Category: Info Visualisation

Thingys/ Industry 4.0

I signed up for a free Futurelearn IoT ‘The Internet of things’ online course at kings college London. I wanted to find out more about the IoT tech side, the networks, infrastructure, Smart cities etc…the course was really geared towards entrepreneurs intent on starting their own IoT company but there was some interesting opinions and ideas from future thinkers.

Over the last few months as I was investigating sites that allow you to visualise data. I came across one called Pachube (pronounced: Patch-Bay), a data infrastructure and community for the Internet of Things i.e the twitter of IoT was the utopian vision…unfortunately it was sold to another company Xively in 2013, to become a public cloud for the IoT. Needless to say it is no longer free, most IoT companies are now attempting to monetise things.

The founder of Pachube and person who impressed the most on the future Learn course was an architect turned Technologist called Usman Haque. He seems to have a utopian vision for IoT and has now another umbrella company in London called appropiately…Umbrellium. They design and build technological tools to support citizen empowerment and high impact engagement in cities.

Some of their Inititatives are diverse…Assemblance, a collaborative immersive environment…or Porthole, an augmented reality application that contextualises energy and environmental information by overlaying three-dimensional interactive real-time data visualisations directly on the camera view of a mobile phone….or Wearon a prototyping platform for wearable designers to connect their devices quickly and simply to a smartphone, to the web and to each other….


which finally brings me to the wonderful Thingful a search engine for the Internet of Things, providing a unique geographical index of connected objects around the world.

Lives driven by Data

Media theorist ‘Lev Manovich’ said:

“19th Century culture was defined by the novel,
20th Century culture by Cinema,
The culture of the 21st century will be defined by the interface.”


His media visualisation techniques compress massive amounts of data into ‘smaller observable media landscapes. Rather than searching through metadata, we’re then able to find relevant information in a way that’s more compatible with the way humans process information. This is particularly valuable in giving us the ability to observe where patterns of structure and colour may exist.

A lot of digital works for me in general are conceptually sound, but the arrived at outcome is not always aesthetically pleasing.

Artist Aaron Koblin expands on this, he takes vast amounts of data — and at times vast numbers of people — and weaves them into interesting visualizations. From elegant lines tracing airline flights to landscapes of cell phone data, his works explore how modern technology can make us more human.


We can set parameters and choose what to pull out of the data glut. Below is a visualisation of data from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration processed to create animations of flight traffic patterns and density. The outcome is Colour coded by type: Altitude, make and model.


Note to Self:

  • I Will continue my reading/research into the representation of information gathered, and how best to present it once captured.