According to a recent announcement, the EU will invest some €1.18 billion in the Electronic Components & Systems for European Leadership (ECSEL) Joint Technology Initiative (JTI). ECSEL will help industry launch new pilot projects and build on the €1.79 billion already invested in existing pilot lines and demonstrators. These projects bring together European manufacturers, technology companies, chip designers, software developers, researchers and universities at the early stages of product and service development, bringing research closer to market.
EU funding will be provided through the research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. 26 EU Member States and Associated States have lined up to put a similar amount of €1.17 billion into ECSEL. Industrial partners will contribute more than €2.34 billion.
The first call for proposals will be worth €270 million of public support. In addition to pilot projects, it will cover technology developments in electronic chips, in cyber-physical and in smart systems and their integration into application areas for resource efficient transport, improved citizen privacy, sustainable energy generation and e.g. affordable health. Special focus is on trust, security and user friendliness of technology.
To find out how I can help you to take advantage of this opportunity, don’t hesitate to contact me.
This post may seem a little chaotic and irrational. Bear with me, it was a sequence of twits that I posted sometime in 2011. I had tried to find them a couple of years later with no luck, however a few days ago I noticed a wonderful button in one’s twitter profile, that allows to download all of your twits! 🙂 et voilà!
#IoT will definitely be an ingredient of web 3.0
The term Internet of Things, aka IoT, has been evolving significantly during the last 15 years, it was conceived in the Auto ID Centre, sometime back in 1999 when the first vision of EPC (Electronic Product Code) was drafted. Since then, many future-looking organisations have provided different angles to the concept of joining the real & cyber worlds with IoT.
EPC has been one of the visions behind the advent of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, the next step from optical identification (barcodes) of objects. When UHF RFID Gen 2 was mandated by Wall Mart back in the early 2000s, there was a strong market demand that dictated the limits of the technology and the scope of innovation in areas like RFID inlay production, reader & middleware technologies, etc. Since then, I have not come across a real, significant market driver to evolve the technology further. Don’t take me wrong, there are numerous applications and groups working in solving vertical problems that one can say are early IoT examples. These range from smart energy meters, to logistics track & trace systems, to traffic management, you name it!
What I don’t see is the emergence of an overall concept, a paradigm which perhaps touches the core of Man Machine Interface. What does IoT would look like to the ordinary people? How would you interact with your training equipment, your fridge, your heating system or your box of cereal? I don’t know if this comes from Star Trek or from my involvement in developing custom UIs early in my career, but the interaction of IoT objects with people needs to be tech natural and perceived in ubiquity .
Few days ago I read an article by Tim O’Riley touching this very topic, he named it #IoTH: The Internet of Things and Humans. Tim and IBM’s Rod Smith came up with an interesting notion of an entity named Nest, where a set of sensors, apps, actuators and networks would do things for you. They talked about weak and strong devices (in terms of intelligence autonomy) as well as the modus of weakly or strongly connected. Yet again, I failed to see an attempt to touch the Man Machine Interface paradigm.
Hello, it’s me!
#IoT objects should have a universal discover & hello protocol, covering basic ID function and coms capability
I come from the auto-id, telematics and telecoms worlds and one of the basic principles that prevail is that any two elements in a network that need to transact, must be able to identify themselves and communicate. Hence, each IoT object should at least have a unique ID and a communication capability.
The discover & hello protocol of #IoT should be short range (up to 3 meters) and have enough energy to activate passive objects
As our senses have limits, so the discovering senses of IoT objects may have limits too. Why would an IoT object want to discover and say hi to another IoT object 50 miles away? Also, lets open our mind and think of passive objects like a table, a handbag or an artwork. Why should we exclude them from the IoT world?
Can you see me?
Only #IoT objects with UI capability can allow the interconnection of a discovered object with a person’s realm.
In an IoT world humans are the masters and each person creates his IoT realm by discovering and using IoT objects relevant to his needs. There will be IoT objects that will not provide any function to a person, these may be talking and working together with other IoT objects. Such objects can be seen through other IoT objects that provide UI capabilities to the person.
#IoT objects can participate in more than one realm
IoT objects have uses just like real world objects. A person can own and use an IoT object or he can use someone else’s IoT object. As per real world objects, the use of IoT objects may be shared or be exclusive to a person, regardless of ownership. An easy to understand paradigm is an IoT wifi router that can be shared with all people who are inside my house but with no one else outside of the house. This extends to a person discovering IoT objects for public use, like ePOS for payments or gym equipment in health studios.
Can you trust me?
The hailing UI of an #IoT object must have an extremely simple dialogue with minimum q&a related to trust, info share & connection
IoT ubiquity is a characteristic of one’s IoT realm. Minimal interaction when discovering and trusting IoT objects is a key ingredient of ubiquity and as such it should be done in a consistent way, perhaps using a natural gesture, through any IoT object with UI capabilities.
