IoT Council: Three Questions on IoT: Karmen Franinovic

When did you hear first of IoT? In what context was that?

Difficult one! I think it was in 2002 in Ivrea – but we used the term connected things (more than 2 things ;), not sure about ItO. I remember brainstorming ideas about distributed urban lighting in my first day in Ivrea, so the infrastructural part was there as well.
But Victor Vina’s Boxes were a nice example that was already working when I got there.
Also some stuff at the Disappearing Computer EC initiative.

Did you think it was something big then or just another technology?

I was an architect coming to study in Ivrea in 2002, and totally in love with the tangible and embodied interfaces integrated in and distributed across the environment. Responsive Environments was a more interesting term to me at the moment (remember Riga symposium?) and projects like those from FoAM where Yon Visell programmed behaviour of the space using Hidden Markov models. Also.

What were your dreams, hopes for it once you realised how big it was going to be?

I hoped it would revitalise and democratise the use of public space, make strangers connect in physical settings, reduce neoliberal presence in public areas.

Things went the exact opposite direction – I remember in Ivrea someone making a video of everyone staring at their phones in the bus and not talking to each other. We all laughed, thinking our visions would be the future. Young and naive we were…

Karmen Franinovic