Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Internet of You

There is a relatively new term out in the world - have you heard about it?  It's called "The Internet of Things" or IoT for short.  There are two ways I could explain to you what this concept means.  The first, which you will thank me for not using, is to describe in massive technical detail how everything will be interconnected via the Internet, as described here in Wikipedia.  The second is to speak of IoT in more plain English, in ways that are meaningful to the average human being.

Imagine the Internet of today.  This reality includes computers, tablets, phones, appliances, and even cars.  Now think of the future and what could be included that isn't in that list as of today.  At some point, say between 5 and 20 years from now, everything you can conceive of will be (inter)connected.  Where this will start to get really interesting is to think about how all of this will affect you personally.

There are few fields/industries in the world that receive more time and attention than healthcare.  While scientists are always looking for ways to improve health and medicine, the "holy grail" of their work is the end of aging.  What would you or for that point Bill Gates and Warren Buffett pay to become immortal?  If you're 20 and in peak health you may not opt to pay much.  But fast forward to 40, 50, 60 years old and beyond.  Sooner or later you will almost assuredly be willing to pay everything you have to ward off the effects of aging, pain, disease, and eventually death.  Towards the end of his life Steve Jobs was quoted more than once saying (paraphrasing) that he'd give all his wealth to avoid death.

Now let's think about life outside of healthcare.  The entire human existence is becoming, day by day, focused on information and data.  More than anything else, information is power.  Every single government, business, and organization focuses tremendous resources on the identification, retention, and analytics of any data that can be gathered.  If you've heard about "Big Data" you'll know that the next big corporate arms race is to find ways to understand business and customers in ways that were always opaque in the past.  If you can gain insights that your competitors can't, you can beat them in many ways within the marketplace.

  With Big Data analytics and tools such as Hadoop, with a large enough data set a company can learn things that are completely non-intuitive.  The best example I have heard about this to date was when a company ran Hadoop analytics on a 3 terabyte pool of data that held information on operations, finance, sales, manufacturing, and compliance data.  The company was expecting to get back a profitability analysis, but instead found something much different.  They discovered that their business was 34% more likely to have a lost-time safety incident on Mondays after a European soccer (football) match that occurred the previous day (Sunday).  Furthermore, that percentage went up to 46% if the temperature dipped below 56 degree Fahrenheit!  The translation was that many male members of their workforce were coming to work "hung over" after a Champion's League match and were extra careless when they got cold.  Fascinating and highly relevant data gathered through extraordinary serendipity, wouldn't you agree?

But now back to you and the Internet of Things.  Very soon, every part of you, possibly down to your individual body cells will be connected to the Internet.  You, your doctor, and probably many other organizations will know exactly how you are functioning in real-time.  Yes, the privacy concerns will be myriad but the benefits will be monumental.  We're talking about limitless access to knowledge, instant "telepathic" communication to anyone, and probably a greatly extended life if not just pure immortality.

It will be natural for you to doubt what I'm saying.  The first argument that you'll likely mount will go something like this, "Hey Christopher, there is just no way to connect everything to the Internet.  There are not enough IP addresses to go around now as it stands."  In case you're wondering, the entire Internet is, more or less, based on nodes that have a unique IP address.  Under the old protocols of IPv4, that limitation existed.  Going forward the world is adopting a new format called "IPv6".  Under that protocol the possible number of assignable IP addresses is: 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456.  Put another way, there can be more IP addresses than all of the atoms in the world!!

Prepare for a world where everything that exists, everything that you are is part of one all-encompassing Internet.  So how about you - are you ready to be immortal?  Are you ready to enter the matrix?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chris,

    Your blog was very interesting and definitely an eye opener for what the future holds in technology. I can only imagine what the future will bring us. Anyways, I wanted to reach out to you in regards to our CIO Houston Summit. You have been highly recommended by our advisory board to participate and discuss the newest trends in the industry. I sent you an email through LinkedIn with the summit details. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best Regards,
    Alejandro Mordasini