The Internet of Things is here. IoT as it is referred to, is things, connected to the Internet. These things have sensors thus they can communicate. Communication leads to data and data leads to interpretation, reading, information, and stories. That’s the quick and dirty explanation.
I met with Jeremy Walker, CEO of Palo Alto based Internet of Things Architecture or IOTA COMPUTING . Here is how he describes Internet of Things: “The Internet of Things (or IoT) is about connecting billions of objects to the Internet—each accessible from anywhere on the planet. We’re talking Carl Sagan numbers here—CISCO predicts 50 billion IoT devices by 2020.”
Our talk was a fascinating glimpse into the future as Jeremy is a fascinating man with wit and intelligence and who better to guide the Internet of Things into the future than a man who formerly guided yachts around the world. Navigating new and strange and rough waters is best accomplished with experience. Jeremy brings that ten fold. I’ll sail with him.
The Internet of Things is your future. It might upset some when it arrives head on with barely any warning. But we can prepare for it. Here is your future: your world is going to change, so understand and you can embrace and use to your advantage. The operative word from Jeremy Walker is trust: if trustworthiness is embedded along with the sensors, IoT will be embraced as easily as a disruptive change can be.
I’m the glass half full person so I think IoT can make EACH INDIVIDUAL RELEVANT. It happens by the data they generate by simply being them. There, or here, or 10 lbs heavier or on statins. Male or female or somewhere else on the gender continuum. I thought of how each person experiences an earthquake differently because of location. 1989: my son and I are in Santa Cruz during the Loma Prieta Earthquake. We had a difference experience than those even 3 miles from our location. Our ground heaved up. We heard the quake arrive – it sounded like a train. This can be VERY useful. (yes, data is being sold, a profit is being made, but TELL people why and how they can individually be important.)
And, I have always talked about the biological terrain each person has. You take a pill and get better. I take it and get stomach cramps (true for me w Vicodin. I can’t take it.) I take lecithin and my rash goes away. Up to now, this has been dismissed as anecdotal evidence.
Well, it is time to stop dissing this. Think of it this way – When you go to a doctor and say, “This drug isn’t working” he doesn’t quote clinical trial results. He changes it or changes the dosage. You, as an N of 1 are anecdotal and that is all that matters. Not the “statistically significant” ‘designed from the beginning to get that finding’ trial from Roche or Merck.
The takeaway is that each individual can be made to feel important and will have to be if the wholesale collection and sale of data is not going to upset people. If it is presented as an opportunity to be seen as unique and important and HEARD – listened to…it will be much easier to gain trust.
Travis Dirks, co-founder of Rotary Gallop, was also at the meeting with Jeremy Walker. This is Travis on IOTA:
The computing industry has spent years looking for a way around the brick wall that used to be the super highway known as Moore’s Law and it is doing everything it can to ignore the fact that Moore’s Law died a triple death starting at least 9 years ago.
The smaller form factors of tablets and phones are the fruits of an industry forced to think about something besides More Power Scotty! With the industry slowly feeling its way along the wall – smart phones, smart watches, and soon smart rings – IOTA is jumping straight to the punch line. It bring us smart grit and soon smart dust. I’m talking wirelessly communicating computers so small it looks like I could fit 100 of them on my fingernail. They are so energy efficient they can run off ambient energy like heat and vibration and so cheap that what I spent on my new iPhone could buy hundreds of them.
This is where the Internet of Things gets real. To accomplish this incredible feat IOTA went back in time to brilliant ideas of the 60’s that were lost as people grew addicted to Moore’s ever doubling computing power. In the 60’s computing power was small and rare; to be used sparingly and programed cleverly.
Now these same ideas dusted off are bringing to life a new generation of computers not so much more powerful than their ancestors from the 60’s, but thousands of times smaller, cheaper, and energy efficient. When computers shrunk to fit in our pockets, the world changed. What happens when they shrink to fit on the head of a pin? And this time the cost and energy requirements shrinks with it. What does it mean when you have a computer you couldn’t find if you dropped that doesn’t need a battery, charge, or plug? What businesses will be completely changed? What parts of life? How does the world change when it becomes affordable to put sensing computers everywhere and figure out how to use them later?
Founder and CEO of IOTA Jeremy Walker offers a glimpse: In the 1980’s Jeremy was captain of a yacht with a crew of 66 and 4 $10million engines. The state of the art engines sent performance data to a team of engineers in Germany monitoring them as the yacht sailed. One day Jeremy received a fax that “The 4th piston on right rear engine shows signs of carbon build up. Estimated time to failure 500 miles. Please meet dispatched team of engineers for repair at nearest port. Estimated time in port 1 week.” In the 1980’s this oversight made sense for a $10 million engine. With IOTA it will be economical to monitor the spark plugs in a 20 year old Chevy via a smartphone app. By 2020 I expect to be getting an unsolicited package of light bulbs dropped off by quad copter from Amazon with a note to replace the light in the second bedroom closet. For those who not only imagine the quadcopter dropping off the light, but following you in the house to make sure you actually replace it – take heart that IOTA is the first startup in some time to begin with the premise that your data is…yours. They are building in encryption, security, and the premise of user owned data from the transistor layout up. With recent history, the Internet of things can sound like the start of a distopian future, but IOTA gives me hope that like the Internet before it, the internet of things might actually be a tool to make individual people more powerful.