September 2014

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Jenna DutcherEMAIL INTERVIEWJenna Dutcher and Ken Sinclair

Jenna Dutcher is the community relations manager for UC Berkeley’s datascience@berkeley degree – the first and only online Master of Information and Data Science.  Follow datascience@berkeley on Twitter and Facebook for news and updates.

What is datascience@berkeley?

The new Master of Information and Data Science degree at the
UC Berkeley School of Information.

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SinclairWhat is datascience@berkeley?

Dutcher:  Datascience@berkeley is the new Master of Information and Data Science degree at the UC Berkeley School of Information.  The degree offers coursework in everything from machine learning to privacy, security, and ethics of data, topics that are highly relevant to the Internet of Things.  As the connected world goes online, experts will be needed who can ensure that constantly connected devices are keeping our data safe and secure so it can be used to its full potential without privacy concerns.

SinclairWhat is the datascience@berkeley Internet of Things glossary?

Dutcher:  One of the things we pride ourselves on at datascience@berkeley is making our content relevant to our audience.  We realized we were hearing a lot about the Internet of Things, but that there are still some questions about what that actually is comprised of.  There are some great sites around the web that work to define what the Internet of Things is in a very comprehensive manner (Internet of Things Guide and IoT-A both come to mind) and we knew that wasn’t our niche; instead, we wanted to do a brief overview, and thought the best way to go about this would be to pick one representative word for each letter of the alphabet to give our readers a broad look at the Internet of Things.  The end result was our “From A to Z in the Internet of Things” piece.

SinclairWhy focus on the Internet of Things above other hot topics?

Dutcher:  Gartner’s 2014 Hype Cycle, which was just released a few weeks back, shows the “Internet of Things” passing “Big Data” as the most hyped phrase of the year.  Obviously, interest in the Internet of Things is skyrocketing.  We realized, however, that many people are still unsure about what the Internet of Things is - or, at least, what its terminology means.  Most people understand what sensors are, but what about domotics?  Who are the big names and companies in the field?  These are the kinds of questions we tried to answer.

SinclairWhat got you personally interested in the Internet of Things?

Dutcher:  As I mentioned, there’s a lot of public interest in this topic, but I was first attracted to the field when I noticed it started impacting my life via health and medical wearables.  I have family members who have gone from needing ten shots a day to manage diabetes to sporting insulin pumps that do the work for them and manage the disease better than they ever could.  As more devices like this come online, healthcare is getting savvier and less invasive.  I would love to see a world where patients could press a button and transmit their tracking data to their doctors; or, better yet, one where we’ve gotten efficient enough with the energy and transmission requirements that doctors are passively tracking this data 24/7 and can simply call up a patient for a consult when they start to notice a problem. 

[an error occurred while processing this directive]SinclairWhere can people go to learn more about the Internet of Things?

Dutcher:  Just like with any other “hyped” topic, I’d recommend immersing yourself in the field to get a better idea of its content.  Attend conferences like Solid, which is a robotics and connectivity conference put on by O’Reilly Media each year.  Read anything and everything you can get your hands on - books like “The Naked Future” by Patrick Tucker do a good job of showing how ubiquitous connectivity is going to change our world for good.  Above all else, pay attention.  The Internet of Things is becoming omnipresent, yes, but it’s also changing every day as new startups are launched and new technologies are introduced.  By keeping up with the news as it happens, you can ensure you’re always at the forefront of the field. 


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