complex or prefer that they transform us into slaves? As stated by Jacques Attali, creation protects us against violence. It frees the man, letting him create his own life. We can also choose from fear: all relationships between humans will be dictated by the law relating to technology.Europe must win back it's technological independence to have the means to set its terms. And, finally we must identify the public policy issues that must be addressed for this path."
The Internet of Things is also used by artists as a means of redefining human existence. Natacha Roussel of experientiae electricae, who works on communicative clothing, "the connected clothing allows man to consider his existence in the world in a different manner, by questioning him in relation to his body, and therefore to some extent, letting him re-consider his existence. Natacha Roussel has developed a mapping project for audio and visual equipment to transcribe the interactions of the wearer of its clothing in a given space. "People recreate new relational modes of play, by walking on the rhythm of their steps. The carrier is required to transform its own rhythm in response to a close-by rhythm, which leads to the gradual establishment of a collective rhythm. Thus we can question the habitual practice of positioning, the habitual use of the Internet of things and finally the impact of clothing on our bodies. "
The examples of innovative communicative devices prove the improvements made possible by intelligent objects. For example, CEA List, technological research center, developed the concept of a firefighters' uniform equipped with sensors to alert the wearer when the uniform starts losing its effectiveness against the flames, clothing for patients in hospitals equipped with sensors recording the heart rate and other biometric data allowing the physician to better monitor the patient, or a concept shoe able to recover the kinetic energy released by their holders during their walking activity; Yann Minh, multimedia artist, at work is interested in pleasure objects connected to the Internet and stimulating the erogenous zones of the user based on the sexual activity of his virtual avatar, or a special mouse to allow the latter to feel the sensation of weight.