Digital media forum : Global mindset – local innovation in the MENA region












Having spoken at many events globally, The Digital media forum in Dubai was special because it created unique blend of innovation by combining global ideas with local innovation.

The event was the second highest trending topic on twitter on the day, which shows that there is potential for much more unique innovation in this region

So, what was the most interesting idea I saw at the event?

Speakers like Osman sultan of DU networks and Khalifa Al Shamsi of Etisalat had excellent and inspiring presentations.

My panel was about mobile applications – which threw up some interesting insights.

My overall impression of the event was: innovation in various parts of the world will follow unique local flavours and will adapt global ideas to the local ecosystem.

The management thinker C K Prahalad and others have spoken of this phenomenon before.

One of the more interesting applications I saw at this event was a social learning application based on Facebook.

Social Learning application is like any other facebook app.

Conceptually, this works like the Khan academy but leveraging the power of facebook as a social platform.

The open nature of facebook leads to greater potential for harnessing collective intelligence, which is one of the main foundations of web 2.0.

The lack of collective intelligence is one of the shortcomings of enterprise 2.0 because the enterprise firewall restricts diverse viewpoints by confining to the enterprise.

It will be interesting to see the uptake of the Social learning application based on facebook but it demonstrates the principle that innovation will have a local flavour – which is good news globally and locally


Carnival of the mobilists no 259 on helen keegan’s blog - some great folk as usual :)

Apps for smart cities – vision and event details in Amsterdam – looking for speakers

I have been speaking of the apps for smart cities event/concept before and here are some more details. We are looking for speakers for this absolutely unique and fun event. I will give a short synopsis of the event itself first and then followed by details about the vision of Smart cities and apps for Smart cities.


March (27-30) at the RAI (one of Amsterdam’s largest venues)


The apps for Smart cities event is chaired by me and organised by the World Smart Capital initiative (I am on the advisory board of the World Smart Capital). The event is a part of series of related events on March (27-30) at the RAI (one of Amsterdam’s largest venues). The ‘anchor’ events on these days are intertraffic) – which relates to traffic management and Cevitts which relates to charging of electric vehicles. The apps for smart cities will be in the Perfect Storm pavilion (which relates to IT related events) and held at the RAI at the same time as Intertraffic and Cevitts

What do we mean by ‘apps for smart cities’ – Diagram

Here is an equation for what I mean by ‘apps for smart cities’ – I explain each of these terms below









Who we are looking for: We are looking for innovators/speakers who are working on some really cool applications. These should broadly conform to the idea of ‘apps for smart cities’ + themes elaborated here. We cover travel and accommodation to Amsterdam in most cases for speakers.

Pricing is free for developers: for other tickets please contact me at the email address below. Since the event is also cross promoted with other events on the day, we expect the tickets will sell out very soon.

Booths : We have some space for booths demos. Please contact me at address below

Sponsorship: We are already grateful for the support from organizations and also from various bodies in Amsterdam including the City of Amsterdam. However, we welcome sponsors. Please contact me at address below

The vision behind apps for smart cities : The Chinese premier Wen Jiabao recently said that: Internet + Internet of things = Wisdom of the earth. From Boulder in Colorado, Wuxi in China, Sondo in South Korea and even Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam, cities are vying to be ‘Smart cities’. Mayors are becoming entrepreneurs (A City Is A Startup: The Rise Of The Mayor-Entrepreneur). In Europe, Amsterdam already has a mature program for Smart Cities.

The Apps for Smart cities event aims to accelerate that thought leadership position by building upon Amsterdam’s existing foundation by unleashing the creative potential of developers. However, I believe that to harness the true potential of Smart cities, the city must become a platform i.e. an enabler for developers, creativity and applications. In that context, Apps for smart cities could be defined as: Apps for Smart city  =  Intelligent places + Data + Mobile apps + Community + Services = City as a platform

Thus, Smart city applications are similar to conventional mobile applications, but with the following additions:

-      Apps for smart cities would include hardware – typically open source hardware – which enables ‘intelligent data’ spots in         the city

-      The apps are typically oriented towards empowerment of citizens and to enabling Smart city applications

-      Apps for smart cities could use many existing and new mobile technologies including augmented reality, Android and other platforms but they also include hardware technologies like Arduino, BUG, Funnel  ,  Gainer  ,  Make controller    , Wiring ,  Sun SPOTs   , Pinguino  , Firmata  and others

-      They could also integrate with Smart city initiatives from existing vendors and new vendors like Cisco, Pachube,  IBM and others

-      Community would be an important part of apps for Smart cities

The result is: the city itself mirrors the behaviour of the Internet i.e. it becomes a ‘platform’ an enabler for Long Tail applications created by its citizens.

