In a short workshop at #ThingsConAMS, a design-focused IoT conference, we (@iotwatch and @tamberg) asked participants to prioritise the IoTMark principles. Given a 1.5 hour time limit, we used the “Mozfest 2017 edition” with 13 principles. Each of the five teams chose a product and took the perspective of both, a manufacturer and a consumer. After discussing priorities for about thirty minutes, the teams presented their rankings and talked about their motivations. Besides resulting in a colorful table, the process provided some insight into how the participants understood the principles.

Jolijn and Robin, who picked the thermostat example, discussed data ownership and interoperability when moving from one smart home to the next. It should be possible to detach and move your data history and profiles from an old home, as well as take your products and connect them to a new home’s infrastructure.

Jacky and Hans said that “the customer must always feel in control”. Taking the perspective of a camera manufacturer, they asked themselves if they should rather create a cheap or a safe product. They pointed out that the term (connected) “product” should include the device and the service or platform attached to it.

Jochem and Harm took the view of a smart lock company that in any case should not be evil. From a consumer perspective they found it least attractive to ask for an open API, as many customers would not know what an API is. They and others also found there is a distinction between expert and non-technical users.

Scott and Jeff concluded that “all points are important”. For a consumer the main question is “if I buy this, can I use it for 10 years?”. They highlighted the conflict of interest between product manufacturers and consumers when it comes to offline-capability. Also, startups might find principles to be outside of their core mission.

Ester, Hanna, Aapo, Ashlee and Casper picked the blood sugar sensor example. They found the provenance of a product to be important for luxury goods, but less so for an everyday item “that you have to use anyway”. As a workshop feedback, they proposed to use a less fine-grained range of priorities (e.g. high, medium, low).

Using a collaboratively edited spreadsheet turned out to be a reasonably accessible way to gather and share results. In a future iteration of the workshop, we would limit priority options as suggested, and maybe add an example to reduce ambiguities. Considering the limited time frame and broad topic, we are super happy about the outcome and insight from this fabulous group of participants. Thank you all!

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