|By Roger Strukhoff||
|January 12, 2014 10:22 AM EST||
"Things" can generally be thought of as sensors. The number of sensors sloshing their real-time data through the tubes of the Internet is estimated to be in the trillions soon enough. Thanks to the gift of scientific notation we're able to abstract these gargantuan data flows into the simple matter of measuring bytes to the 15th and 18th power.
Processing, analyzing, and making good use of this data will require an entire new era of hardware development. I haven't yet seen estimates of the number of datacenters - and amount of electricity - that will be required to handle the IoT within the next couple of decades. But I'll be researching this and report back frequently.
The Things revolution is coming hard upon the heels of the current mobile revolution. Data flows have already increased exponentially in the past few years with the 1.5 billion or so smartphones in use. The mobile revolution in itself was thought to be transformative, a quantum leap in how we need to think about the Internet, its literal capacity, and its catalytic capacity for social change.
Mobility is, in turn, part of the ongoing SMAC era: Social, Mobile, Analytics, and of course, the Cloud are what we meant in 2004 in Silicon Valley when we drove around with bumper stickers that read "Please God, Just One More Bubble."
Now, a full decade later, we appear to be in something much more than a bubble. SMAC and IoT may be the James Watt steam engine of the 21st century. And let's remember, the power of Watt's original engine increased by a factor of 1,000 within a century. Maybe the time has finally arrived to start lighting all that dark fiber buried during those Paleolithic dot-com days.
Readers of my work know that a small team and I have been researching ICT's effect on societal progress for the past few years. Mobility is playing the integral role in driving this progress in so many of the 102 nations we analyze, particularly among the developing nations. The Cloud facilitates mobile, social drives it, and analytics seeks to make some sense of it. What effect IoT will have remains to be seen.
In any case, IoT is my thème de l'année for 2014; as always, I look forward to your tweets, emails, calls, comments, and conversations.