Preface

Around 150 Mozillians gathered in Singapore for education, training, skills building, and planning to bring them and their communities into the fold on the latest Participation projects. With the overarching theme being leadership training, we had two main tracks. The first was Campus Campaign, a privacy focused effort to engage students as we work more with that demographic this year. Second, and the focus of this post, is Connected Devices.

Unchartered Ground

As we built out a solid Firefox OS Participation program last year, the organisation is moving more into Connected Devices. The challenge we have is to evolve the program to fit the new direction. However, the strategy and timeline has not been finalised, so in Singapore we needed to get people excited in a broader sense on what we are doing in this next phase of computing, and see what could be done now to start hacking on things.

Sessions

We had three main sessions during the weekend. Here is a brief summary of each.

Strategy And Update

We haven’t been standing still since we announced the changes in December. During this sessions John Bernard walked us through why Mozilla is moving in this direction, how the Connected Devices team has been coming together, and how initial project proposals have been going through the ‘gating process’. The team will be structured in three parts based on the three core pillars of Core, Consumer, and Collaboration. The latter is in essence a participation team embedded, led by John. We talked about some of the early project ideas floating around, and we discussed possible uses of the foxfooding program, cunningly labelled ‘Outside the Fox’.

John Bernard presenting
John Bernard presenting

Dietrich Ayala then jumped in and talked about some of the platform APIs that we can use today to hook together the Web of Things. There are many ways to experiment today using existing Firefox OS devices and even Firefox desktop and mobile. The set of APIs in Firefox OS phones allow access to a wide range of sensors, enabling experimentation with physical presence detection, speech synthesis and recognition, and many types of device connectivity.

Check out the main sessions slides and Dietrich’s slides.

Research Co-Creation Workshop

Led by Rina Jensen and Jared Cole, the Participation and Connected Devices teams have been working on a project to explore the open source community and understand what makes people contribute and be part of the communities, from open hardware projects to open data projects. During the session, some of the key insights from that work were shared. The group then partook in co-creation exercises, coming up with ideas for what an ideal contributor experience. During the session, a few key research insights were shared and provided to the group as input for a co-creation exercise. The participants then spent the next hour generating ideas focused on the ideal contributor experience. Rina and Jared are going to continue working closely with the Participation and Connected Devices teams to come up with a clear set of actionable recommendations.

Flore leading the way during co-creation exercise
Flore leading the way during co-creation exercise

You can find more information and links to session materials on the session wiki page.

Designing and Planning for Participation

True participation is working on all aspects of a project, from ideation, through implementation, to launch and beyond. The purpose of this session was two-fold:

  1. How can we design together an effective participation program for Connected Devices
  2. What can we start working on now. We wanted attendees to share their project ideas and start setting up the infrastructure NOW.

On the first topic, we didn’t get very far on the day due to time constraints, but it is something we work on all the time of course at Mozilla. We have a good foundation built with the Firefox OS Participation project. Connected Devices is a field where we can innovate and excel, and we see a lot of excitement for all Mozillians to lead the way here. This discussion will continue.

For the second topic, we wanted to come out of the weekend with something tangible, to send a strong message that volunteer leadership is looking to the future and are ready to build things now. We heard some great ideas, and then broke out into teams to start working on them. The result is thirteen projects to get some energy behind, and I’m sure many more will arise.

Read more about the projects.

In order to accelerate the next stage of tinkering and ideation, we’ve set up a small Mozilla Reps innovation fund to hopefully set in motion a more dynamic environment in which Mozillians can feel at home in.

Working on a project idea
Working on a project idea

To Conclude

Connected Devices, Internet of Things, Web of Things. You have heard many labels for essentially is the next era of computing. At Mozilla we want to ensure that technology-wise the Web is at the forefront of this revolution, and that the values we hold dear such as privacy are central. Now more than ever, open is important. Our community leaders are ready. Are you?

Connected Devices at the Singapore Leadership Summit
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One thought on “Connected Devices at the Singapore Leadership Summit

  • 8-Feb-2016 at 18:02
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    I have high regard for Mozilla’s mission and its previous achievements, but as a developer it is really hard to be enthusiastic about its efforts beyond what can be found in Firefox.
    Persona was killed after two years and FirefoxOS got a shaft too. Investing time (money) into its projects seems a risky proposition if you are not independently wealthy or be able to support them if (or ever more often when) they get dumped.
    I still proudly wear my Mozilla T-shirts, but when it comes to new projects I will just wait.

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