#thingsconAMS notes

by Dries De Roeck on December 5, 2015

Thingscon is turning out a very nice place for me to reflect on IoT in a non technical and business dominated mindset. I took some quick notes during the talks. Not intending to be coherent, but pointers that stuck with me.

Iskander Smit :

  • “the function of a product is defined by the use”


The whole idea of scriptable product is starting to make sense. I do think we need to get rid of the term platforms. Currently I’m trying to figure out what a physical product would look like if it were created just like an Angular.js website is ‘generated’.

Matt Cottam :


Another indication that the type of products we are moving towards do not need to have a specific end result. They should leave space for interpretation. Note : this does not equal customisation.

Nadya Peek:

  • Designerless creation of Shanzai phones : why do we not all work like that?


Prototyping and making in low quantities while designing a product seems to make more sense.

Paul Hekkert:


There was a clear clash going on here between the traditional way of thinking about the design discipline and the ‘maker’ approach.

Marcel Shouwenaar:

  • Commoditisation of IoT : connected doorbells in Gamma


The whole ‘IoT transition’ will probably just happen in front of our eyes. This was also shown by the talks of Van Berlo and KoningsKappelhof. Products just suddenly happen to be partly digital. It could be debatable whether we should think about it too much (altough that the recent VTech happenings might show that we do need to think about it)

Claire Rowland:

  • Arcane interaction
  • System latency as a feature, embrace it and do not try to design around it.


Arcane interaction seems to relate with my thinking about meaning and next generation alchemy. Also, I just like the term.

Tina Aspiala:

  • Early adopter crack


What has early adopter crack looked like in the past? Makes me think about the TBD catalog.

Ross Atkins:

  • We can’t opt out of using our cities
  • people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans. (Jane Jacobs)
  • The clever city manifesto


By using the term ‘clever’ instead of ‘smart’ city, the humane dimension of it all skyrockets. Ross’ examples on how to actually think about this is rather spot on.

Why do I blog this?

The prime reason I visited thingscon in Amsterdam was to talk to some people about the IoT ideation and design processes for IoT work which I’m working on at Studio Dott. I met several known and new people, which was exactly what I wanted to get out of the event.

Since I was at the previous two thingscon events in Berlin, the general ‘content’ was mostly a confirmation of previous insights. I had the feeling there were a lot of ‘new’ people begin introduced to the people/social/design oriented thingscon content. This is excellent, but at the same time I felt the need for a more in depth track.

Nevertheless, the thingscon family is rather unique – which I am glad to have experienced once again!

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