|By Roger Strukhoff||
|May 18, 2014 05:09 PM EDT||
The IoT is inundating my world like a monsoonal energy wave this year. No doubt many of you are experiencing the same thing.
As we enter the final run-up to @thingsexpo in New York on June 10-12, I am lining up interviews and meetings over what I can see will be an insanely busy week.
I serve as Conference Chair of this event, as well as Co-Chair of the overall Cloud Expo that week. I'll be making introductions, moderating panels, and talking to IoT leaders on SYS-CON.TV.
All this because of what appears to be the crest of what will be a very long surfable wave. I realize many people have devoted themselves to the IoT for five years and even more, but to be honest, I didn't sense its dynamism until recently.
I think more than IoT technologies are conspiring to drive the current IoT energy:
For one thing, the developed world is finally slipping off the lethargic hangover from the Great Recession of 2008-09. Investors have returned to the US stock markets and to bond markets in North America and - thanks to Germany and a more stable Euro - Western Europe. The developed world can now safely pus the accelerator to the floor and get the IoT on the fast track.
Meanwhile, several large developing nations are nearing a form of developed-nation status. South Korea has been leading this pack for some time, but can see Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Mexico in its rearview mirror. This is not to underplay the very serious societal issues in these nations or their continuing income disparity. If the IoT dreamers and technologists can hold their nerve through all the political crapola, we will all win.
Central and Eastern Europe quietly - and again, in the face of many deep societal tensions - continues to turn into a 21st century economic block. The research we've been doing at the Tau Institute for the past couple of years shows most of Central and Eastern Europe on the leaderboard, with much potential remaining. Talk about Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine (yes), and many others, and you're talking about real progress.
Oil markets have stabilized. The United States has re-emerged as a Boss, as OPEC's Middle Eastern nations continue to diversify their economies. The world despite its often-lunatic politics and wars, is on a more stable energy footing than it's been in decades, despite what the dead-eyed man in Moscow does.
Developing nations have caught VC fever and Web fervor. Just as the Philippines actually exceeds the US in per capita mobile usage, for example, countries throughout South East Asia and Africa are among the most dynamic on the planet. Private-public initiatives and results-driven NGO projects are attacking decades-old problems with passion and effectiveness, whether in the Philippins, Cambodia, Senegal, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, and many others.
Ya Gotta Believe
My research and writing has taken me to many insalubrious places over the years. I happen to love them, but understand that difficult, dangerous places are not to everybody's taste, whether for travel or investment.
I don't go wandering through neighborhoods waiting for a shiv to the solar plexus, but realize there may one waiting for me out there some day. Yet I also believe that we are now, finally, in an age where technology can be the great equalizer, worldwide.
It's comforting in a way to see the big big technology players throw themselves into the IoT. It's exciting to envision a high-end manufacturing renaissance in North America and Western Europe and naissance in the rest of the world.
Think about zettabytes and what they will require in terms of iron and cable and you can't help but get excited. There should also be a nice feedback loop in which creation of smarter grids, cities, and countries makes it more efficient to create more of the smart technology that in turn makes those grids, cities, an countries smarter again.
I use the word "efficient" solely in its cost/benefit sense. The IoT is, at its core, a human endeavor that's going to require extraordinary amounts of thinking, education, and will to achieve. The IoT is our last, great chance at redemption - to create a better planet with better off people.
If I see you in New York, don't forget to grab my lapel (gently) and say "hi." I'd love to talk to everyone, and anyone who already knows me knows this is true.