The Internet of Things – Matt Harvey

First published in Resurgence Magazine


The Internet of Things by Matt Harvey

There are definite perks to being a poet. You are entitled to gaze at the moon with authoritative longing, to peek into the dark chambers of the world’s most secret heart and read the graffiti stencilled there. You can talk nonsense to your kids. Another is getting to attend conferences where in between singing for one’s supper there are privileged glimpses to be savoured of others’ worlds.

And this is how I came to be commissioned to write about the Internet of Things for a conference on the future of the work place, and find myself high up on level 39 at No. 1 Canary Wharf. It’s so high I accidentally lost touch with everything and everyone I thought I knew. Easy to do.


There have always been Things, and the Things there have been

– the simplest tool, the most complex machine –


Were solitary, all on their tod, set apart

Until wonder of wonders, these Things became ‘Smart’


An uppity interweb chappie equipped

Each Thing with its very own Thingummy Chip


Since each Chip is imbued with an embedded sensor

Their immense potential’s exponentially immenser


The potential I’m referring to here is the loads and loads of info transmitted and absorbed by these Things – what’s called Big Data. And delegates are encouraged to ‘leverage’ this. I hear the word ‘leverage’ used more times in one day than in the previous decade. It is used instead of ‘utilised’ which is utilised instead of ‘used’.


There’s a linking that’s almost like thinking – but far less confused

There’s a digging for data – though phishing’s politely refused


Awake on the line between Always and Never –

Things may not be conscious, but my God they’re clever


You enter a building, it knows who you are

And next to whose Audi you’ve just parked your car


We hear of a building with 10,000 sensors – a Smart Building, that knows how many people are in it, can calibrate heating, lighting and acoustics, and measures both gender balance and the collective mood of the people within, based on biometric facial profiling.

Presenters say things like: ‘You can leverage your existing investment in the network to access this valuable data.’ ‘There are real business outcomes we can leverage. Let’s reach out, engage and drive these business outcomes.’ And even, ‘people are your most important metric’.

At the end of the day we hear from a ‘vibe manager’ who draws a Venn diagram showing the space where Emotional Intelligence, Neuroscience and Mindfulness overlap. The old IQ ‘metric’ is balanced with Emotional Intelligence: EQ and Spiritual Intelligence: SQ. One day, trust me, they’ll merge into one integrated Practical Intelligence:  B’n’Q.


If the signal should weaken an IPv6 booster

Will keep Smart Things speaking – like Jeeves to our Wooster


I’ve heard this Jeeves speak and here’s what he said:

“Don’t trouble your sweet homo sapiens head


If Things get on top of you, don’t fret or fuss

For Ours is the Thingdom – leave it with Us”


So my message to you is: don’t worry – or, if you must, worry efficiently with the new iWorry app which itemises your worries and organises them according to their capacity for cortisol leverage. And remember: There’s still no ‘I’ in team, but there’s definitely one in anxiety. And it’s stressed.

Matt Harvey is Regen SW’s poet in Residence  – You can read his book The Element in the Room – Poems inspired by renewable energy here

Or you can purchase it online 


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