From a governance, investment perspective, the world smart capital initiative offers another definition: A city can be defined as smart when investments in human and social capital and traditional (ex: transport) and modern(ex ICT) communications infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life with a wise management of natural resources through participatory governance

A smart city application could have the following 7 elements: (Source: Xi She)

1)      Sensible - sensors sensing the environment

2)      Connectable - a networking devices bring the sensing information to the web;

3)      Accessible - the broader information of our environment is published on the web, and accessible to the user in web, (web);

4)      Ubiquitous - the user can get access to the information thought web, but more importantly in mobile any time, any place (mobile);

5)      Sociable - the user can publish the information though his social network

6)      Sharable – The object itself must be accessible and addressable (not just the data) in a true peer to peer networked manner.

7)      Visible/augmented - to retrofit the physical environment, make the hidden information seen not only through mobile device by individual but seen in naked eyes in more border range of the physical places like street signs

Themes (apps based on these themes)

-       Smart Manufacturing, New production tools(home produced food, energy, micro manufacturing, 3D printing)

-       Collaboration / sharing of resources via the Internet

-       Urban farming

-       Apps relating to Open data

-       Apps relating to Smart energy

-       Apps relating to Smart transportation

-       Smart health

-       Technology(especially related to open source hardware and s/w)

-       Culture(hacker movement)

-       Sustainability

-       And Art

-       If you think there are any more themes we should include please send me an email ajit.jaokar at

Why is all this important? Chris Andersen said  in Wired : Lower the barriers to entry and the crowd pours in. and Thus the new industrial organizational model. It’s built around small pieces, loosely joined

So, we could be on the cusp of something new and innovative

What kind of applications are we looking for? I gave some examples related to healthcare and smart meters in  webinos – sensor based scenarios – managed service scenarios for sensor networks ..  and also in The silence of the chips and the forget me button for smart venues through ‘webinos in a box’

Please contact me at ajit.jaokar at for more details



The silence of the chips and the forget me button for smart venues through ‘webinos in a box’












The ‘forget me button’ idea Inspired by an idea from John Lyle

As of last week, proposed new regulations by the EU give web users new privacy rights – specifically a ‘forget me’ or the ‘right to be forgotten’ functionality

I had explored this idea under a blog post Mobile devices and privacy: Should we focus of changing behaviour of people OR changing behaviour of devices? – Which referred to the Silence of the chips regulation. Extending last week’s ‘forget me’ regulations to sensor networks, currently there is a discussion in the European parliament around a paper called The Internet of Things – An action plan for Europe (pdf). The document outlines a concept called ‘The silence of the chips’. In a nutshell, in a world of sensors, RFID chips etc, an individual should have the right to effectively disconnect from their networked environment at any moment.

Now, this idea is more relevant in a sensor environment.

How could it be implemented?  I give an example using webinos

I explained the basic architecture of webinos in a previous post webinos – sensor based scenarios – managed service scenarios for sensor networks ..

So, to implement a right to be forgotten functionality at a sensor level, webinos could provide a ‘right to be forgotten’ button at the PZH level. Application developers would not retain the data since the data is at PZH which is owned and managed by the user and users make their own decisions about sharing information.

So, you could conceive of the idea of ‘webinos in a box’ which would cater for the functionality of ‘the right to be forgotten’ at a venue. The product would contain sensors and cloud based software that could be installed at a venue (which could be a university, a café, a museum etc) and possibly managed by third parties on behalf of a venue

You could have many devices within the venue each running a PZP connected to a PZH which runs on a PC or a home gateway (or the Cloud)

The steps are: (in this case, a managed third party could perform all the steps instead of the venue itself)

1)  The venue installs PZH

2)  The venue installs PZP for one or more of their devices monitoring the customer

3)  Link between PZH and PZP is secured by webinos

4)  each webinos API at PZP could be used in conjunction with household devices

5)  there is no ‘widget’ – client interface except for a management interface

In this case, the venue stores data on behalf of the customer and the customer (through a mobile app which contains a ‘forget me’ button?) has the ability to manage the data held by the venue on behalf of the customer.

