Posts by Menno van Doorn

About Menno van Doorn

Menno van Doorn is Director of the Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology (VINT) in the Netherlands. He mixes personal life experiences with the findings of the 17 years of research done at the VINT Research Institute. Menno has co-authored five books on the impact of new technology on business and society. Awards: IT Researcher of the Year in the Netherlands.

What would Google do now that IBM and Apple are friends?

IBM-AppleApple and IBM announced their alliance yesterday. The two old enemies made an agreement to make 100 business apps and sell iPhones to corporate customers. Engineers of the two companies will work together on serious business apps. IBM’s business DNA can help Apple to make a move into this direction. We know Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has an appetite for business. Earlier this year he expressed his enthusiasm about the enterprise market as follows:

“It’s clear that the enterprise area has huge potential, and we’re doing well from a percentage of companies that are using iPhone and iPad. It’s up to unbelievable numbers. The iPhone is used in 97% of the Fortune 500, and 91% of the Global 500, and iPad is used in 98% of the Fortune 500 and 93% of the Global 500″

[Read more...]

Future of Retail: Nightmare on Elm Street


In the 1984 horror classic “Nightmare on Elm Street” the world of dreams and the physical world were connected. People got attacked in their dreams, and woke up physically hurt, or even dead. This virtu-real scenario is unfolding in many parts of the economy today. Like in retail, where brick-companies are hurt by virtual retail challengers.

The times pinching yourself in the arm and asking the question “Is this really happening to me?” are over since 2010. When you look at the staggering yearly growth rate of Amazon in 2010 – 213, we see 20% – 40% rates, adding up to an expected 80 billion revenue or more in 2014. The biggest off-line retailer in the world, Walmart, for the first time is even showing faster e-commerce growth rates  than Amazon, while offline sales in retail overall are declining. Buying virtually is getting in the DNA of the 21st century consumer. Almost 70% of the Americans bought electronic goods on-line, 63% bought clothes and 20% buy daily groceries on-line. Countries like India and China are showing the same trend. The famous Chinese company “Alibaba” sold for $ 5.75 billion of goods on their virtual platforms Taboa and Tmall, in only one day (11 november 2013).

Internet of Things is the bricks-and-mortar revival
A nightmare on Elm Street is about the physical and virtual world melting together. And although companies like Barnes and Nobles, Staples and Gap are closing hundreds of shops since 2011, the Elm street nightmare of death in the city, empty streets and closed down shops, is not the only possible scenario. In reality retail is getting virtualized in such a way that bricks and mortar are becoming the new e-commerce platforms. All because of the internet of things. Michael Chui, partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, is very positive about these new possibilities.

“A lot of things we can do online, now, with the internet of things, we can also do offline. Bricks-and-mortar-stores have seen nothing like it”.

[Read more...]

Het Internet of Things en de Vierde Industriële Revolutie [Download]


Klik op de cover om het rapport te downloaden

De vierde industriële revolutie draait om compleet nieuwe combinaties van hoofd-, hand- en machinewerk door de samensmelting van internet, sensoren en embedded systems. De convergentie tussen Operationele Technologie (OT) en Informatie Technologie (IT) is hiervoor de basis. De totale omvang van deze automatiseringsmarkt bedraagt nu ruim 300 miljard dollar en loopt op tot 3.880 miljard dollar in 2022.

This is the Dutch announcement of our third report on the Internet of Things titled The Fourth Industrial Revolution – Things to Tighten the Link between IT and OT. To download the English edition, click here.

Het Internet of Things speelt een cruciale rol als matchmaker tussen de Informatie Technologie (IT) en de Operationele Technologie (OT). De operationele machinewereld wordt dankzij ‘things’ menselijker en bovendien zijn sensoren daar al meer ingeburgerd. De IT-wereld komt dankzij ‘things’ meer in de operatie te staan en de kansen om waarde toe te voegen ‘where the action is’ liggen voor het oprapen: namelijk in de dagelijkse omgang met apparaten en fysieke producten.

In deze notitie kijken we naar de drie hoofdredenen om aan het IoT-avontuur te beginnen:

1. de winst van machine-interactie (M2M) als basis van snelheid en intelligentie;
2. de winst van beter onderhoud: liefst Predictive Maintenance;
3. de winst van engagement ofwel klantinteractie: mens en machine in Smart Factories en daarbuiten.

Tot slot geeft het rapport naast inzichten in de fusie tussen IT en OT ook concrete aanbevelingen dit onderdeel te maken van digitale transformatie roadmap. Download nu het nieuwe rapport van VINT: De Vierde Industriële Revolutie: Things slaan een brug tussen OT en IT.


The Fourth Industrial Revolution – Internet of Things to Tighten the Link between IT and OT [Download]

Click on the cover to download

Click on the cover to download

The fourth stage of the Industrial Revolution is upon us due to the far-reaching integration, accelerated by the Internet of Things, of Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT). This creates completely new opportunities as a result of new combinations of mental, physical and mechanical work by integrating the internet, sensors and embedded systems.

The Internet of Things enabled IT/OT convergence leads to cost reduction as a consequence of predictive maintenance, speed and intelligence, thanks to Machine-to-Machine communication and improved forms of Human-Machine Interaction. M2M interaction between and within machines and systems is the cyber-physical heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

End-to-end ecosystems – from design and production to client interaction and advanced Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) – should be focused on a future in which appliances, devices, things and machines for professionals and private people will communicate with central systems, with one another, and with users for the purpose of providing the best possible facilities to makers, service providers, legislators and customers.

Organizations should put IT-OT integration on their digital transformation roadmap, focusing their attention and knowledge from various disciplines, ranging from connectivity, infrastructure, standardization, work processes and risk management to human resources and marketing.