The information type and direction between the human and any IoT object is another key attribute to the basic hailing & acceptance of the IoT object in one’s IoT realm. Issues of privacy, anonymity and intrusion must be dealt at this level, as the very first priority of IoT.
Do you need me?
A person’s realm can connect through any #IoT UI object to common share #IoT objects
In our IoT ubiquitous world each one of us exist in his own IoT realm, a connected physical-cyber domain, where one’s owned IoT objects and common-share IoT objects interact between them and provide an enhanced life experience to the person.
It is not the purpose of this post to describe what an enhanced life experience is, nor the ethics behind the ever increasing «intrusion» of technology in human life. One thing is for sure, IoT will have a viable future only if it can address a real human need.
Why do you need me?
Throughout the history of technological evolution, we have seen any significant technology innovation happening in a very specific industrial sector and then expanding beyond this sector and flooding the society with products and services that eventually transform the world as we know it. Refrigeration is a good example of this, as it has changed dramatically human’s interaction with food production over the last 2 centuries and has enabled the formation of urban life as we know it.
Over the past years technology has been repeatedly changing our life, making obsolete old ways and introducing new, exciting products and services that liberate humans. Refrigeration liberated us from food production, electricity from darkness, cars and transportation from geography, telecommunication from distance, computers from ignorance (?). IoT must be a liberator too, if it is destined to prevail.
So, what do you think? What will IoT liberate us from?
Some time ago I made a presentation at Colab Athens about entrepreneurship. I called it an Entrepreneur’s Primer and back then was intended to be an introduction to basic entrepreneurship concepts to aspiring young people. I saw it as a way to give back to the startup community some of my experience in venturing in Greece. The presentation was built around questions & answers, trying to shine some light to hard core entrepreneurship concepts. In this post I will try to update this Q&A and make it a bit more relevant to the current trends.
So… am I an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneur is a fashionable word these days and people love to tag themselves with words in fashion! But wait, before you call yourself an entrepreneur, you need to understand what is really an entrepreneur and realise that it is all about selling your ideas to make money.
Being an entrepreneur is not as selfish as it sounds, don’t forget that when you eventually manage to sell, the customers perceive they are getting more value than the money they give you. They are buying your services or your products because they satisfy their emotions, you make them happy! Look around you and see the products that you have bought and remember your emotions when you bought them!
Where should my business be?
This is a usual question that you hear from people who are involved in startups, any other entrepreneur knows very well where the business should be: where the money is, the customers are and where partners exist.
If you are involved in a startup that is aiming either to be bought by another company or to be funded by VCs and take the road for an IPO, the answer is quite straight forward as well. In this respect, perhaps your customers are the companies that will buy you or the VCs that will fund you… they have the money too! 😉
How do I venture?
Well, the global recipe is: money, team and trial & error. Yes, you do need money to venture and don’t think that you will easily find someone else who will give you his money for your venture. Would you do it for someone else?
To bootstrap a venture, apart from his own money, an entrepreneur can find money from banks (like credit cards and loans), from family, friends and the so called fools… the FFFs! Unless you are a lifestyle entrepreneur, you definitely need a team, a group of people that will venture with you either as your partners or as your employees. Please note that contractors or freelancers should not be considered as your team, they are there to make some money, not to take a risk with you!
Trial & error has a fancy name nowadays, especially around web and mobile startups, it is called lean startup methodology. It is nothing else but listening to your customers and changing your original idea to fulfil their needs, i.e. make them happy! Following the lean method, you need to build the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and test it with real customers before you go to the market.
Cool! What can go wrong?
Well… everything! Your team breaks up, your competitor beats you, technology changes and you are left behind, partners lose trust, money runs out, government changes the rules… It can become quite frustrating to tackle it when things really go wrong… you fall in love, team-mate decides to become a priest, you win the jackpot, you live in Greece! 😀
@#$%!!… who can help???
You! An entrepreneur is alert, you need to constantly look-listen-learn the environment around you. Be ready to adapt and change every aspect of your venture. Also, today you can take advantage of a plethora of self help from the internet, you can find coaches, mentors and professionals.
So… is it worth it?
if you are an entrepreneur, if you love change, if you are creative, if you rock…
Since I remember myself as an electronics engineer, Silicon Valley has been the holly grail of technology innovation, a mythical place that as an aspiring young engineer you just wanted to be in! It’s been a while now that I see, maybe once every month, a post in the media talking about the Silicon Valley paradigm, phenomenon, culture and discussing ways to replicate it in Israel, London, New York, Kuala Lumpur, you name it! Yes, it would be nice for a nation’s economy and for the legacy of many politicians to just do that, I agree …but, wait!
What exactly is Silicon Valley, that everyone wants to replicate?
In this post I will try to touch the myth of the valley with the help of an excellent post written by Russell Jurney and Bradford Cross, titled «The Next Silicon Valley», unfortunately no longer on-line. Please take note of the time periods and the sizes of the community, as stated in the excerpts (italics) from the aforementioned post, perhaps this will explain the culture of the valley, at least to some extent.
