May 10

William Gibson – “The future has already arrived. It’s just not evenly distributed yet”.

The above was one of the very first quotes at the event. The ‘Internet of Things’ is based on the premise of machines connected wirelessly or wired to the Internet.

Another concept that was mentioned quite early on was a Spime, which is space + time. A Spime is a currently-theoretical object that can be tracked through space and time throughout the lifetime of the object. The name “spime” was coined by author Bruce Sterling.

It was noted that if you consider that there are theoretically or otherwise 10 exp 9 mobile phones on the planet then in the not too distant future there could be > 10 exp 12 spimes. The realtime web can be measured in Mb/s and 10% of this traffic is machine to machine (M2M). A spime network will be measured in Gb/s and 99% of this traffic will be M2M.

There are currently more military applications for this type of technology (think drones over Afghanistan) than consumer or domestic but it was noted by the panel that healthcare and energy (smart metering) were likely sectors that would benefit.

David Wood (@dw2) discussed that he suspected progress would be more Demi Moore’s law (disruptive change at half the speed of Moore’s law - Bhaskar Chakravorti’s) when in the marketplace, than Moore’s law. This is because of a) technical issues, b)ecosystem – which came first mobiles or the network? and c) business models .

It is likely that sensors will play an increasing part as technology develops as machines gather more information. You can see today the issues around location based services always knowing where we are. With more information being collected about where we are and what we are doing what are the privacy issues? Will this be acceptable to the general public? Will the benefits outweigh the perceived big brother issues? Another comment from the panel – “will you trust ‘things’ are who or what we think they are”, this is a consideration when considering today’s spoofing of websites and phishing attacks.

When you consider this in a health context there are obviously benefits to the individual. If someone is suffering from a heart condition and is monitored with data being stored in the cloud, the data could be analysed in real time and could trigger events that could inform the individual or GP if there is a problem that could then be acted upon. However what are the ramifications if insurances companies are granted access to this data? Would this increase premiums based on severity of condition or proof of congenital disease etc.

@dw2  raised an important point with respect privacy and health. Consider a group of people providing their data anonymously and this data being aggregated and analysed for the benefit of society. This could highlight trends or pockets of disease that could be studied with a view to prevention or even cure.

As the panel summed up someone mentioned (I can’t remember who) the concept of an augmented reality of things where each object has its attributes stored online for its lifetime including its history(including ownership), operation manual, specification warranty etc. Is this an extension to Flook or perhaps Layar? Whilst it makes less sense for something like a kettle, it certainly makes sense for a car. Imagine going to buy a second hand car and being able to get that sort of information just by your mobile device being in the proximity of it.

Another good Mashup discussion, but on a subject that I feel has still to breakthrough and is in its infancy. I wonder what the discussion will be in 1, 2 or 3 years time. Will we have accepted and be actively participating in the ‘Internet of Things’?

Comments are closed.

preload preload preload