Welcome!

Python Authors: Ignacio M. Llorente, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, John Wetherill, Trevor Parsons

Blog Feed Post

Converge+UK mashes up design, business & technology at Google Campus in Shoreditch

Converge+UK is a new series of events to bring together designers, developers, entrepreneurs and investors. The events are being toured around the various startup incubators in London over the course of 2012 and 2013. Converge+UK is being run on a non-profit basis and tickets are usually five pounds. The next event is on 3 October at the Innovation Warehouse.

Innovation happens when people from different backgrounds are thrown together. So 31 August 2012 saw 50 designers, developers and entrepreneurs converge on the Google startup incubator in Shoreditch. The event was the launch of Converge+UK, which is a community forum to bring together people from different backgrounds and encourage healthy debate.

The event was co-founded by a diverse group of London professionals including David Clare, Sallie Bale, Dan George, Klaus Bravenboer, Tim McCready and Peter Thomson. David, Sallie and Dan have provided the PR and communications powerhouse to bring people together. While Klaus, Tim and Peter have organised speakers and pulled together an informal advisory board to steer the group.

Launch of the group
Matt Morrison, Neil Tierney and Josh Mora generously contributed their networks and connections to secure industry speakers who represented the spirit of convergence and innovation. The speakers were Alfie Dennen, Ami Shpiro and Grant Harrison. This gave the group a speaker from each of the three different disciplines of design, business and technology.

The convergence of design, business and technology is equally relevant to large businesses or to entrepreneurs, but the startup community in London seems to be a great place for people from these different backgrounds to come together. Collaboration seems to thrive in startups where every day counts and rapidly proving a concept is the difference between launching a product (or not), getting funding (or not) and surviving as a business.

Co-founder Peter Thomson had just completed a Landmark Education leadership course. "In the course they challenge you to think about the charities and community groups that you could be more involved in. I had been thinking for a long time about how to bring my friends from different work backgrounds together, so Converge+UK was a perfect project to get involved with."

The speakers on the night had been briefed to be brief, to tell real war stories and to hold nothing back in terms of what worked and what didn't. As a result, there were fewer PowerPoint slides than usual and more anecdotes about innovation in the real world.

Group discussions
One of the main aims of Converge+UK was to prompt new conversations, so after each speaker there were a series of discussion topics and icebreaker exercises. Klaus Bravenboer noted, "One thing we learned from the launch event was that once people get chatting, they don't really want to stop, so timekeeping will be a bigger part of the next event." The most popular group discussion topic was "What should LOCOG have done about the empty seats at the Olympics?" The best answers included a pre-event airline-style check-in procedure (with standby tickets), using volunteer seat fillers and even creative ways to punish corporate sponsors who didn't use their allocations.

Alfie Dennen on creativity at the boundaries
Alfie gave a great introduction to the life of a Creative Technologist. Mixing installation art, digital technology and social engineering. One of Alfie's great habits is to never refer to "the internet" instead preferring the term "the network" because it reminds us that, behind the layer of technology, it's all about people. Alfie is obviously a master of bringing different disciplines together to execute a concept. Examples included the Caledonian Park clocktower being connected to twitter to remind the community when it needs winding, a stone glyph created across the UK and open-source digital signage on the top of bus shelters.

Grant Harrison on innovation in healthcare
Grant shared compelling war stories about the startups he's been involved in. From the founding of Tesco's ClubCard, through to online doctors visits and new models of insurance. Grant shared examples of innovation in the systems behind healthcare and the difference between fixing illness and creating health. Converge co-founders, David, Tim and Klaus particularly enjoyed the discussion of quantified-self tools like the Nike Fuel Band and the FitBit. Co-founder David, who also blogs for quantified self blog One More Life Hack commented "The quantified self movement has been going since 2006, yet it is really only just starting to get traction. Hearing Grant's experiences of how he has been self-tracking for such a long time reminds us why the quantified self is so important and how far (maybe even too far) we can take it."

Ami Shpiro on crossing the chasm by collaborating
Ami is the head of the Innovation Warehouse in Farringdon (the next Converge+UK venue). Ami talked about the businesses that he's started, invested in and mentored. His technical background has allowed him to ask tough questions of entrepreneurs. The audience particularly enjoyed his discussion of how products diffuse through a community. He prompted a good debate about the book "Crossing the Chasm" and what an entrepreneur can do to try and get their product ready to scale.

Event partners
The visual identity was created by Stephen Tolfrey. Photography was captured by Peter Alberti and Dan Wong. The t-shirts emblazoned with the catch phrase for the night, Get Sh+t Done were provided by Icon Printing and looked great. The posters were printed by printed.com which turned out (despite the corporate sounding name) to be friendly and helpful. Wine and beer was provided by Central Working.

The first event was a bit like a live prototype with lots of comedic errors, table legs breaking and rapidly improvised solutions. But we got there in the end, and learned a lot which will make the next event even better.

The next Converge+UK event is on 3 October at 7pm at the Innovation Warehouse in Farringdon. Tickets, speaker information and a chance to vote on the t-shirt designs are at the Converge+UK Facebook page

Information for editors:
Converge+UK is a non-profit series of events being held around London to promote collaboration and innovation in the overlap between design, business and technology. More information is available from www.converge-uk.org High resolution images, interviews, quotes and bios are available from [email protected]

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By RealWire News Distribution

RealWire is a global news release distribution service specialising in the online media. The RealWire approach focuses on delivering relevant content to the receivers of our client's news releases. As we know that it is only through delivering relevance, that influence can ever be achieved.

@ThingsExpo Stories
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...