Image source:

From the policy bloggers network – Policy update Jan 2012







Digital media forum – Dubai – mobile applications panel – with Richard Windsor , Andre Popov and Jassim Ali #DMF2012




Looking forward to speaking this morning on a panel at the Digital media forum  alongwith Richard windsor of Nomura securities
Dubai, Andre Popov of peppers and Rogers and Jassim Ali of Omnicom #DMF2012. 

Hope to learn a lot more about the exciting developments in this region

RIP – Judy Breck

very sad.










heard that Judy Breck passed away last autumn

Judy called me her ‘soul mate’ and we shared a similar philosophy and I loved her vision and love of life. I celebrated her 70th birthday on my blog 



Carnival of the mobilists no 257 at Steve Hoober’s blog

Its great to see the carnival of the mobilists now as weekly feature! thanks to Peggy and co for their great efforts :)

webinos – sensor based scenarios – managed service scenarios for sensor networks ..

Firstly, some goals of the webinos project adapted from the webinos introduction

The purpose of the Webinos project is to define and deliver an Open Source platform, which will enable web applications and services to be used and shared consistently and securely over a broad spectrum of connected devices.

In practice, this is more than the APIs on individual devices. So, within a web based scenario, the service should be able to potentially

-  Run across devices and domains

-  Share preferences, status and synchronized information across multiple devices

-  This applies to device features as well – ex to use smart phones as input devices

-  Allow consistent access to developers

-  Manage user authentication, cross device events, metrics and application distribution across devices

The tagline of the webinos project is “Secure Web Operating System Application Delivery Environment”, indicating that security (and also privacy)  is a significant part of the project.

Some of the functionality already exists in proprietary implementations – for example Sky go – which allows Sky subscribers to watch Sky TV on their designated iPhone and iPad devices. Webinos aims to do this and LOT more for the web across platforms by creating truly distributed applications.

In practice, this means for web based applications, webinos will allow for the following:

  • Applications which make optimal use of the resources on the featured devices of TV, Automotive, Tablet, PC and Mobile
  • Applications which interoperate over diverse device types
  • Applications which can make use of services on other devices owned by the same person
  • Applications which can make use of services on devices owned by other people
  • Discovery mechanisms to find services, devices and people, on multiple interconnect technologies – even when they are not connected to the internet
  • Efficient communication mechanisms, that can pass messages over different physical bearers, can navigate firewalls, and make sensible use of scarce network resources
  • Promiscuous communication mechanisms, that will find the best physical connection to pass messages over (not just IP)
  • Strongly authenticated, communication mechanisms that work bi directionally – we know we really are talking to the remote service, device we thought we were – tackling head on the spoofing and phishing weaknesses of the web
  • And finally, implementing distributed, user centric policy:
    • allowing the user to define what applications work on what devices,
    • to define what information is exposed to other services
    • and ensuring these capabilities are interoperable and transferable – ensuring a user stays in control of their devices and their applications

To implement functionality, webinos architecture introduces three components: the webinos web runtime, the webinos personal zone hub(PZH) and the webinos personal zone proxy(PZP)

A webinos web runtime, is a special type of browser which is capable rendering the latest Javascript, HTML4/5 and CSS specifications. It is responsible for rendering the UI elements of the webinos application. A webinos WRT must be able to access the webinos root object from Javascript. Via this root object the third party developer will be able to access the webinos functionality. A webinos WRT differs from a normal browser or web runtime in that all extended Javascript functions as well as some normal browser behaviours (such as XHR) must be mediated by the webinos policy enforcement layer. The webinos web runtime is tightly coupled to the PZP and presents environmental properties and critical events to the PZP.



In webinos, the Personal Zone is a conceptual construct, that is implemented on a distributed basis from a single Personal Zone Hub (PZH) and multiple Personal Zone Proxy (PZP)s

The webinos personal zone hub PZH provides a a fixed entity to which all requests and messages can be sent to and routed on – a personal postbox as it were. The PZH is also the authoritative master copy of a number of critical data elements that are to synced between Personal Zone Proxy (PZP)s and Personal Zone Hub (PZH) – for example certificates.

