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.


Context, Cards and Notification Design

At the beginning of the year I wrote a blogpost titled “Contextual is the new Mobile” in which I wrote that contextual based interaction with devices is key to making the future of mobile work. The new mobile requires devices, services and information to be embedded (integrated into the environment), personalized (tailored to your needs), adaptive (change in response to you) and anticipatory (anticipating a users intentions without conscious mediation).

This idea fits into a broader shift in the way we interact with the web. It is increasingly less about pages and destinations, and more about personalized experiences built on an aggregation of many individual pieces of content from different sources. A development based on the diversity of screens in all shapes and sizes and widespread access to data from all kinds of sources through APIs and SDKs.

The notification is the interface
Dubbed the notification as the interface (1 & 2), this design framework is being build today. In IOS8 the notification center aims to be the most important screen on your iPhone with interactive notifications.


They’re not just simple announcements or calls to action anymore. They are actions in and of themselves. Android has similar functionality. Emerging platforms like Android Wear and Apple Watch are confirming these trends towards notifications being both content and action.

Some argue that the “that the idea of having a screen full of icons, representing independent apps, that need to be opened to experience them, is making less and less sense. The idea that these apps sit in the background, pushing content into a central experience, is making more and more sense.” I could not agree more. [Read more…]

The Internet of Things in 4 Reports

Schermafbeelding 2014-11-17 om 10.58.08A little over year ago we started our study of the internet of things. As with the series on Big Data we published four reports on this topic. Time for a quick recap.

Why this the internet of things?
Social networks, Mobile platforms and apps, advanced Analytics and Big Data, plus the Cloud form SMAC. This established paradigm has revolutionized the information society and made many more aspects of society ready for a connection with the web. By adding Things, we form SMACT: a decisive breakthrough and established fact due to miniaturization, cheap sensors, smartphones in the pockets of billions of people, autonomous systems, better batteries and smart software in the Cloud. Things, in combination with SMAC, form a new, potentially disruptive wave of innovation.


Click to download

Report 1: THINGS – Internet of Business Opportunities
In our first report Things: Internet of Business Opportunities we reported on a tipping point concerning a dazzling impact on the whole economy. Connected things offer new opportunities to combat waste in the broadest sense of the term. This waste occurs among all parties: clients, suppliers, governmental bodies, service providers and the manufacturing industry. Applying digital things, sensors, actuators, apps and SMACT demands a certain mindset as well as concrete actions to optimize process and event chains, and to translate surprising new opportunities into new products and services. Our report offers an overview of recent developments and tips to accelerate your Things approach. [Read more…]

When will the Internet of Things change our cities?

“The Future is Cities”

This was the headline of the winter 2014 edition of MIT Spectrum. Half of the world’s population now live in urban conglomerations and in 2050 that will be almost three-quarters of all people on earth. In China, 300 million people will move to the city within the coming 15 years. In 2028, China will re-rig the complete infrastructure as it is in America today. India will witness an increase of the urban population of 250 million, and in Africa the increase will be 380 million. Despite the fact that cities will have to accommodate 90 per cent of the population increase, 80 per cent of the worldwide CO2 emission and 75 per cent of energy use, the city will remain the place where people will want to settle. The reason is simple: 80 per cent of our prosperity is created in and around cities.

But if the future is cities, when will the Internet changes our cities like it changed our lives?
There are three elements that establish the smartness of the Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and Things (SMACT) forces and how this will change our cities on the basis of three smart concepts:

Pervasive digitization
The deep penetration of connectivity in urban surroundings. The Internet of Things leads to an increase in omnipresent connectivity: ranging from people’s homes to cars and from trashcans to the LED lights in offices. The smartphones in people’s pockets serve as data collectors as well as mobile gateways that enable providers to make all kinds of data services available. [Read more…]

A few lessons from the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2014

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published their yearly study on the Most Innovative Companies of 2014, which is accessible here.  BCG has been publishing this study since 2005, basing it on interviews with 1,500 senior executives globally. So Apple is still at the top position but the list now also includes companies like Hitachi, Salesforce And Xiaomi Technology for the first time.

This is the complete list of the 50 most innovative companies of 2014:


Here are some of the key findings from the study: [Read more…]

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…]