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From LeWeb Paris 2012: Cyborgs, location, future interface and maps

December 12th, 2012 |  Published in LeWeb Paris 2012

12 December 2012 –  I can’t believe Le Web Paris 2012 is already over for 2012. My head is crammed with so many thoughts from the past three days. The two that keeping coming back to me are (1) we are all cyborgs and (2) you can learn life lessons from ultra marathon runners  (a great presentation on the quantified self).  I distinguish “Paris” from “London” since LebWeb launched a London version last year, to be repeated next June.

LeWeb is Europe’s most established tech conference, the brainchild of French serial entrepreneur Loic Le Meur.  Le Web has been the primus inter pares, but the growing size and scale of the Dublin Web Summit poses an interesting challenger. LeWeb runs for three days and there were about 3,500 of us, most from across Europe but a good number from the U.S.  It is a brilliant range of speakers and presentations.  But the real reason people come:  to network.  And much like the Mobile World Congress which I attend every year, it is a networking bonanza.

This year Le Web’s focus is on the “Internet of things” (IoT), a topic I wrote about earlier this month .  The idea: in a few years time the number of devices connected to the internet will bloom from around two billion at the moment, to any number you can think of by some indeterminate point in the future; estimates range from 10 billion to 50 billion — which is a pretty wide margin of error, by some time around 2020, which is suitably vague. The details don’t actually matter. What is clear is that the internet of things is already coming.

And folks are making money on it!!   As the Wall Street Journal just reported, Telefonica Digital is generating very significant revenue from providing fleet management tracking and sees other vehicle programs, such as insurance that is based on where and how you drive via a vehicle-mounted black box.

It was a great first day, with some brilliant presentations including one by Ben Gomes on the past and future of search, a presentation of the Google Knowledge Graph, plus some side bits on the future of legal search.

But the coolest presentation , I think, was Amber Case of caseorganic who gave a showstopping presentation on the future of interface and the IoT.

And if you do not know Amber, well you should. If you follow her you know she is a cyborg anthropologist, examining the way humans and technology interact and evolve together. Like all anthropologists, Case watches people, but her fieldwork involves observing how they participate in digital networks, analyzing the various ways we project our personalities, communicate, work, play, share ideas and even form values. Case, who predicts that intensification of the human-technology interface will quickly reduce the distance between individual and community, believes that the convergence of technologies will bring about unprecedented rapid learning and communication. Dubbed a digital philosopher, Case applies her findings to such fields as information architecture, usability and online productivity.

She is the founder of Geoloqi, Inc. which is a company bringing the future of location to the world. She has been featured in numerous articles in Forbes, WIRED, etc. Her main focus is mobile software, non-visual augmented reality, the future of location, and reducing the amount of time and space it takes for people to connect.

Her presentation today was a delight. Far too much to detail right now but one brilliant piece was her explanation of the need to correlate multiple data sets and give meaning to data.  Simple, precise … and she showed how to do it.

Just some of the slides she used (for whole slide deck click here; a link to the full video of her presentation is below):



















For her full video presentation click here.

Every time I return from events like LeWeb I am left feeling that my time there was way too short. I didn’t get to see all the talks I wanted to see and I didn’t get to meet all the people I wanted to meet. So I cannot cover everything in this post.  So I have highlighted below some of the more popular presentations and who members of various social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, et al.) thought were the most active “influencers”:

Interview with Matt Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress
Interview with Tony Fadell, Founder & CEO, Nest Labs

How Dunkin’ Donuts Keeps Its Passionate Fans Running on Social Media

Facebook Panel about Mobile Growth

And for a nice social media analysis of the numbers behind LeWeb Salesforce has put together a nice slideshare.

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"The mind that lies fallow but a single day sprouts up follies that are only to be killed by a constant and assiduous culture."
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