Your Internet of Things Tinkering Kit: 10 Necessary Tools & Tips


There is tons about the Internet of Things (IoT), we do not know or are not sure of – yet! Mainly concerning its future applicability. Will the IoT become the Internet of Everything (Cisco), the Internet of Your Things, from manufacturing to retail (Microsoft), the Internet of Things and Services (Bosch), the Internet of Things, Sensors and Actuators (Vint Cerf), or the Internet of Things and Humans (Tim O’Reilly). Will there be 50 billion “Things” connected to the Internet by 2020 (Cisco), or 26 billion, PCs, tablets and smartphones excluded (Gartner). And how will things be connected to one another? Are there indeed trillions of easy profit to gain? Exactly by whom, through what, where, when, why, and how? Some guidance please!

M2M aka the Automation of Automation
Probably it is safe to presume that some sort of Internet of Things, our Personal and Business Things, accompanied by Services through Sensors and Actuators, aimed at Human, Environmental and Organizational Profit and Convenience will develop during the second half of this decade, from 2015 to 2020. It means we are still in our IoT’s infancy. This IoT will eventually be a fairly complex H2M2M2H or S: Society (AutoDesk) thing, with Machine-to-Machine (M2M), the Automation of Automation, as its core.

Marieke Blom, Head of Macro and Consumer Economics at Dutch banking giant ING, used the term “Robots” on May 5, 2014, our local WWII Liberation Day, to designate ALL labour-reducing technology: software, systems, big data analytics, and . . . well, robots. Will mankind in 2020, or 2050 for that matter, be liberated or shackled by the IoT, industrial and service Robots, while living in Smart Cities? Perhaps both, depending on your views and values.

Cute Tech Won’t Solve Our Problems
‘Cute’ tech won’t solve planet’s energy woes, Bill Gates said in May 2011 at Wired’s Business Conference Disruptive by Design: “If you’re interested in cuteness, the stuff in the home is the place to go.” And then there are these more common concerns, in Swiss band Lunik’s words from 2001:

I wonder about the true sense
And constraints of digitality, reality
Depends on it more and more

And I wonder, is there really a big brother or not?
All these thoughts appear at night
What if Orwell’s right?

A perfect world, I’m at home everywhere
‘Cause it’s all virtual
A perfect world, secret stories are all gone
For everyone

Mankind’s Last Invention?
The bottom line was written a few days ago by The Independent who interviewed professors Stephen Hawking (Cambridge University), Stuart Russell (UC Berkeley), Max Tegmark and Frank Wilczek (both MIT), and it reads like this: “Whereas the short-term impact of Artificial Intelligence depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.” The IoT, more M2M, Robots, and Artificial Intelligence covered by the notion of Smart may well be mankind’s last invention. Depressed already? No need. It simply means we have to turn things around. From now on, disruptions must be carefully designed.

Internet of Things solutions and applications may well turn out to be such a disruption, so we are urged to make them at least Disruptive by Design. How? By using . . .

. . . My Forward-Thinking IoT Tinkering Kit
Now, what’s in it? Embedded in my musings, it consists of the following necessary tips and tools:

1. The definition as developed above for a start: the IoT will develop as the Internet of our Personal and Business Things, accompanied by Services via Sensors and Actuators, aimed at Human, Environmental and Organizational Profit and Convenience.

2. The M2M principle, or the Automation of Automation, in existing or new event, process and value chains. Be aware of what automation means, how it developed, and what its high-paced evolution could mean for you as objects go online and we move from the Internet of Computers to the Internet of Things.

3. Continuously keep asking yourself: Who? What? Where? When? Why? And How?

4. Bear in mind that we are talking Internet of Things here, not Thinks – figments of the mind. The Swiss I-Lab shows exactly what I mean. Their projects are embedded in practical settings and require a multi-disciplinary approach. They revolve around specific and detailed questions.

5. Guidance Framework A – this most impressive Wikipedia List of Sensors.

6. Guidance Framework B – H2M2M2H: a comprehensive map of how the Internet of Things relates to all M2M communications & data exchange, and, ultimately M2H by Joseph A. di Paolantonio.

7. Guidance Framework C –  the Cyber-Physical Systems Concept Map.

8. Guidance Framework D – how smart, connected things will transform manufacturers, see my abstract of the ThingWorx e-book below. This, I assure you, is a role model function which other industries should carefully rethink and act upon since many more will be in the industry of crafting and manufacturing – connected things and experiences: on their own and/or with partners! Gartner predicts that manufacturers, healthcare and insurance will enjoy the best Economic Value-Add from the IoT: 15, 15, and 11 percent. Now what do they have in common? They all par excellence are in the Business of Caring for People.


9. Guidance Framework E: Michael Koster’s IoT Toolkit plus, more importantly, the supporting data models. Building partnerships may very well be what you need:


10. Keep track of evolving best practices, e.g.UBI (Usage-Based Insurance):  a means of monitoring and underwriting risk, which has been made possible by mobile technology and insurers’ burgeoning capacity to analyze vast quantities of raw data. UBI is a major step towards UbiComp: Ubiquitous aka Pervasive Computing. By all means bear in mind where the Smartening of Cities around the world is headed.

The fourth stage of the Industrial Revolution is upon us due to the far-reaching integration, accelerated by the Internet of Things, of Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT). This creates completely new opportunities as a result of new combinations of mental, physical and mechanical work by integrating the internet, sensors and embedded systems.

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  1. jos punter May 8, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jaap,
    Extremely cool read ! I would like to add one thing to your Tinkering kit, if you dont mind 🙂

    The the sea-gull law : Embrace and work with the IoT, dont claim it for youselve or try to get total control.

  2. Jaap Bloem May 8, 2014 Reply

    @jospunter and @everyone: let’s add as much fundamentals as we can!
    i asked @dexcoffier to leverage #smartengine in this IoT Tinkering Kit context.

  3. Jos Punter May 8, 2014 Reply

    Start eliminating sensor data silos – or – stop creating sensor data silos

  4. Jaap Bloem May 11, 2014 Reply

    Things are coming together! Next week PITSaC will be held, the 2nd int’l workshop on Pervasive Internet of Things and Smarter Cities

  5. Jos Punter May 12, 2014 Reply

    You are going there ?

  6. Jaap Bloem May 16, 2014 Reply

    @jospunter sorry for being late responding, just:
    don’t waste atoms, spend bits 😉