The history (yes that boring part…)
San Francisco had a lot going for it at the turn of the 20th century. It was an energetic and adventurous town still characterized by the pioneer spirit of the California Gold Rush of 1849. San Francisco’s population boomed from 35,000 in 1850 to more than 400,000 by 1911 – nearly half its present population. A Phoenix city arisen from the rubble of the 1906 earthquake, in San Francisco anything was possible. – New community
Leland Stanford was an attorney in Wisconsin when his office went up in flames in March, 1852. Stanford and his wife Jane Elizabeth Stanford went west, following his five brothers to California where he joined them in operating a general store… The tragic death of their only son, Leland Stanford Jr., left the Stanfords without an heir to their fortune. They decided to ‘adopt the children of California’ by founding Leland Stanford Junior University… Progressive from its inception in 1891 – Stanford was both coeducational and tuition free… At Stanford, this idealism of applying research in new ways has always been the norm. – Idealism
The descendants of gold miners and pioneers, Californians were always early adopters and innovators. California led the nation in adopting agricultural mechanization, and it was in San Francisco that the first ship-to-shore radio transmission in North America took place at the Cliff House on August 23, 1899. This was one month before Nobel prize winner Gucilielmo Marconi, who started the first telegraph network, arrived in New York from Europe. Radio spread through the Bay Area like wildfire. The first full-time radio station with regular programming was in San Jose, and by the 1920s the Bay Area had more operating radio stations than any other city in the world. – Technological Innovation
Frederick Terman joined Stanford’s engineering staff in 1924 and set out to build a world-class electronics program… He aggressively integrated Stanford’s electronics labs with local industry, going as far as to send academic ‘agents’ to local companies to learn their techniques and reproduce them in Stanford’s labs. He encouraged students to commercialize their research, including Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. – Serendipity, Leadership & Extraordinary Talent
Following a post (1941-1945) at the Radio Research Laboratory at Harvard during the second world war Terman pursued policies to increase Stanford’s military research and development budget… With lives on the line, quality was king, and components from the bay area were superior to any others available at that time. They got the contracts, and the industry grew. – A War & Government Contracts
In the video below, Steve Blank gives a quite comprehensive view of the Secret Silicon Valley, covering all the cold war period. – No Competition
Cultural and geographic forces led to the Bay Area’s early lead in radio technology, and the radio economy grew into industries based on radio technology and then beyond. It did not arrive at them by coincidence or by central planning. Silicon Valley had an early lead, and was nurtured, not directed, into what it wanted to become. – No Government Direction
I am not a resident of the valley, although I have been to the valley sometime back in 1996 and 1997. Actually, I remember listening to Sergey Brin talking to a San Jose radio station about their new search engine… Google! 🙂 Perhaps you may say that I am not qualified to try to explain the myth, however as a global phenomenon Silicon Valley is perceived by all of us in several ways and I believe it needs to be explained and understood in the local context of each one of us.
Russel and Bradford gave a definition of Silicon Valley as «an economic cluster. A network of networks, rich in financial and social capital spanning every area of technology, all focused on developing and commercializing new technologies.» Also, they state «Cultural and geographic forces led to the Bay Area’s early lead in radio technology, and the radio economy grew into industries based on radio technology and then beyond. It did not arrive at them by coincidence or by central planning. Silicon Valley had an early lead, and was nurtured, not directed, into what it wanted to become.» Rightfully they claim that it is the culture of Silicon Valley that surpasses any other attribute of the valley «In silicon valley, entrepreneurship is a profession and startups are an industry. This is part of a culture of both bold and calculated risk taking, alongside an acceptance of failure. The valley culture is the one factor that trumps all others.»
However, if I can may make a few observations, the chain of developments in the valley is intriguingly leading me to a thought: Is it all chance?… or is it not? Imagine if Stanford’s office back in 1852 did not catch fire and he never moved to San Francisco, or his son did not die, inherited this father and Stanford University was never established… where would Terman had the chance to teach? 🙂 …no, I will not go this route, don’t worry!
If you noticed, I have been making some remarks (in bold) next to the excerpts from Russel and Bradford. These are in my opinion the significant points in the evolution chain of the Silicon Valley that made it possible to exist:
Silicon Valley has taken over 100 years to develop and mature to what each one of us perceives today. It started initially by a new community of people in which prominent and wealthy people driven by idealism invested in education focused in technological innovation. Serendipity brought extraordinary talent to the valley and prominent academics with leadership skills transformed a war effort to government contracts that lasted for decades. No government direction was orchestrated, although the government military contracts provided the resources for the area to flourish beyond commercial competition. During this 100 year long period of development, entrepreneurship became a profession and startups an industry.
So, what do you think of that area that you want to transform as the next Silicon Valley? How do you plan to replicate the sequence of events that will eventually create something similar to the Silicon Valley phenomenon? Do you have the scope to wait for a century-long evolution? Will you provide non-competitive government contracts to startups so that early investors can minimize their risks and create a startup industry?