Vibrancy of London IoT Meetups
Cross-cultural, international collaboration crucible fuels bottom-up thing-to-thing innovation
Published 00:24, 05 February 13
I particularly enjoy going to the Internet of Things Meetups
in London's Tech City/Silicon Roundabout. There's much more to them than just the vibrancy of entrepreneurial young people beavering and buzzing with ideas.
IT developers, designers, architects, artists, electronics engineers, academics, and more, interact and spark each other off at these monthly Meetups (hosted by Cosm and organised by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Fee Schmidt-Soltau and Ed Borden).
What strikes me is the sheer variety of backgrounds that come together - the sort of range I just don't see at the typical more established IT industry events I attend.
All are there to create new kinds of thing-to-thing connectivity usually based around open hardware Arduino and/or Raspberry Pi boards. The goal is to build novel, robust sensor-based capabilities at a fraction of mainstream standard current costs.
I find it refreshing that there are no artificial subject boundaries at these Meet-Ups - everything counts as a thing!
These monthly sessions are packed to capacity with 95 people, with long waiting lists. The next event, for example, has a waiting list of 85.
I'm constantly heartened by the number of attendees I meet who connect or talk at peer-to-peer level with innovation teams in larger companies - not just IT suppliers but corporate user companies of the scale of Tesco and Rolls-Royce.
As well as the broad disciplinary mix those Meetups display a healthy international mix. There are no boundaries to the thinking and activities and members communicate and link up with similar Meetups abroad, especially in Madrid, Amsterdam and New York. The last two Meetups have had presentations from exciting developments from Spanish pioneers who flew over specially (Ion Cuervas-Mons of OpenArch and Agustin Bavarro of Lhings) - and leading lights on the Madrid Internet of Things Meetup scene, Cesar Garcia and Sara Alvarellos, came over last March.
So something new and different is happening at ground level. London's IoT scene has an energy, spirit and independence that bodes very well for the near future.