Five years from now

Adam Benzion, Zak Homuth, Maarten Ectors and Lauri Väin talked at Latitude59 2016 about how IOT, Block Chain, Autonomous Cars, Drones, Robots, 3D printers, etc. will change our society in the near future. Here´s some thoughts to take along to Latitude59 this year.

Be a pirate, go open source 

Adam is a serial entrepreneur, ex-Microsoftie and currently the CEO and Cofounder of By bringing together network of close to 200,000 engineers, makers and hackers, 90 technology partners, and 100 Hackster Live ambassadors, Hackster hopes to support the creation of technologies that impact meaningful issues, such as a healthy environment, wildlife preservation, and our own welfare.

The basics of open source are that everyone can study, modify, distribute, make and sell things based on a design co-created by different people. In his talk showed how open source hardware benefits everyone by giving the example of Arduino-Particle-Bluz product improvement.

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software They make boards that sense the environment by receiving inputs from many sensors, and affects its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators. Particle is a company that took Arduino board and added WiFi chip to it. Bluz, in turn, took Arduino board with a WiFi chip and added Bluetooth. Nobody lost, everybody – especially customers, won.

You need hardware to solve hard problems

Zak is an electrical engineer, software hack, community builder and the Founder & CEO of Upverter. A company on a mission to make hardware less hard; to empower engineers by equipping them with world-class technology, knowledge, and support.

In his talk, Zak emphasized the importance of hardware. Software alone cannot solve the big problems, we need functional and innovative hardware. If you look to the history, real change requires invention and all inventions in the history have been based on hardware (telephone, railroad, computer).

But what are we doing?  - Simple apps powered by cheap labour making something little better. Or as Zak put it, the future of humanity doesn´t depend on how quickly we can deliver you a burrito, but for example how quickly can we clean water or solve other crucial environmental issues. We need an ideological shift towards understanding the role hardware plays in all this.

Incubators have to embrace the impossible companies not those that could be built over the weekend. “How many apps there are to send a marketing e-mail? There are zero apps to build a power plant” brings Zak and example of how the focus is lost. According to Zak, to make this ideological shift happen, founders and investors have to acknowledge their part in it and act.

Constructive Innovation

Maarten is a Vice President IoT at Canonical, a company developing Ubuntu, the world’s most popular free operating system that runs across phones and tablets, TV, desktop and cloud. It's secure and reliable, elegant and intuitive, and open for innovation.

In his talk, Maarten pointed out that we cannot only disrupt, but we need to construct also. Especially in a world where hardware business is quite a headache: from raising the capital and designing the product, to production and logistics. And when you succeed and launch, there´s three options: you sell. You sell and get Alibaba-ed. You sell and get Amazone-ed.

So startups and corporations should help each other. Startups can thrive innovation that´s difficult for corporations due to complicated processes to do. Corporations that have the production infrastructure can make hardware production less complicated for new starting companies.

If you want to dig into the topic, watch the video – Maarten will bring a great example of how MRI scanner could be open sourced and how all parties would win from it. Also, you might want to peek into into Maarten´s article “10 crazy IoT ideas that can soon become real” to get some insights about what´s coming.

What to expect this year?

At Latitude59 in 2017, we´ll be also exploring the future of different sectors and technologies. We´ll peek into the future of fin-tech, analyze acquiring possibilities and processes & speculate on what to expect from genome based treatments and virtual reality solutions in healthcare. Get your ticket from here and join us on May 25 – 26 in Tallinn, Estonia!