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Shenzhen is known as the place where all hardware is made. How can Western designers fully utilize the resources that are available in Shenzhen? We wanted to familiarize ourselves with the industry there. Together with film producer Bart At Work, we produced a documentary about our visit.

View source: Gearing up for Shenzhen is a collection of our experiences in Shenzhen and explores the city's capacity to contribute to a responsible Internet of Things. Our goal with this film is to translate the things that we've learned to an audience of design professionals, makers and enthousiasts and to express to them a sense of urgency for better IoT practices. We took our concept for a fair bike rental scheme to Shenzhen to gauge people's reactions. We also tried to have a smart bike lock made according to our requirements.

Our investigation included trips to hardware manufacturers, solution providers and makerspaces. We also had the chance to visit the world-famous Huaqiangbei electronics market. We had learned that a sensible business plan is a prerequisite for engaging with potential partners in Shenzhen. This stiffles explorative work to a certain extent. But at the same time, Shenzhen boasts a unique collaborative environment where principles around privacy, security and inclusiveness do resonate, albeit in a different dialect.