The new VINT report provides insights into the IT-OT fusion and presents three recommendations to speed up this integration.

Download in English


Download in Dutch


The Internet of Things and the ‘programability’ of the physical world – Download

Click on the cover to download

Click on the cover to download

The Internet of Things plays a crucial role in the ‘programability’ of the physical world. As a matchmaker between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), the IoT has capacities at its disposal that appeal to both partners. The operational machine world is becoming more human due to ‘things’. Moreover, sensors are more entrenched in that field. But, thanks to these ‘things’, the IT world is becoming more integrated in the domain of operations, and the opportunities to add value ‘where the action is’ are simply there for the taking: in everyday interaction with appliances and physical products.

In the new report by VINT, our trendland examines the three main reasons to embark upon the Internet of Things adventure:

  • the benefits of human-machine interaction (M2M) as the basis of speed and intelligence
  • the benefits of better maintenance: preferably Predictive Maintenance
  • the benefits of engagement or customer interaction: humans and machines in Smart Factories and beyond.

Equipping everything on the factory floor and everything that leaves the factory with sensors and internet connections brings benefits to the user and, of course, to the underlying industry.


A precondition of success in IT/OT is the ability to bring people together, both physically and mentally. This means that all barriers will have to be flattened.

In the new report called The Fourth Industrial Revolution Things to Tighten the Link between IT and OT , VINT provides  three recommendations to speed up this integration.

Download in English


Download in Dutch


The right to be forgotten (for dummies)

privacyYou’ve probably heard about the European Court that has given you the right to be forgotten. Outdated, irrelevant, embarrassing data can now be removed by Google. A request to do so can be found here.

Before you do that, watch what John Oliver has to say about it.

Google has appointed Professor Luciano Floridi to find out how it should comply with the EU court ruling. Floridi said that “the era of freely available information is now over in Europe”. But he also said that the new rule could be giving organizations more control: “They now have the power to ask for embarrassing information about their clients to be removed. Everything is up for debate.”

Since everything is up for a debate, I’ve offered professor Floridi my help. One philosophy professor from Oxford can’t do the hard work all by himself, can he?

The DIY Spy (Amazon + Twitter + IoT)

How to build your own surveillance gadget? That’s easy with a Raspberry Pi, Amazon Mechanical Turk and a Twitter account. Using the power from an ordinary light bulb socket you can listen into conversations 24/7. The recordings are sent to a crowdsource platform called Mechanical Turk, where small fees are paid to translate audio into text. Small snippets from these conversations are then send to Conversnitch’s twitter account (@conversnitch) and then read what people are saying. For instance:  “I had a student puke on me earlier this week”. This video shows how it works and on github you will find alll the source code to DIY yourself into a spy.

Conversnitch from Kyle McDonald on Vimeo.

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Capitalizing on the Internet of Things

Are we entering a fourth industrial revolution? We think yes. The convergence of physical things with the world of the internet (of things) is poised to cause yet another revolution that will have a huge impact on the world. In our new report we describe this revolution by investigating the convergence of operational technology and IT.

This infographic is a great visualization of what is going on right now and what we can expect from the next few years.


Morgan Stanley Reports on Internet of Things Disruptions

In a recently published blue paper, Morgen Stanly attempts to quantify the potential impacts of an ‘Internet of Things’ Economy. In their view, it is the  pervasive penetration and integration of semiconductors, networking/connectivity, and Big Data/analytics into the real economy. Building upon the previous wave of computing (smartphone/mobile internet) that was driven by vertical integration (Apple) and a move from hardware to software/applications (Google/Android) in the  consumer space. Moore’s Law  (Bluetooth chips below US1$ and application processors at the US2$ level) and Big Data intelligence are the main drivers of the economic impact.

The speed at which disruption will take place depend on the level of intelligence and the leven of standardization, presented in four different scenario’s.


After surveying all sectors globally, Morgan Stanley found that the internet of things potentially disrupts these six sectors:

1. Factory Automation
This could drive enhanced efficiency with process monitoring and supervision, remote management and optimization, optimal energy management. Assuming the global cost base of manufacturing is $25trn today, 2-4% cost savings from IoT as a result of 50% penetration of IoT, we could see $500bn in cost savings. Mining, for instance, is an early adopter of the Internet of Things, with Rio Tinto currently generating over $300m in cost savings from the “autonomous mining” concept.

2. Precision Agriculture
Real-time analysis of weather data could provide $20bn of increased revenues for companies such as Agrium, DuPont, and Monsanto. We also expect farmers to increase productivity and revenues by an even larger amount. [Read more...]

Adapting Cyber Security to the Physical World

yXAXZlcIf you value security in programming you want to ensure that users can’t input data in input fields that might cause buffer overruns or code injections. You make sure that all input is verified and sanitised before it is passed on to your core code (input validation). If this sounds complicated, just keep reading for a real world adaptation that might clear things up.

This is a guest post by Gerben Tijkken, datacentre specialist at Sogeti and Futurist

Now it seems that this principle it also being used on real world bike locks. If you find it hard to understand the principle, look at how this bike-lock does basically the same in the real word.

Why do I think this is amazing? This is a great example of an existing idea that is being used in a different domain. Someone took a fresh look at a problem of lock-picking and found that in IT we have a similar problem and took the existing solution and voilà. A bike lock that can not be picked with a lockpick (code injection) or a bump key (buffer overflow).

This is also relevant within the context of the internet of things which makes the physical world increasingly programmable, and therefore hackable. The security of embedded systems, where computing is embedded into the hardware itself — as with the Internet of Things — is riddled with vulnerabilities, and there’s no good way to patch them.

If you want to read or see more, check out these resources at, YouTube and Gizmodo.