by Dries De Roeck on July 17, 2018

For some reason I forgot to actually copy this post from my writing notes to the blog. Woops, but still relevant I think.

I’m writing this on the train back home after a day of chatting, reflecting and working on the #IOTMARK initiative. For those not familiar, IOTMARK emerged out of the open IoT definition which was initiated in 2012 by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino and Usman Haque.

Exactly one year ago, the open IoT definition was revisited with the goal to explore the interest and format to create a certification mark or trustmark for IoT product from the bottom up.

Today, June 13th 2018

Alex put in a lot of energy in hosting today’s IOTMARK event. And although I came in rather unprepared, I did take the time to review the last version of the 33 principles that were defined based on previous meetings online and offline with a very diverse range of people. After revisiting the topics and statements and meeting some new and old friends, old and new conversations were revisited and held around the topics.
I believe that right after lunch, Alex dropped ‘the bomb’ – to me this was today’s slap in the face many of us needed.
Paraphrasing Alex :

“IOTMARK is not another manifesto but _must_ go further. Crystallising assessment criteria is essential and critical.”

At least, it made me think about IOTMARK in a different – more profound – way. Most of us, including myself, are very good at ranting about how things should be and what ought to be done. In the final hours of today’s event, we collectively focussed on defining actionable assessment criteria to tackle each of the IOTMARK principles. Because there were quite a few of us there that have been involved in the IOTMARK process for some time now, it was possible to land on some assessment criteria – also for the though points.

Are we there yet?

No, not at all. I’m not even sure if we’ll ever get ‘there’. All I can say is that it was nice to experience how hazy thoughts did start to crystallise into actionable components. Over the next few months, I very much believe today’s event laid a good foundation to further construct the format and structure of the trust/certification mark.

But Dries, aren’t other people or organisations doing this?

Quite a few to be honest. What is nice within the IOTMARK working group is that almost everyone involved has a link to ‘doing IoT’ in the field. Therefore it is a very bottom up activity, which actively reaches out to other related activities.

An important one of such activities is Peter Bihr’s work with Mozilla on a trustmark for IoT, alongside other projects around the world.
So let it be clear that a lot is moving in this space, but I can safely say that the space is by no means competitive (yet?). Everyone involved is looking for complementarity, coming in from diverse angles.

But Dries, it is not resulting in anything.

When I talk to people around me, the above is a common thought that surfaces. From my point of view, however, it results in a lot of things. Investing my time in gatherings like this are investments in the process.

And although there may never be an actual, enforceable, IoT mark, it is about contributing, being present and showing up. The topic of responsible IoT is close to my heart, and however cheesy that may sound, I’m willing to push back other work because of it. #sorrynotsorry

Today was another reminder to believe in process, and hold back on trying to identify outcomes or results upfront. I’m sure they will emerge and right now I want to contribute where I can.

I believe you should too, if you personally and truly care about how internet connected products are impacting our society.

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