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Is a smart phone an Internet of Things device?

Prof. Mischa Dohler debates with creator and presenter of Digital Futures, Shivvy Jervis, on whether a smart phone is an Internet of Things device.
With me, today, is Shivvy Jervis, who was recently named one of the ten future leaders of Britain for her work as creator of popular video series, Digital Futures. Now she’s an editor. She is a speaker and presenter, and who was also recognised with the National Asian Women of Achievement Award this year. Shivvy, thank you very much for coming. You’re making me blush. Right. I wanted to have you here to pick your brain on one thing. I’m going to show you something. I want to know, do you think that smartphone is an Internet of Things device? No. That’s really surprising to me that you would say that. I mean, we’re using the mobile web clearly.
And we’re using our phones to facilitate access to friends and to cabs, and things like that, but I don’t see it as an Internet of Things device. Well, you surely know there are like 14 sensors, which power quite a few applications. Yeah, good point. So I suppose geolocation, lighting, things like that, but are they actually talking to each other? Yeah, good point here. But you know, think of, let’s say, you’re working for the city and that you want to use, let’s say, the map, or you want to use Uber, you really need both together.
So you need the web application and you really need the sensors which are on here– so your location data, and you know, the temperature data, light etc. There’s a lot of stuff these sensors feed into the web applications and they wouldn’t work without them. Right. So that’s where that seamless connectivity makes it a little more Internet of Things. Yeah. OK. OK. You’re slowly winning me over. Keep going. Keep going. So, but let me play another devil’s advocate. So think of the internet as it is today. So the Internet is actually the Internet, because every computer can talk to every other computer. So it’s literally a flat and open architecture.
Now the problem with these things is, is you have Google using these sensors for the applications. You have Apple doing the same ways– Uber et cetera– but they’re not really talking to each other in a totally open way. Oh, they’re closed. So it seems to be more like an intranet, right? Yeah. Yeah. And they’re quite closed proprietary systems in a way. And I suppose actually– so you mentioned the intranet– but think about this. The Internet was first the intranet, and then that evolution happened. And I’m wondering if perhaps the Internet of Things could also transition in that same way. That’s a good point, very good point. OK. So let’s settle on that.
It seems like the iPhone or the smartphone is an Intranet of Things device. But will hopefully transform into an Internet of Things device in the near future. Great. That’s it from us. What do you think?
In the previous discussion, you shared your thoughts on what you think makes a thing into ‘Internet of Things’ thing. Reflecting on the features that were discussed, do you think something as ubiquitous as a smart phone would count as an Internet of Things device?
In this video, Mischa debates the topic with creator and presenter of Digital Futures and The Trailblazers, Shivvy Jervis.
In Weeks 2 and 3 we will respectively dive deeper into the technology and data aspects of the Internet of Things.
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The Internet of Things

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