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THINGS: nothing more, nothing less #exsum13

Sogeti Labs
October 10, 2013

Menno-van-DoornWhat shall we call it? At the Sogeti Executive Summit 2013, VINT Director Menno Van Doorn owed us an explanation. Plainly ‘Things?’ Wasn’t that just a little too easy? On the contrary, Mr. Van Doorn argued. The Sogeti Trend Lab VINT had surveyed the matter and since its conception in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, the already quite familiar notion of ‘Internet of Things’ appeared to have taken off. In numerous directions, that is. For instance: the Internet of Things and Services (Bosch’s take); the Industrial Internet and Things that Spin (General Electric); anything ‘smart’ or endowed with intelligence, especially Smart Cities (IBM); Things That Think, to follow MIT Media Lab; or Cisco’s Internet of Everything. It’s all about things, so let’s just call it THINGS, Mr. Van Doorn concluded. THINGS don’t exist by themselves, they are our own human things. Hand-crafted and invented things are here to help us and to please us. To accommodate the human race. Things are tools – for fools if you wish – but in every aspect human technology and that is what helped them build. In this digital era, human tech is synonymous with SMAC: the fourfold force of Social (Web 2.0), Mobile (screens and apps), Analytics (of Big Data), and Cloud (public, private or hybrid, to extend the corporate data center). SMAC involves computers, organizations and people but human THINGS are lacking. Due to miniaturization, cost efficiency and the advent of cheap sensors and actuators to enhance the human senses this today is no longer the case. Intelligent digital things are here, and here to stay. Digital things are Bill Buxton’s, who works at Microsoft Research, so-called ‘long nose of innovation’ at work. Since Aristotle, we ponder about their use and eventually we can see how they fit best. Things can be like us: smart, connected, social, mobile, everywhere. Perhaps we should give them citizenship. The Society of People, Tools and Things. Wouldn’t that be nice? That’s no science fiction but science fact, and increasingly a fact of life plus a vast trove of business opportunities.

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SogetiLabs gathers distinguished technology leaders from around the Sogeti world. It is an initiative explaining not how IT works, but what IT means for business.


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