From the Neolithic Agriculture Revolution to the Industrial Revolution, the current “Internet of Things” may be the next Big Thing.

morgan-stanley-75-billion-devices-will-be-connected-to-the-internet-of-things-by-2020

Ever since the 1990s Digital Age Internet boom, today, billions of things are now connected, or in some way, linked with technology. With billions of ordinary things, from farm cattle to factory processes, Google Glass to Audi’s driverless cars, being linked to microchips and to online networks, some experts predict that such technological transformation may be as profound as the Industrial Revolution.

Every revolution changed the course of life on Earth drastically, for the better and for the worse, for efficiency and for connectivity. The Agricultural Revolution changed the way humans lived by shifting us from the nomadic “cavemenesque” hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a sedentary agricultural society, reaping higher crop yields, longer life expectancies, and the sad “domestication” and exploitation of women and slaves, and the beginning of competing kingdoms, otherwise known as “dirty politics.” The Industrial Revolution powered industry to produce things exponentially and efficiently, slowly speeding us from the slow agricultural pace to a slightly faster industrial economy. News traveled faster and people got to places quicker. What first seemed to be just a more efficient way of doing things and less arduous became a permanent lifestyle that would last until the mid-20th century. In general, human lives (physically) have gotten easier, yet (psychologically) have become more complicated as we near the end of the Digital Age and towards rapid innovation. In layman’s terms, up until now, humans have only become lazier than before. And this isn’t going to change, it’s just going to go faster.

So what exactly is this “Internet of Change”? According to Jim Stogdill, GM at Radar of O’Reilly Media, the “Internet of Things” is used to describe this latest “permutation of digital technology.” With open source hardware and software integrating different interfaces (for the better and for the worse), such as linking sewages, power plants, and office buildings to a complex network, allowing real-time control and supposed efficient operations, “manufacturing has been made frictionless, development costs are plunging, and new manufacturing-as-a-service frameworks will create new business models and drive factory production costs down and production up” (2).

And the payoff could be, well, let’s say, make the lucky company the first worldwide trillion-dollar corporation. It could, literally, buy the US debt. (Of course not, though.) And it could just be anyone. (Well, more so the Bay Area tech companies, or some Chinese or Asian tech company, or the College Board, or…Enterprise Organization???) Nonetheless, some predictions indicate that such shift may generate nearly $9 trillion in sales by 2020! (In comparison to Bay Area’s top 150 companies 2012 revenue of $677 billion.)

By outfitting the globe with billions of connected gadgets, experts foresee a world in which:

  • More elderly people survive once-life-threatening accidents, since doctors and emergency responders will be alerted the moment their patients fall;
  • Fewer planes will crash, because every part on every aircraft will be electronically monitored so they can be quickly replaced at the slightest sign of failure;
  • And wines will get better since vineyard operators will know precisely when their grapes have the perfect sugar concentrations for picking.

[Copied directly from: http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_24835528/internet-things-could-be-next-industrial-revolution]

What’s even more startling, it’s already starting now! According to Cisco, at least 10 billion devices are already tied to the Internet. They range from smart cars to pill-bottle caps to Nest Protect (R)*–a thermostat that switch off when no one is around.

But while a more connected world will make our world easier in many aspects, some critics are not that optimistic about this “Internet of Things” revolution. Alongside any privacy and security implications of these devices transmitting info across the Internet, another concern is the possibility of a malfunction to this techonology, considering a lot would be at stake since so many people would rely on the technology for many of everyday activities.

From a study done by Oxford Internet Institute, they warn of the “potential for glitches that one may find themselves “repeatedly telephoned by a public lavatory that has run out of supplies and has been programmed with the wrong number to contact the supplier.” In short, maybe this “Internet of Things” won’t come as fast as anticipated. So don’t worry, Samsung, you’ll still hold your Galaxy phone as the next Big Thing…but once this new next Big Thing explodes (integrating all technological innovations into one) as the next global technological epidemic, I hope you got your Galaxy a lifevest on!

Sources:

  1. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_24835528/internet-things-could-be-next-industrial-revolution
  2. http://www.forbes.com/sites/oreillymedia/2014/02/10/more-1876-than-1995/
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