Zooming in and then out

In the media these days, we hear a great deal about the coming data revolution. The development of the IoT, or the Internet of Things, is one of the main sources cited as the engine that will produce much of this data.

I’m pretty fascinated by the level of connectivity and amount of information that will be available to us in the coming years, this unseen engine providing a thread between the granular and the big picture, empowering individuals as well as entities to make better and more informed choices.

So according to Wikipedia:

“The Internet of things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data…The IoT allows objects to be sensed or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit in addition to reduced human intervention. When IoT is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, virtual power plants, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of about 30 billion objects by 2020.”

That’s a shocking amount of data. This data will be used to analyze behavioral statistics and target consumers in increasingly specific ways as well as monitor the environment, manage infrastructure, oversee manufacturing, optimize energy consumption, monitor home and buildings, and enable management of metropolitan areas and transportation systems.

It will enable one person on a street corner to know when the next bus will arrive because they have access to the city’s transit data. It will give the park ranger the knowledge that too many mountain lions are being forced to migrate into areas that cannot support them. It will inform the factory manager that their machinery is not operating at its peak performance. It will tell the CEO that customers are not buying their most recent product because it does not meet their core needs. It will give one person the ability to make decisions and change their course of action based on the input of many. It will allow zooming in to the specific and zooming out to the general because we are all connected. That’s pretty darn cool.