06.10.2016

IoT Barcamp Notes

The venue encompassed the entire floor in a modern office building located in Düsseldorf Golzheim, in the heart of Düsseldorf’s fashion district. It was a large open space with enough room to move around, a number of tables and chairs for taking breaks or to talk and work together with colleagues. So far so good.

The day progressed according to the time schedule starting with an introduction by the organisers and the opportunity for everyone in the audience to introduce himself/herself, together with three hashtag-like topics of one’s own interests. With 130 people I was quite worried about how long that would take, but everyone managed to keep it short.

The introduction round revealed a diverse set of interests around IoT: from business topics (business models, ventures) through to UX design, platform building, hardware, radio, smart cities, autonomous vehicles, security, prototyping, LORA.

Session Planning was quite straight-forward: 23 session submissions, with 20 available slots. After a short debate, two sessions joined, and two more were placed during the lunch break.

Sascha Pallenberg’s keynote was intended to be live streamed (because of Sascha being in Taipeh), but due to technical problems it was recorded and played back. Sascha showed what “Smart City” really means being in Taipeh: autonoumous underground trains, NFC payment being the norm and so on. Really interesting, especially when comparing the situation to - lets say - countries like Germany. Watch the recording on the barcamp live page, German-only.

I had to hurry to finish my last slides for a session I was to give at 11:00, about “Data formats for the IoT: Developing for embedded and web”. We researched different data formats and their efficiency with regards to size a and compared to binary formats. For example, parsing JSON or even XML on an embedded device can be really hard, whereas parsing the same structure in binary form can be quite easy to code AND reduces data sizes when transmitting or storing.

I wondered if this topic would fire up discussions in the audience: If it makes sense, if it makes a difference, whether it is needed because it has already been solved? I was not disappointed. We had a lively discussion covering a lot of aspects, so obviously we raised a relevant topic.

You can take a look at my slides here. This and other material will be the basis of our upcoming projects, so stay tuned :)

The next session I visited was “IoT Service Kit” presented by Michael Hufelschulte from Cassini. The core idea is to have an offline “playground” to prototype mobile and IoT solutions. The IoT is not only about software behind a web interface, and not only about hardware gadgets either: It’s also about technology becoming ubiquitous, so we should model and design the usage of it as well. The IoT service kit does that, and Michael invited the audience around a table to design and run through a sample case.

I was also happy to find a session about radio technology: Crowd sourced LPWAN, LoraWAN and The Things Network,by @kgbvax. I already knew a bit about LORA and read about the underlying radio technology in the slide presentation “Reversing LORA”) but I still had some questions, such as what nodes to attach to a gateway, how to code against it, costs, regulations etc. All answered, nice session!

The last session i visited was “Selecting the right radio technology for IoT”. Lyn Matten from mm1 Technology introduced the various pitfalls that may arise when selecting a radio technology for your own project, be it security, energy consumption, regulations, internationalisation etc. Bottom line: Know your requirements (as always :-) Slides: to be determined.

I’m still waiting for the session notes and the full list of links to the slides. I hope they’re going to be published by the barcamp team, so i can supply them to you.

Looking forward to the next IoT Barcamp!

Andreas