A few weeks ago I spoke at the International Energy Agency in Paris at a workshop on energy efficiencies in digital networks. It was an odd event to participate in, since the topic sounds so technical and that’s just not me. Much. Plus I’d been asked to do a 30 minute ‘vision’ talk on the future of electronics (which I took to mean CONSUMER electronics) in 2027. 20 years is an impossibly long time to think ahead.
I ended up assembling a presentation which is part overview of what we do in Cambridge, and how my team thinks about people and their experiences with technology; part overview of big technology areas that are likely to have an impact on how consumer experiences evolve, with examples pulled from my Trends blog; and some comment and observations on people’s experiences and needs from energy efficient systems. I ended up being reasonably happy with the result, and it seemed to be positively received.
Some really good speakers at the event, too, like Ronald Tol from Philips who talked about lighting networks, and Armin Anders from Enocean who talked about their really interesting work developing self-powered switches and sensors, that get their energy from the kinetic action of switching a switch, or from solar energy. They’re also working on thermally powered sensors that get their energy from the difference in temperature between the sensor itself and a finger. Very cool.
The workshop really ended up broadening my concept of networks to include building infrastructure more generally, and really made me realize how valuable the human perspective is in even the most technically-seeming topics.