The Practical Benefits of the Internet of Things
The possibilities are fascinating.
At its core, IOT is an umbrella term that describes the prospect of being able to locate a veritable plethora of items — okay, things — via the web. Naturally, this will require an entire mélange of technologies, active RFID for example, but the end result is that you would be able to keep track of, and locate anything from your browser. Businesses are naturally very excited about all this. Among the benefits they foresee is the ability to maintain lower and more accurate inventories, enhance manufacturing processes through more rigorous parts control, and to even be able to tell that the guy who said he had an important off-site meeting is really at home watching ESPN. Each of these examples has some very interesting ramifications —except maybe for the guy busted for watching SportsCenter — but on their own they don’t even register on my personal enthusiasm meter.
However, what does get my motor running is that the IOT has a WIIFM (What’s in it for me) factor that is off the charts. love the data center business. In fact, I love it so much I even started my own data center company. With that being said, let me make a small confession, I don’t find a lot of the “exciting” new innovations in our business all that exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I do think things like helium hard drives, cold storage, and silicon photonics are interesting, but I’m not about to start foaming at the mouth over them. My non-plussed attitude toward these industry advancements is not for a lack of trying. Believe me, I have been very diligent in my efforts to become more “plussed.” For example, the other evening I tried to engage Mrs. Crosby in a discussion about the potential of Big Data, unfortunately, just then the last episode of True Detective came on and we both found it easier to be engrossed by the question of who the “Yellow King” is — I’ve watched it twice now and I’m still not sure — than about the inner workings of Hadoop. Despite my excitement deficit, I am proud to say that I have become very enthused by the strides that have been made in the development of the “Internet of Things.” (IOT)
Sure, it’s selfish. But if there is nothing in it for you, how excited can you really be about helium hard drives? I see the personal applications of the IOT as virtually limitless, but I’ll start small. I’m sure I’m not alone in my desire for a quick and easy way to locate the clicker for my TV — what my kids do with that thing I can’t imagine. How about the wife’s car keys? Just how many hours have we all spent looking for those babies only to have them show up in the purse that she assured you she’d already looked in. And if we can develop the technology to find these common household items, how long could it be before they could make it work for articles of clothing? I, for one, have a whole drawer full of single socks just dying for companionship, and don’t we all want that lonely tennis shoe by the side of the road to find its way home?
Even things like our own personal health can be enhanced by the capabilities of the IOT. For example, I lost my golf glove last weekend, and you don’t even want to hear about the blisters I got. Sure, I toughed it out and finished the round, but to think that all the pain could have been avoided with a few keystrokes has yours truly brimming with enthusiasm. Even the way we eat could be impacted. Certainly, the tracking of containers would be easy enough — and a good way to make sure your brother-in-law doesn’t take that last beer — but if you could actually program things to automatically order pizza when the wife removes cans of cream of mushroom soup from the pantry to begin the process of making her tuna noodle casserole — does anyone like that stuff? — then you’re talking about a concept we can all get behind.
Obviously, you can color me excited, and I think many of you are, too. Innovations like software defined data centers may get top billing on data center media outlets but does it offer the potential to automatically order pizza? I think not. Isn’t this really the “elephant in the room” that we are all afraid to discuss? Sure silicon photonics may speed things up a bit in the server, but until someone can prove to me that it can find a missing sock, I say, “big deal.”