Ted Talks: The Age of the Industrial Internet

Tedtalks_marco_internetofthingsI came across another interesting and fascinating TED Talk recently. In this lecture, famed economist Marco Annunziata spoke about a rather popular subject – “The Internet of Things”, and how it is shaping our society. This term is thrown around a lot lately, and it refers to a growing phenomenon in our world where uniquely identifiable objects are connected to virtual representations in an Internet-like structure.

Basically, the concept postulates that if all objects and people in daily life were equipped with identifiers, they could be managed and inventoried by computers. By equipping all objects in the world with minuscule machine-readable identifiers, daily life could be transformed. How this is likely to look is the subject of Annunziata’s talk, beginning with the past two hundred years and the two major waves of innovation humanity went through.

Internet_of_ThingsThe first came with the Industrial Revolution (ca. 1760-1903), which permanently altered our lives with factories, machinery, railways, electricity, air travel, etc. The second wave came with the Internet Revolution (ca. 1980 – 2000), which has once again changed our lives permanently with computing power, data networks, and unprecedented access to information and communication.

Now, in the modern era, we are entering into a new phase of innovation, one which he refers to as the “Industrial Internet”. Judging by current research and marketing trends, this wave is characterized by intelligent machines, advanced analytics, and the creativity of people at work. It is a marriage of minds and machines, and once again, our lives will be permanently altered by it.

internet_of_things_beechamIn the course of the twelve minute lecture, Annunziata explains how the emergence of machines that can see, feel, sense and react will lead to an age where the technology we depend upon will operate with far greater efficiently. Naturally, there are many who would suspect that this all boils down to AIs doing the thinking for us, but in fact, it’s much more complicated than that.

Think of a world where we would be able to network and communicate with all of our devices – not just our smartphones or computers, but everything from our car keys to our cars and home appliances. By all things being marked and represented in a virtual internet-like environment, we could communicate with or remotely check on things that are halfway across the world.

Think of the implications! As someone who is currently very fascinated with how the world will look in the not-too-distant future, and how people will interact with it, I can tell you this stuff is science fiction gold! Check it out and be sure to follow the link at the bottom of the page to comment.


The Future is Here: The Chevy EN-V

chevy_envImagine a future where cars never crash, never break down, can be dispatched automatically to pick people up, and emit no carbon whatsoever. Well, that’s the idea behind the Chevy EN-V, an “Electric Networked Vehicle” that represents GM’s concept for a next-generation automobile that combines green technology and wireless networking.

Currently under development by General Motors, the vehicle combines four major features, all of which have been in the works for some time. These include autonomous driving, an electric engine, hydrogen fuel cells and mobile applications. Whereas most hybrid vehicles today rely on a combination of gas and electric power cells, this vehicle intends to do away with petroleum altogether.

What’s more, systems such as adaptive cruise control, side blind zone warning and automatic park assist are combined with a new advanced communication technology that allows for the first, fully-autonomous drive in history. Not only is this machine able to drive itself with the passenger in the vehicle, it is capable of being dispatched to an address and driving itself. In short, no driver necessary!

And finally, there’s networking features such as OnStar’s RemoteLink, Chevrolet MyLink, Buick and GMC IntelliLink and Cadillac CUE, all of which comes standard on the vehicle. These allow the driver to obtain directions, remotely lock the doors, and get up to date maintenance and fuel specifications, either through the dashboard display or through their smartphone. These effectively allow the driver to interface with the vehicle through their smartphone.

And it’s a timely creation, given mounting concerns over climate change and the proliferation of wireless technology and applications. And might I say, it’s about freaking time! It seems like only yesterday that GM was doing all it could to bury this kind of technology, buying up the patents and making sure they were staying on the shelf, or electing people who would make sure it wouldn’t see the life of day for another few years. Guess their finally seeing the writing on the wall!

Source: GM.com