How We Will Thrive in 2055: The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things came across my desk this morning in a Wired.com article. It has the potential to change every assumption we’ve ever had about our lifestyle.

smart-homeThe Internet of Things (IoT), according to Wikipedia, “is the network of physical objects or ‘things’ embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity to enable objects to exchange data with the manufacturer, operator and/or other connected devices.”

We are already using IoT technology. Have you installed a thermostat on your home heating and air conditioning system that you can control from your smart phone? Now imagine that your home can talk with the National Weather Service and automatically shutter your windows and disconnect your natural gas when a violent storm approaches. Or if the microchip in your dog’s neck can not only identify who he belongs to but also transmit that he’s getting into the neighbor’s garden . . . again!ambulances

What if your heart implant had a sensor that sent a signal to a monitor that said something’s wrong? A cardiology technician could send an ambulance to the location where you were at that moment. The ambulance could trip traffic signals to facilitate a quick trip to the hospital. It could even know when the road was icy by monitoring sensors in the road bed’s concrete.

Predictions from the tech world say that IoT is going to disrupt every familiar paradigm, from how we educate our kids to how CEO’s and CFO’s conduct business. Our power grids will change. Internet security will become huge business.

The IoT also has the potential to preserve our region’s treasured way of life.

honey beeThe IoT will talk to transportation and education systems, offering alternatives to traffic congestion and geographic isolation. What if every small town had a higher education center, where teenagers could access college courses from around the world? What if the new version of a Sears catalog store had a virtual changing room, where you could “try on” your wedding dress? What if your housebound grandmother could order a shared smart car to take her to church or to visit friends?

IoT will monitor our air and water quality, help farmers grow food and maybe even prevent the extinction of our most precious species.

As we look ahead to create a vision for our future, we must consider what this new technology can do for us, our families and our home communities. What if you were a small town mechanic who could order a part for a 1957 Chevy Bel Air at 9:00 a.m. and have it printed at the local auto parts store’s 3D printer by noon?

Change is good, especially when it can help us live the life we love.

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