The Next Internet: The Internet Of Things, Smart Grids And Environmental Monitoring  

Posted by Big Gav in , , , ,

Internet pioneer and Google evangelist Vint Cerf has a blog post on the expansion of today's internet to include the "internet of things" Bruce Sterling spends a lot of time talking about and the provision of the environment monitoring and "smart grid" features we need to optimise our (clean) energy acquisition and usage - The Next Internet.

In the next decade, around 70% of the human population will have fixed or mobile access to the Internet at increasingly high speeds, up to gigabits per second. We can reliably expect that mobile devices will become a major component of the Internet, as will appliances and sensors of all kinds. Many of the things on the Internet, whether mobile or fixed, will know where they are, both geographically and logically. As you enter a hotel room, your mobile will be told its precise location including room number. When you turn your laptop on, it will learn this information as well--either from the mobile or from the room itself. It will be normal for devices, when activated, to discover what other devices are in the neighborhood, so your mobile will discover that it has a high resolution display available in what was once called a television set. If you wish, your mobile will remember where you have been and will keep track of RFID-labeled objects such as your briefcase, car keys and glasses. "Where are my glasses?" you will ask. "You were last within RFID reach of them while in the living room," your mobile or laptop will say.

The Internet will transform the video medium as well. From its largely programmed, scheduled and streamed delivery today, video will become an interactive medium in which the choice of content and advertising will be under consumer control. Product placement will become an opportunity for viewers to click on items of interest in the field of view to learn more about them including but not limited to commercial information. Hyperlinks will associate the racing scene in Star Wars I with the chariot race in Ben Hur. Conventional videoconferencing will be augmented by remotely controlled robots with an ability to move around, focus cameras and microphones, and perhaps even directly interact with the local environment under user control.

The Internet will also become more closely integrated with other parts of our daily lives, and it will change them accordingly. Power distribution grids, for example, will become a part of the Internet's information universe. We will be able to track and manage electrical power demand and our automobiles will participate in the generation as well as the consumption of electricity. By sharing information through the Internet about energy-consuming and energy-producing devices and systems, we will be able to make them more efficient.

A box of washing machine soap will become part of a service as Internet-enabled washing machines are managed by Web-based services that can configure and activate your washing machine. Scientific measurements and experimental results will be blogged and automatically entered into common data archives to facilitate the distribution, sharing and reproduction of experimental results. One might even imagine that scientific instruments could generate their own data blogs.

These are but a few examples of the way in which the Internet will continue to surround and serve us in the future. The flexibility we have seen in the Internet is a consequence of one simple observation: the Internet is essentially a software artifact. As we have learned in the past several decades, software is an endless frontier. There is no limit to what can be programmed. If we can imagine it, there's a good chance it can be programmed. The Internet of the future will be suffused with software, information, data archives, and populated with devices, appliances, and people who are interacting with and through this rich fabric.

Bruce himself has a post on work being done at HP on environmental monitoring - The Central Nervous System for the Earth.
(((Man, this one's right out of the Bright Green playbook. Cram too-cheap-to-meter nano-scale environmental sensors into every handheld on Earth. Then network them.)))

(((The head of this lab was here at Picnic doing his elevator pitch, and I don't think he's kidding. Even if one guy in a hundred is carrying a ful-scale environmental lab in his pocket... and actively measuring, uhm, chem/bio, temperature, vibration, sound, magnetic fields, radiation, humidity and weather conditions... "all so cheap as to be basically free"... well, that would make the 20th century look as crude as the world before germ theory.)))

"Avoid catastrophic failures through early monitoring... instrument the facility with a nervous system."

"Safety, health, optimization, intelligence."


Come and see the Internet of Things in action.
Precyse Technologies enable people to see and manage their physical assets such as inventory moving through a manufacturing supply or human moving across battlefields or borders.
Visit their Website at

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