Posts by Thomas van Manen

About Thomas van Manen

Thomas van Manen is a researcher with a focus on the impact of new technologies and is part of the VINT research program on Big Data, Internet of Things, Gamification, Wearables and Disruptive Technologies. As a innovator Thomas helps organizations translate new technologies and digital trends into ideas and ideas into concepts using research, workshops and pilot programs. Thomas is also Chief Editor of the VINT research blog, part of Sogeti Labs community of technology experts and was voted to be part of the HOT100 in 2012, a yearly selection of the most promising alumni in Media & Arts studies.


One day in the Collaborative Economy

People are crowdfunding, making, sharing, collaborating, all kinds of their things in life. Some are getting food on-demand, rather than going to traditional grocery stores or restaurants. The world is speeding up, and people are transacting between each other, or rapid-delivery services. We expect this to continue to accelerate as the funding from VCs dwarfs many markets, adoption rates are doubling, and the media has endless coverage over this collaborative movement. To help make sense of this dizzying environment, we attempted to take a snapshot of this world in motion, to try to find out what a single day comprises of.

Click on the image to size it up. More on this graphic, the data sources and methodology here. 


An update on the future of wearables

A new PwC’s research digs into the business of wearables and the consumer attitudes and preferences that will shape the future of wearable technology. They state that there are many applications for wearable tech in enterprise and in life. It will upend the retail industry, revolutionize health care and will likely change advertising and content as we know it:

There is indeed a wearable future ahead, one that can dramatically alter the landscape of society and business as we know it. For months, we surveyed consumers and spoke with experts to explore the potential benefits as well as drawbacks, understanding why they matter, and how they will deeply shape us as individuals and as a society. Here is a look at some of the strengths and opportunities for wearable tech — and the weaknesses and challenges that enterprising businesses must successfully navigate.

More details here. 

Exponential Organizations – Why new organizations are 10x better, faster and cheaper

Exponential Organizations is a new book by Yuri van Geest, Salim Ismail, Peter Diamandis and Mike Malone and published by Singularity University Press . It deals with how to build exponential organizations with exponential technologies and new organizational techniques for an exponential era.

Their main thesis: technology evolves exponentially and (traditional) organizations evolve linear.

To deal with this gap the authors present a 11 attribute framework applicable for startups, mid markets and corporates. For this framework they looked for patterns in the most important exponentials companies in the world in the last 6 years like Waze, Tesla, Airbnb, Uber, Xiaomi, Netflix, Valve, Google (Ventures), GitHub, Quirky and 60 other companies including successful corporates like GE, Haier, Coca Cola, Amazon, Citibank and ING Bank.

This slidedeck shows the gist of the book contents and shows a lot of examples that can be found in the book. Inspirational stuff.

A killer app for wearables?

killer-mobile-appSo smartwatches, the most general wearable today, are extensions of phones. They serve you a stripped down mobile experience and try to make the best out of filtering notifications. Over time I think smartwatches will become the new phones: your one does-it-all device. But only if we fix battery issues, increase power in such small devices and add standalone connectivity. If not, I guess we will ditch the watches again and stay with our smartphones.

A lot of people ask me whats the killer app for wearables. I tell them there isn’t one.

I think the killer app for wearables in general is in using single-purpose devices for specific contexts. [Read more...]

The Design to Disrupt Executive Summit in 7 blogposts

0EG_3859Last week the VINT and Sogeti Labs team flew out to Munich to host our Executive Summit 2014 on Design to Disrupt. Together with some top speakers (coming from Microsoft, Forrester, Uber and Frog Design among others) we tried to make our clients aware of the disruptive potential of new technologies that is growing at a staggering speed.

We set out to find answers on these four questions:

  • How to build organizational resilience when innovation is accelerating?
  • What should you do to intelligently create your own disruptive innovations?
  • What are the appealing design principles that organisations must apply?
  • Is ‘client obsession’ something that can be engineered?

Our colleagues Jaap Bloem and Erik van Ommeren reported on the answers in a series of 7 blogposts.

Forrester Principle Analyst Ted Schadler colored the Customer Obsession part of the D2D program by sharing insights from his new book The Mobile Mind Shift. This shift corresponds to the expectation that people can get what they want in their immediate context and moments of need. Customers and employees are making this shift, now. It means that the battle for a customer’s attention will be waged in mobile moments — anytime that customer pulls out a mobile device.

