Future Tech

Future Tech – Internet of Things

The technology today has evolved from a bunch of cranky tools with a lot of metals and wires to sophisticated lean computing devices which can be mobile. That’s a long way to go within a lifetime for some people. The speed at which we have upgraded our technology is phenomenal and highly unexpected. Data servers for computing which used to occupy an entire building are now housed in a device that can fit into your pocket with capabilities which are far reaching. All this is a result of the visionary thinking and progress that we have achieved to take technology to the next level. A thermostat that can analyze temperature and consumption requirements and adjust itself accordingly, lights that can sense movement, phones that can monitor your heart rate, act as an alarm, store your data and communicate with other devices bring you required information optimized to your preferences.

Astonishing? Well this was expected but as with all things the pace at which the next generation of technology is evolving has slowed down. It is indeed a marvel what we have currently but what is the next big thing? We are still improving on technology that was invented 30 years ago. When the computer (desktop) was invented it marked a new era in technology, Internet was another milestone, networking technology protocols marked another significant shift. What next?

So would argue that I’m looking at this the wrong way but my thought process stems from the question how different is the technology today when compared with 30 years ago? I agree that we have successfully gained miles in terms of memory capacity and speed, which has resulted in a growth of functionality but in terms of the basic method of working (and I’m not talking of the technical aspects) to satisfy the need is still the same. Let me explain, we used to have the desktop computer and the fixed line telephone; if we keep them on the same desk we have covered the basic functions of a smart phone. What we don’t have is the mobility that the smart phone offers but the basic function that the smart phone needs to perform is still point to point calls. So I would not consider this as a new age/era in terms of technology. Is it significantly better? Yes, will I give up my smart phone for a desktop computer and a fixed line phone? No (Are you crazy?) but the question still remains what next. A few smart people are working on a various new technology applications which are being considered hot in the venture capitalists radar – Drone Technology, Virtual Reality, Nano Technology, Cloud Computing, Bio Technology – But is any for this the future? If you look closely all of these are derived applications for the already existing technology so in a way it’s nothing close to a breakthrough in next generation technology.

In an article by Greg Satell in Forbes Magazine we can see a predictable change in the phases of technology – From Chip to System, From Applications to Architecture, From Products to Platforms and From Bits to Atoms. Where are we headed? Internet of Things.

Believe it or not IoT (Internet of Things) is a fairly old concept in the world of Information and Communication Technology. The concept of network of smart devices communicating with each other to accomplish an activity was discussed as early as 1982. This vision of IoT has evolved due to the rapid convergence of a variety of technologies which are being governed by varied protocols and architectures. IoT simply means inter-networking of physical devices which in a way transcends the cyber-physical and biological aspect of the world as we know it. IoT can also be described as an infrastructure of the information society.

It is my belief that the world wide web is the 1st gateway to the establishment of the IoT which we have already crossed. The next step will be to start creating an ecosystem for networked devices which can then be a building block to establish the architecture and governance systems for the IoT which will go way beyond machine to machine (M2M) communications and transcend to machine biological communication. We have a long way to go but is it still a dream? If the tech gurus are to be believed, I would say probably within our lifetime we could see a leap forward towards the IoT standards. 

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