IOT & The Rise of the Machines


A lot of talk is made of the Internet of Things (IOT), how it will shape our future and change the way we live, work, and play. Some point to the obvious benefits it will bring particularly in emerging countries were greenfield sites and rapidly growing economies can integrate technology at the ‘ground floor’ without the need for a retrofit while some prefer to focus on the more negative connotations of security, privacy and the inevitable ‘Rise of the Machines’

From Fritz Langs ‘Metropolis’ in 1927 thru Blade Runner, Terminator, Minority Report, The Matrix and countless others, Hollywood has long been supplying us with a view of what the world would be like when the machines took over and to be honest its rarely looked good.

Megalomaniac robot rulers, psychotic cyborgs and out of control operating systems seem to reinforce the message that the more we try to make machines think like us the more they’ll start to act like us and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

However, back in the real world developments in the Internet of Things are starting to deliver real life technologies that would have Spielberg and his Hollywood friends feeling quite smug these days.

Science or Science Fiction ?
Its arguable that IBM started the trend of mainstream companies launching ‘moonshot’ concepts that seemed straight out of sci-fi when they launched the personal computer in 1981 but there have been lots of breakthrough technologies since, most recently with Google and their self driving cars raising the stakes in 2011 and Amazons delivery drones just stepping the game up another notch late last year. Alongside this we’ve had Google Glass (RIP), Project Loon (thousands of floating balloons providing WiFi to remote areas), ElonMusksSpaceX and arguably even Tesla electric cars all of which just reinforce the great Sci-Fi writers Arthur C Clarkes, 2nd Law of Prediction which is that “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible”.

Some would say that many of these technologies even stray into the realms of his 3rdLaw (my personal favourite), which states that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, which to be honest all of the greatest technological breakthroughs could probably have been accused of at some point. Remember, its said that during the first public showing of the Lumiere Brothers 50 second film ‘L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat’ , (the Arrival of the train in the LaCiotat Station) in 1896 many audience members actually ran screaming from the cinema. Beat that Spielberg !!!!

So to conclude…
The emerging IOT industry is more about human behavior and how we can use technology rather than the technology itself but it’s a fascinating market and one that I’m very excited to be part of. As a leader in a company playing our own small part in the space I’m slightly weirdly looking forward to the day that we can do something so revolutionary and so magical that we make our customers run screaming from the room.

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