Schermafbeelding 2014-10-13 om 14.59.54Mobile is also about the billions of sensors and trillions of connections, new intelligent software and analytics that should lead to improved lives a. Hannu Kauppinen, head of research laboratories at Nokia Technologies, argues the programmable world promises to bring life to physical objects, opening new opportunities for engagement and interaction [Read more...]

4 fixes for the Internet of Things


50 billion connections in 2020? We are heading there, yes. The biggest chunk of the connectivity pie will come from connecting things to the internet that are not connected today. Look around your office or living room and do a count of the things destined to become connected. But if we want to connect all these things and actually benefit from it, we need to do at least 4 things better in the near future.

1. Bring down prices
If IoT needs to scale , the devices need to be cheap enough to replace the “dumb” devices they’re replacing. Why pay 100 euros for 3 connected lightbulbs, if I can buy about 50 led-lights for that amount of money. This could be a problem for a few years to come because If the devices are cheap, the businesses that make them need sources of revenue beyond the product itself. But the cost of supporting and serving billions of smart devices will be substantial.

2. Stay valuable
I replace my smartphone every two years or so. I so far never replaced my doorknob or thermostat. IoT companies need to figure out how their devices will last or how they will be updated regularly without substantial cost.

Also, connected devices must offer more than just connectivity. So far connectivity is quite similar to using your smartphone to control stuff. It should become much more about leveraging data to improve people’s lives and the efficiency of their businesses. [Read more...]

23 big impact technologies by 2022.

Predicting stuff is hard, especially when is comes to digital technologies. However, by looking at the 23 technologies listed below I don’t think the list is far off. This particular list was created by 9 technical leaders of the IEEE Computer Society who symbolically surveyed 23 potential technologies that could change the landscape of computer science and industry by the year 2022. They might be missing out on a few things like Virtual Reality and a Financial protocol though.

You can find the full report here, and I’ve listed the technologies here divided in 4 categories: Schermafbeelding 2014-09-29 om 09.21.30

Mobile’s 40-Year Awakening in 90 Seconds

Today, there are over 7 billion active mobile devices in existence. In its relatively short time here on Earth, the mobile device has, and continues to, transform our lives. Drawing from World Bank data, this is a visualization of the rise of invention in mobile phone technology.

How Technology becomes Nature

Technology has become a inseparable part of life. This is not something specific for digital technology, but this goes back to the stone age. From stone-axes to smartphones, technology has always been an extension of the human. Yet, despite the our relationship with technology, most of us are still relatively unaware of how new technologies are introduced, accepted or discarded within our society.

In this TED-talk Koert van Mensvoort (director of the Next Nature Network; an Amsterdam based think and design tank on the changing relation between people, nature and technology and sort of the Dutch Kevin Kelly) shows how technology becomes nature in seven steps and what engineers, inventors, designers and entrepreneurs can learn from that. This talk is based on a very interesting essay Pyramid of Technology. Here’s a link to the essay that also contains a great infographic style image of the presented seven steps.

Connected Objects are Physical Avatars for Digital Services

m1mxswxafgtd_wd1280From a consumer perspective the internet of things is about connecting the objects around us and adding some kind of digital layer to interact with. Increasingly, stuff like our thermostats, coffee makers and store displays will have a digital interface to interact with.

To design these internet of things user experiences we can look at connected objects as physical avatars to tie a digital service to a real world context. 

Apple’s iBeacon and excited retailers
A lot of interest is going towards Apple’s iBeacons. iBeacons are Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth beacon technology. Simply put, it’s a low-energy chip enclosed in a small plastic housing. The beacon can only send data and is generally used to just broadcasts micro-location data.

Retailers are excited about their in-store actions and advertisements becoming more location-aware. Say your in a store and looking to buy a new camera and you stop and look at a specific model. The store’s app on you’re iPhone will then receive the location data from the iBeacon and pull up a discount coupon or more specs about the product hoping that doing so will prompt you to buy it.

So Beacons are somewhat similar to the concept of URLs for the physical world. However, there are much more options here.

Nearables: tying the physical to the digital
A year ago I wrote about a company called Estimote. Back then they just launched their beacon product line with a strong focus on retail. One year later I think Estimote leveled up a notch in the way they think, but also considering their new product: beacon technology in a sticker.

Estimote calls them ‘nearables’ and they are just that. The stickers are avatars to digital functionality and services and become active if the user context is right. [Read more...]