I am amazed at the solution I put together, essentially from OpenSource products, and community-driven solutions. I love talking about my project, why I do it, what I have learnt, and then the odd tech-oriented tinkerer / student / ... that wants to know what products I have chosen to put this all together, and what skills are required to do same. In the next post I will breakdown the components I settled on, for fast prototyping.

1) Skills. Firstly, I am not a wiz-programmer, (on the contrary...) I work as an executive of a company www.minerp.com that sells software and solutions to mining companies to assist them to plan their extraction, and report on it. My job are in talking to mining executives and managers about how mining can be improved by integrating all data, what the business cases are to do this, bringing data to SAP, improving processes as a result, and do organisational change management to enable people to do their jobs better, and improve mining. The skill you need? Ability to use the internet, download software, and applying it - as per 'recipes' published by fellow tinkerers on the web and online communities. And, .... time and interest. But, I am a tinkerer, bought a soldering iron, are able to some plumbing jobs, work with electricity, etc.

2) Why do I do this?  I have never had a hobby, had a fairly busy career up to now. But, with the '4th Industrial Revolution' announced in 2004 in Germany, where Digital Transformation of businesses, with IoT playing an important part of this, which is busy changing all of our worlds, I decided to intersect a hobby, with stuff I can learn, where I can apply the small learnings in my job, to strategise and visualise the use cases for clients in their industries. I try to make some of the lessons I want to learn applicable at my home, and investigate the aspects of IoT which we know is busy changing the future. And, dream as I see the speed at which the open source communities are innovating, extrapolating lessons, and casting it forward several years, to visualise where we are going.

3) What is the 4th Industrial revolution?  See wikipedia, and other sources for great descriptions on it. First coined in 2004 in Germany, it describes how manufacturing and other businesses are being  transformed as result of 'Cyber-Physical' systems. It is about real-time businesses, where business models can be turned on its head, for instance selling air, instead of compressors, thrust-hours, in stead of aircraft engines. All as result of measuring many data points on machines or physical systems behaviours, how it is used, transmitting these to 'big data' data-lakes, analysing in-time data, and acting in-time. Major social implications are under way, I will publish my thoughts on this later. The abilities we get as result of cheap ubiquitous networks, cheap sensors and microprocessors, and easy accessible analytics engines is speeding up this revolution. The 'always-on' culture of young people will only accelerate this revolution.

4) Bringing it together. My play-projects are thus helping me to learn - in a small practical way about the future. I try to use really cheap technologies, but attempt to learn using the hypothesis of this new economy that is created. Thus, my projects also need to have a vision of changing behaviours of my family, save money, use analytics to seek answers and challenge acceptable practices, and cost the loop of measure - analyse - act.

I hope this gives you a further glimpse of my motivation, and what you can learn from following my work.