I shall be expanding on this theme--the internet of things (IoT) over the next few years, as I find it to be the most interesting thing to happen not only in tech, but potentially in modern society, ever.
I've been thinking about it for a while, but am only now finally starting to grasp the magnitude of what is going to happen - in short, everything (literally) is going to change. Everything.
That's why it's so hard to wrap your brain around - because the IoT isn't "contained" to any area, it's truly the most pervasive socio-techno development in the history of the world. Yes, I know I just said that, and no, I am not stoned.
I haven't figured out how to frame the whole thing yet, but I will. But let me start with just ONE little specific example so you can see both the possibilities and the dilemma.
I was having a conversation with EMC mucky muck Guy Churchward six months ago on why he took the job at EMC (Guy was a big wig at NetApp and loved the company). His answer (grossly paraphrased) was, "I don't believe people will be driving their own cars in 15 years. Cars will drive themselves. There is so much technology that is involved in something like that, I felt that EMC was one of the companies that had a lot of the pieces necessary to thrive in that kind of world."
I don't know if he is right or wrong about EMC, but I completely agree that people won't be driving their own cars on the 101 in 15 years. And that made me think.
For a car to drive itself, it requires a huge amount of sensors, real time analytics, and a hell of a lot of faith. Google has proven that can work. In a discrete setting, the tech is impressive. But when you extrapolate out the possibilities of ALL the cars on the 101 driving automated, it gets heady. Those cars interact with each other - the sensors in my car can read data emitted from your car, and react in real time. Let's face it - one bonehead driving like a moron can screw up 200,000 people. Computers are not boneheads. They can ensure that everyone on the 101 is completely optimized for performance. Imagine typing into your Tesla control pad a command to tell you how long it will take to get home and it actually being able to tell you!!
That's a ton of tech, and some crazy big data in action. Now it gets better - traffic control systems can know and map and CONTROL actual traffic. Joe's new X had a reboot in the third lane of 101 S at Santa Clara? Traffic control sends out a micro burst and every single car on the 101 before Joe automatically - and systematically moves lanes to avoid Joe. Problem solved. Police coming through? The cops can automatically move traffic over a mile before they get there. All while you sit in the passenger seat playing Words With Friends.
The IoT is about sensors and analytics. And networks. And compute. And a pile of storage.
The IoT is about optimizing LIFE.
Crazy, but true. This is going to be something to watch.