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Amber Case and Aaron Parecki Speaking at Augmented World Expo


by Kristina Weis


Next week is the Augmented World Expo (AWE2014), a conference about making the world more interactive. It will cover topics from augmented reality to wearable computing and the Internet of Things.

Esri is sponsoring AWE2014, and our own Amber Case and Aaron Parecki will each be speaking.

Amber and Aaron have been experimenting with various types of world augmenting and data collecting technology for many years - from Amber trying out Google Glass to Aaron tracking his location every 5 seconds to wearing multiple fitness tracking apps. They founded Geoloqi to help people get something useful out of the location technology that was suddenly in their phones and pockets.

What’s Amber speaking about?

Amber will be speaking about Calm Technology and how to design it.

The world around is made up of information that competes for our attention. How much is necessary? How much is not? We cannot interact with our everyday life in the same way we interact with a desktop computer. Technology shouldn't require all of our attention, just some of it, and only when necessary. Take a teapot, for example. It tells us when it is ready, and is off or quiet the rest of the time.

If technology works well, we can ignore it most of the time. Calm Technology describes a state of technological maturity where a user's primary task is not computing, but being human. The idea behind Calm Technology is to have smarter people, not things.

Amber’s talk will cover how to use principles of Calm Technology in product design, and what we will need to do in order to manage the next generation of connected devices in our human landscape.

What’s Aaron speaking about?

Aaron will be talking about data ownership and portability of wearable health and sports devices. Currently, companies building hardware are trying to own the whole ecosystem around the device, including the data, and want to lock you in to their systems. Of course this leads to many problems such as when a company shuts down, you lose the data in the system.

What if there was a way to allow users to own the data being collected by these devices, and people could choose which other applications/aggregators/social networks to share the data with? This would lead to an ecosystem of devices and services where users were at the center.

Aaron has been experimenting with this kind of thing for years, and has a lot of his own personal data collected from these services, some of which is published on his website at aaronparecki.com/metrics.