One of the most interesting developments I see at the moment is the move to ubiquitous ICT. ICT in the form of small unobtrusive sensors, smart ICT that takes the context of the user into account (based on all those sensors) and feedback mechanisms to users that do not use explicit displays do this much more on an “experience” level, e.g. by changing the colour of light. I recently read a book called Everyware (as in Hardware and Software) that says some interesting things on this. Sort of like using computers without really using a computer….
A very nice example of this is the “unpronounceable rabbit“. It connects to the Internet, is able to sniff RFID tags and communicate by talking, changing colours, communicates with his ears and all kinds of other things. And the rabbits can talk to eachother so you can send messages to a friend by just twisting his ears.


At the moment I am very much involved in Living Labs. Living Labs are an important development in research, design and development. At the core of the living labs idea is that the gap between design and reality is growing. More and more products and services have social networking aspects or location aware functionality. These aspects are very hard to simulate in a normal laboratory like Home lab at  Philips.
Amsterdam Living Lab is the initiative that we are starting in, surprise, Amsterdam. Here we are changing Amsterdam in a large scale laboratory, together with Waag Society, University  of Amsterdam and Telematica Instituut. Together we try to create new design, develop and test processes based on real life user experience. For this measurement tools and sensor to measure reality will be developed and new design processes that take this real life data into account.
More locations in the Netherlands are developing such an approach. Living Lab Leiden is involved in development of wireless services, Rotterdam Climate Initiative is developing new approaches to saving energy. Approaches that take the real life behaviour of people into account. For the Innovatieplatform I am working a plan to strengthen this ecosystem of initiatives and promote the capabilities national and international.
Next week the Innovatieplatform is organising a big day on innovation in the Netherlands. I am organising a track on Living Labs there too. Several Living Labs are  present and  some demo’s are given. So if you are interested, drop me a line. Meet you on third of December in Rotterdam.

Google bank

Banks are of course very much the focus of the news these days. One of the interesting news items a journalist found out is that Google already has a banking license in the Netherlands. Bank are potentially one of the sectors that will change a lot because of business possibilities that a technology like SaaS will enable. Competition will come from completely new sectors because they are better at reaching the market or using the “intelligence of crowds”.
While searching a little further I found this blog post from Jeff Jarvis where he is asking for examples of bank services that Google would be very good at. Examples are peer to peer lending, more transparency around transactions in stocks, open source platforms to increase functionality (E-invoices anyone?).
In a way Google checkout and it’s competitor PayPal are already on the move. In my view banks really have to start thinking on how to really innovate their processes through which they create value for their customers.


This is very interesting picture that shows the difference between the opportunities for saving energy between Europe and the USA. I do not think there are many households in the Netherlands that do not use a programmeable thermostat, often even integrated with a outside temperature sensor. This is something we have to keep in mind when comparing research on energy saving between the USA and Europe.