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Enterprise IoT

This afternoon, I was invited by Econocom to talk about enterprise Internet of Things during one of the CRIP sessions. The CRIP (Club des Responsables d’Infrastructures et de Plate-formes) is a French IT infrastructure executive club. If you’re interested, I embedded my slides below (in French) but the key message I wanted to share is the following:

1/ Whether it’s connected glasses enhancing technician’s work or simply Jawbone Up’s given away by the company, wearables are slowly but surely entering the workplace

2/ While wearables open amazing opportunities for corporations, they also uncover brand new challenges for IT decisions makers, namely: device management complexity, issues with data privacy, weak authentication and Wi-Fi dimensioning problems

3/ Wearables’ security in the workplace is IT executives’ responsibility

As you can see in the slides, I haven’t mentioned any startups working on helping corporations deal with wearables. Even though, Salesforce and other B2B giants recently announced initiatives to support wearables integration in the workplace, I haven’t seen any startups working on this. At least in France.


Testing Narrative Clip

IMG_3184While attending the Web Summit last week, I stumbled upon the Narrative booth and got the opportunity to test for a couple of hours their wearable clip, a tiny, automatic camera and app that gives you a searchable and shareable photographic memory.

As you can see in the picture on the left, I clipped the camera to my jacket’s chest pocket and walked around the venue, visiting booths and talking to people.

Narrative – The pros

–> I already had seen the Narrative videos but until last week I couldn’t find any good use for it. Actually, going around a conference like the Web Summit, where you meet tens of people every day, makes it a very good use case. Finally a way to remember everyone you met!

–> The Narrative clip is definitely less dorky than Google Glasses :) No one noticed it or at least, if they did, they didn’t tell me anything or didn’t realize it was a camera.

–> The double tap feature allows you to take a picture when you want it (instead of the 30s standard pace). Very useful when you want to remember someone’s face or business card.

–> The Narrative back-end software is supposed to automatically delete blurry pictures and arrange the good ones in a timeline

Narrative – The cons

–> I was pretty disappointed Narrative clipby the photo quality… As you can see in the picture on the right, lots of chests and useless photos. Most of the others are blurry and not really useful.

–> Almost every time I told the person I was talking to that there was a device clipped on my jacket taking pictures of them, they reacted negatively. Getting shot by a camera without knowing it made them feel almost raped. Not really good…

–> The clip does not support bluetooth so you have to wait until you plug it on your computer to see the results


While I was seduced by the Narrative concept and form factor, I was really disappointed by the photo quality and the lack of bluetooth. Moreover, the social impact is a big turn-off. Too bad because the promise is very interesting.

Ideally, I wished it could recognize someone in a crowd and make my phone buzz and open automatically the LinkedIn profile of the guy I’m talking to in case I don’t remember who he is. Maybe the next version?

Hello :(

Hello Show OrangeOn October 2nd, Orange held its Hello Show event to unveil their latest innovations and show their strategy. The show can be replayed entirely here, Olivier Ezratty wrote a very extensive review of the show on his blog (in French) and you can also find a short review by RudeBaguette (in English).

My general feeling about the innovations unveiled is not really good. While they preach for open innovation, Orange can’t really stop developing solutions internally. I’ve worked with Orange in the past and I’ve never seen a company so caught up with the “not invented here” syndrome. The result? It seems to me that Orange is playing catch up with a lot of solutions that already exist in the market like with Orange Drive (Waze, Maps), Mobile Connect (Dashlane) or Homelive (Archos).

Concerning Homelive, a box to control the connected objects in your home, it’s competing directly with the Home by SFR box released 2 years ago. And given the amount of commercials I’m seeing for this product right now, it seems that it’s not selling as much as expected. On a side note, with the big success of connected devices with machine learning capabilities (like Nest‘s products), I really don’t get why we should have to go on our mobile to turn on the heater or turn off the lights… It should be done automatically.

All in all, and even if they say otherwise, the message sent to startups by Orange is not very good: innovate, we’ll look at it and develop it internally.

Programming finally making sense for the masses

An Internet of Things startup, IFTTT (If This Then That), announced last week it had raised $30 million in funding, its largest round yet, from the venture capital firms Norwest Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz. Yet another IoT startup? Well, basically IFTT is more or less a giant switchboard to connect disparate services, anything from Facebook to text messages to telephone calls. Users can create “recipes” in which an action on one service can trigger an action on another entirely different service.

You can, for example, connect your Instagram and Dropbox accounts to IFTTT and make a recipe that uploads any new Instagram photo to your Dropbox online storage account. More interesting, IFTTT supports a list of connected objects which you can also include in recipes. Like connecting your Jawbone UP to Belkin’s WeMo to turn on space heater when you wake up.

Of course, anyone with a background in technology understands this is simple programming. You get two APIs and write a very simple program to trigger an action (If This Then That). What I find wonderfully clever with IFTTT is that it makes this simple programming not only understandable by the masses but also easily actionable.

This, for me, is the highest programming abstraction I have ever seen and and I can’t wait to see more and more similar applications.