Takeaway: Nick Hardiman peers into the future of the Internet of Things. What changes will this evolving model bring?
Centralization and distribution
The Internet of Things will lead to de-centralization. It could lead to the end of cloud computing.
As innovation brings sweeping reform, the computer world swings from one model to another. Anyone who has worked in an enterprise for a few years has seen a couple of re-organizations. They know how work is merged and centralized one year, then split and distributed a couple years later, and then it’s back to merging and centralizing.
Way back in the 1950s, the installed computer base was thousands of room-size machines, scattered around the world’s public institutions and public enterprises. The work of each organization was centralized, because it had to be. No-one had invented distributed computing yet.
The 1980s brought personal computers to the general public. A new software market appeared, distributing computing power to individuals. Mainframes and dumb terminals were replaced with clever desktop machines.
The current trend is centralization – replacing the local computer room with remote cloud services. The clever desktop machine is being replaced with the mobile device – the modern equivalent of the dumb terminal.
The future is another wave of distribution. When everything in the Internet of Things talks to everything else, where will the center be?
Utopia or dystopia
As we build the Internet of Things in the coming years, new types of work and even new industries will spring up that don’t currently exist. Who will make all the Things? What will stop hackers switching the lights on and off in a million homes? When the Internet of Things is producing its ocean of data, where can we store it? And how do we use it?
There will be moral questions to answer in addition to the technical build. Will our lives get better, when the Internet of Things brings us unprecedented insights into the workings of the world? Or will it strip away the remains of our privacy, reporting everything we do to others? Getting it right will require a more holistic approach from the IT industry.
The momentum of the Internet of Things is now building. The Internet changed our lives, and the Internet of Things will change us again.