During 2008, the number of things connected the Internet exceeded the number of people on Earth.
By 2020, 50 billion objects will be online.
THOUGHT: Remember when you learned that bombs could be smart? During Gulf War I, we learned that by building technology into bombs, you could make them smart enough to seek and destroy their target rather than dropping munitions from a plane in the general vicinity of the target and hoping your aim was true?
In the intervening years, communications technology built into objects has made the United States defense forces the most formidable military the world has ever known.
Our environment is about to become a lot smarter.
The next evolution of the Internet, commonly known as The Internet Of Things, will apply the same concept to everyday objects: Embedding Internet access into all manner of things.
Internet access is already being embedded in medical devices so physicians can easily monitor a patient’s health at any moment.
Imagine what Internet enabled monitors built into the structure of a bridge might have meant to Minnesotans had officials been able to be alerted that the 35W bridge was at risk of collapse?
Imagine a refrigerator equipped with RFID technology and Internet access so your fridge not only knows when you’re out of milk, but knows what type, size and brand of that milk and then adds it to your shopping list at your local grocery store, so it can be added to your groceries to be picked up or delivered at your convenience.
The grocery store, meanwhile, will have access to data that will allow it to serve its customers better and more efficiently, understand sales cycles, and customize promotions.
Wiring every little bit of the world will have untold and profound applications and implications we probably cannot even image at this point.
What is certain, though, is a vast amount of data will be created as a result.
From a long-term planning perspective, organizations should take a look at what they do and determine where or whether it makes sense to enable Internet access to the things you do or make. Just as importantly, ask what data you want to collect, what are you going to do with and how are you going to use the resulting data?
Just like most companies now do not have the capability to create the compelling content they need to successfully market themselves, most companies will be just as unprepared to think through and plan for the Internet of Things.
THROWBACK THURSDAY: Space Sticks, from Pillsbury.
Thank you for NASA.
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