WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT.
By 2020, the Earth will be populated with 7,600,000,000 people (give or take a half billion or so) and something like 50,000,000,000 sensor-equipped objects. These objects are devices that are networked via the Internet-creating what has been called the Internet of Things. They can talk to each other in order to automate certain functions of everyday life on earth. And by 2020, they will outnumber us by about six-to-one. So, I guess we need to make friends with the whole idea.
Here's how it works. The sensors constantly collect data from physical objects (like refrigerators, door locks, light switches, sneakers, water faucets, bow ties...you know, all your stuff) and upload it to the Internet. It's already happening, and will be more common as time goes by. You may not even be aware of the technology all around you, monitoring your life.
In the Internet of things, sensors, actuators, and physical objects work together change our world continuously, adjusting our interior climates, managing our traffic patterns, verifying that the guy trying to get into your house is actually you, turning on your lights, heating your car seat, closing your convertible top just before the rain (and reopening it just after the rain)...and a zillion other small, automated actions.
It's cool. But it's gonna get personal. Biosensors in rooms and clothing can detect your pulse and blood pressure, create a biofeedback loop, calculate your moment-to-moment stress levels, and adjust your environment accordingly.
Of course, doing all of this will require some incredible sci-fi software, using highly sophisticated algorithms. The number and variety of objects that can be connected to the Internet is practically infinite, because of the Internet identity protocol addressing system (IPv6) recently implemented by the information technology community.
The impact on the world from the Internet of Things could be as great as that of the introduction Internet itself. We're talking about a future in which:
In 20 years, you'll likely be in contact with more than 5,000 smart things every day. A world filled with sensors and data reacting to you, adjusting your personal environment every moment, all regulated by the Internet of Things-it's the science fiction of just a few years ago, but more and more, it's becoming our reality.
Our guest blogger, Jose Perez is Creative Services Director at Gibbons | Peck. His experience, wisdom, and insatiable curiosity about emerging technology and the world around us bring a valuable perspective to the Gibbons | Peck culture.