The PZH enables functionality like the creation of a User authentication service,  secure session creation for transport of messages and synchronisation between the PZP and PZH. The PZH also stores the policy files.

The webinos personal zone proxy PZP  acts in place of the Personal Zone hub, when there is no internet access to the central server. The PZP fulfils most, if not all of the above functions described above, when there is no PZH access. In addition to the PZH proxy function, the PZP is responsible for all discovery using local hardware based bearers (bluetooth, zigbee , NFC etc). Unlike the PZH, the PZH does not issue certificates and identities.

For optimisation reasons PZPs are capable of talking directly PZP-PZP, without routing messages through the PZH

Thus, a webinos application has the folowing characteristics:

-  A webinos application runs “on device” (where that device could also be internet addressable i.e. a server).

-  A webinos application is packaged, as per packaging specifications, and executes within the WRT.

-  A webinos application has its access to security sensitive capabilities, mediated by the active policy.

-  A webinos application can expose some or all of its capability as a webinos service

-  An application developer is granted access to webinos capabilities via the webinos root JavaScript object.

An application developer programs and packages the application according to the webinos specification. They use the API to gain access to functionality. While much of the distributed capabilities of webinos are transparent to the developer, the developer is able to access functionality like discovery and service binding.

So, how will this all work for sensor based devices(zero screen) especially in a smart cities ecosystem?

This is the problem I am trying to address:

Consider some use cases: In all cases, we are essentially considering a group of managed devices under some secure, distributed, private and managed data scenario (for example – the data is owned by the customer)

a)  Consider a standard bluetooth heart rate monitor which could be worn by a customer. In this case, the data is stored on the mobile device and accessed by the customer. However, a variant of this use case is – the data could be transmitted to the physician. This is no different than wearing the more expensive heart rate monitors which doctors normally prescribe – except that the data in this case could be transmitted to the doctor in close to real time. In this case, the PZP would be on the mobile device and the PZH would be on the server or with the doctor. In this case, we could even conceive of a ‘managed third party service’ which is specialised in handling data from multiple customers on their behalf and which the doctor can access. Such a managed service would need the security framework which webinos provides but would be far cheaper than existing medical alternatives since it is based on inexpensive devices which can be hooked together


 b)  A second scenario could be based on an open energy monitor based device such as emonbase. It is based on the idea that customers own their own data and consequently could use that data to either negotiate or switch energy providers. Once again, you could have many devices within the home each running a PZP connected to a PZH which runs on a PC or a home gateway. The above principles apply for distributed and secure data management and also for a secure, third party managed service independent of the specific energy provider (in which case, the PZH is managed by the third party).
These are exploratory ideas and I am still thinking about them – hence they will evolve. Comments and feedback welcome


Looking for sensor based device manufacturers/designer contacts for health monitoring devices, environmental monitoring , smart plugs, telematics, smart grid etc






As you know I have been working with webinos and more recently, I am involved in porting webinos to small/smart devices specifically in a smart cities context.

Webinos is a new open source/open standards initiative for delivering web based applications across multiple devices. The ambition is to have web applications that not only run across PC, Mobile, Tablet, Car and TV – but to have these applications seamlessly and securely communicating with each other.

Recently, in tandem with various Smartcities initiatives, we are looking to extend the 4 screen strategy of webinos to include what we call screen zero (sensors)

Screen Zero is the device without the screen. Machine to machine  (M2M) or the Internet of Things (IOT)

Within webinos we have a well-defined architecture that encompasses the identity, security, policy, discovery, remote invocation and communication mechanisms. We are VERY keen to try out our open source code on some funky new screen less devices.

So if you are a device manufacturer, or early stage designer, and have access to devices such as health monitoring devices, environmental monitoring devices, smart plugs, telematics devices etc. Indeed any device which is small, connected and can do/sense stuff – we  would love to talk to you to test out our code.  Any device on which we can successfully integrate our code will feature heavily in out upcoming marketing activities.

Webinos is an Open Source initiative backed by BMW, Samsung, Sony Ericssson, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, DoCoMo. Deutsche Telekom, Fraunhofer Institute, University of Oxford, and many other leading research, industrial partners  and SMEs – -including of course Futuretext

email me at ajit.jaokar at