20 highlights from the book "The Silent Intelligence" by Kellmereit & Obodovski

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This is one of the many reviews I plan to post on IoT/M2M books as I target to read 10 over next 3 months and have finished 2 so far. The Silent Intelligence is written by Daniel Kellmereit and Daniel Obodovski. Author covers IoT from historical perspective gradually building trends and describing technology ecosystem. They conclude mentioning four typical use cases of IoT: connected homes, connected health, connected cities and connected cars. Below I cover key highlights from the books however selection of these points and the opinions stated (if any) are completely personal. Kudos to both the authors for presenting such wonderful views and knowledge coupled with interviews with many stalwarts, industry experts and companies which makes it easy to comprehend the book.


  1. Assaf Biderman of MIT's SENSEable City Lab says "computers are becoming so small that they are vanishing into things and its not M2M but thing-to-thing. If your environment is equipped with I/O nodes everywhere, it dramatically changes your relationship to your environment"
  2. Electronic devices have become smaller and more powerful driven by Moore's Law but also by improvements in electric power management.
  3. Mark Weiser, chief technologist at Xerox PARC article on ubiquitous computing opens with "the most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it".
  4. Kevin Ashton, popular known as father of Internet of Things had a vision of the time when all objects in the sypply chain would be able to connect to the Internet to report their whereabouts and status whether it is Gillette razor blades or Pantene shampoos.
  5. Barcodes are data capture technology for humans, while RFID is a capture technology for computers, RFID is a way to hack the real world
  6. According to a legend the term M2M was borrowed from a then-popular Norwegian girl-pop duo of the same name that was fancied by one of Nokia's executive.
  7. McKinsey Quarterky article "The Second Economy" on IoT states there's no upper limit to this, no place where it has to end, it would be easy to underestimate the degree to which this is going to make a difference.
  8. One of the most critical part fs of the electrical design is antenna design, the improvements in antenna design over the past twenty years have been truly amazing. 
  9. Hardware design challenges offer significant opportunities for companies willing to build reference designs and developer hardware platforms that would fit various markets and form factors.
  10. Ubiquity vs. Granularity problem: RFID tags are low cost, don't need a battery and have infinite life and can be put on almost any item hence they provide granularity for seeing and detecting things. However you need RFID readers that need to be installed and calibrate. Cellular network on the contrary is ubiquitous and present everywhere and devices are bulky, costly and have larger power needs but does not offer granularity. 
  11. Device providers if separated into chip-set vendors, wireless module providers and complete integrator then author believe most innovation will happen in chip-set designs and integrations whereas wireless module providers will see strong price competition.  
  12. Largest barrier for growth is complexity of the IoT value chain in combination with a lack of standardized platforms. This issue creates a major entry barrier for smaller players who avoid complex certification process.
  13. Glen Allmendinger believes information brokerage is badly needed, before we agree on common standards. 
  14. As we start getting inputs from gazillions of sensors, systems need a way to recognize where the information is coming from and what information is.
  15. Peter Kuhn believes we have not yet found the right model for connected health that would satisfy patients, hospitals, regulatory bodies, and insurance companies.
  16. Muse, a device by Canadian start-up InteraXon, goes on a person's forehead, holding itself like glasses behind the ears and measures brainwaves. Using these brainwaves person can play virtual games and control them using his mind.
  17. Once any device is connected for primary reason of monitoring or controlling it, secondary and tertiary sets of values will flow from there.
  18. "Good Judgement comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgment" - Bruce Dunlevie
  19. M2M best-kept secret, Mark Wells, CTO and founder of Procon built his company from a trailer in San Diego into one of the key players in the telematics space.
  20. In article "Four Strategies for the Age of Smart Services" Glen writes "for customers, smart services create an entirely new kind of value - removing unpleasant surprises from their lives".
and many more....such key insights and lessons can be derived from this book, I will highly recommend to ready this short book. 

Thank you Daniel Obodovski and Daniel Kellmereit for writing this book.

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