Just back from three very full days at LeWeb in Paris. It was my first time, and it was impressive.
The theme was The Internet of Things and it was interesting to see how the focus has shifted from traditional communication in the form of sharing words and texts to the we-are-all-cyborgs-now emphasis on the ever-blurring boundaries between technology and people.
I am not quite sure about either the Internet of Things or Brian Solis's version, the Sentient World, as labels - neither, I think, have a life expectancy that will exceed 'the information superhighway" but it is part of a process that will change the world.
LeWeb have done a useful job in bringing together videos of various presentations, from the inspiring to the little more than a commercial product pitches, but trying to catch hold of the abundance of new ideas shows quite how hard online curation really is.
There were some good storytellers, not least Benjamin Cichy, Chief Software Engineer, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, who gave a masterclass in "goodwill and understanding" PR.
I was also very impressed with Tony Fadell's presentation of the Nest. OK, you are off to a good start when you are introduced as the man who invented the iPod and iPad, but at the end of the day he was still talking about a thermostat. Not a very sexy product... except when you present it with the product values of Apple, and are able to show how it bring imeasurable energy saving benefits.
It was also interesting to see the glint of steel that occasionally flashed from the apparently laidback entrepreneurs who had created hugely influential platforms and devices, and to hear how some of them are putting something back with philanthropic projects.
I am sure I wasn't the only person who ordered a Fitbit during LeWeb and I am sure I will be thinking more and more about the Quantified Self during 2013 - with much of this thinking being concerned with privacy and ethics.
I enjoyed discovering LiveTrekker, which does a brilliant job of linking photos, sounds and GPs trails, but was horrified at the notion of somebody wearing a sensor which could tell them if the person nearby was running a fever. I suppose there is no difference between using technology and moving away is a stranger is snuffling and sneezing but I still find it objectionable.