Yesterday I went to the FITCE event on the Internet of Things I blogged about earlier together with my colleague Geert Vanderhulst. At first, I wanted to go by car, but then I realized that meant going through the rush hour on the Brussels ring road. Eventually, we decided to take the train to Leuven, take another one from Leuven to Brussels North station, and from there take the train to Vilvoorde. Unfortunately there were some difficulties with the last element in this chain
Apparently there was a train that arrived at the exact same time and at the same platform at Brussels North station as the train we were supposed to take. This train also went to Antwerp Central Station, but had Amsterdam as its final destination. When we were on it, we realized too late that it didn’t stop in Vilvoorde. So we got out in Mechelen (the first stop) and took another train to Vilvoorde. Normally this train would be in Vilvoorde on time to allow us to take the bus to Living Tomorrow, but this evening it changed to an L train, meaning that it stops at every station on its way. When we finally arrived in Vilvoorde, the last bus to Living Tomorrow before 19:00 had already left. The next one was at 20:15. After asking a bus driver, we found another bus that stopped close to the venue (bus 47). After taking this bus, we finally arrived somewhere in the neighborhood of the Indringingsweg, but didn’t know where to go. Of course, then it started raining Luckily Geert had his satellite navigation system with him to lead us the way. When we finally arrived in the room, we had to pass by the speakers and all the lights went on, so we couldn’t make an unremarkable entrance
So what about the talks? Although it’s always interesting to see how people appreciate ubicomp technologies when they get integrated in their daily lives, I didn’t learn anything really new. A lot of the technologies or prototypes that were mentioned were familiar to me. One of the things I hadn’t heard about yet were washable RFID tags.
After the talks we got a tour through the house of the future. Again, a couple of the technologies they showed had already been integrated in real-life products or were already well investigated in research. There was a prototype by Volvo about parking sensors, dead angle cameras, lane tracking and a system to avoid collisions in traffic jams. The more advanced technologies here were mentioned in Donald Norman’s talk last year in Leuven. There was also a store of the future and a kitchen of the future. The presentations and film fragments of the talks are going to be put online soon. If I don’t forget, I’ll update this post with a link to the material.
But even after the event our public transport nightmare wasn’t over I entered some information wrongly on the travel planner of De Lijn, so the bus we wanted to take back to the station didn’t drive until after our train left. Luckily Geert Houben (another colleague) came by car and dropped us off at Vilvoorde station in time. So then we went back from Vilvoorde to Brussels North, where we took the train to Genk. But not before having an unhealthy, but satisfying snack