Can you imagine what a sensorized world will be like?
What happens when we gradually fit more and more everyday objects with sensors? Take Waze, an Israeli company acquired by Google in 2013 (after being previously courted by Apple and Facebook) which was the first to realize that because we all now carry a smartphone it was possible to use its GPS to create real-time traffic maps, allowing people to immediately and accurately to avoid gridlocked routes.
What happens when that sensor is no longer limited to the computer in our pocket and is fitted to our cars, which are equipped with permanently connected cameras and radars? We have the possibility to use all that huge network of sensors to obtain the best real time image of the world through its roads and highways.
Connected vehicles can communicate their intentions in advance to each other or synchronize their maneuvers to the split second. They can also communicate alerts about ice on the road, obstacles or any other eventuality. If we also coordinate all these sensor readings, we add the possibility, for example, of obtaining the best and most accurate meteorological maps at any given time. We could also create maps in real time, for example, of the parking spaces available in a city, or further improve arrival time estimates. If we feed sensor readings to other sensors, such as homes or the internet of things we are building, the possibilities mind blowing.
Once we adjust the parameters of who can read what data from which sensors, a task that is not going to be simple, but that we can create the right protocols for, we will sensorizing the world. A fire on wooded hillside will be detected by vehicles on nearby roads and possibly by drones patrolling at-risk areas. The emergency services will automatically be informed of accidents, as will approaching vehicles so that they make the right decisions: either to stop to help or to avoid the obstacle.
The Nest and the Canary in my home, or the irrigation sensor in my garden will carry out continuous temperature and humidity monitoring, and in the future will be complemented with many more sensors for other tasks, adding more possibilities to the use of those maps created by sensors deployed everywhere.
To understand our connected future all we have to do is dream… imagine the possibilities of all those sensors located in objects everywhere: a world that offers us a constant stream of data about what is going on around us. Just imagine what we can create from that data? Is there anything left to be imagined?
(En español, aquí)