Jason Hope, the Arizona tech entrepreneur who became famous as the founder of Jawa, has recently taken to the blogosphere and internet magazine scene to drum up excitement about the coming revolution in network technology. The so called Internet of Things, which represents the near total permeation of networking to almost every device imaginable, will usher in an age of unprecedented efficiency gains and leisure time for workers who will be relieved of the drudgery that marked so much of the American workday since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
Everything’s on the grid
A Luddite’s fevered nightmare, the Internet of Things will complete the process that the internet started, the total wiring-in of everything and everyone to the single, gigantic network. While such radical adoption of technology certainly raises concerns, some stark, the potential benefits are so great that there is no doubt, opines Hope, that we are headed in the direction of total networking saturation of the built environment.
The examples of astronomical efficiency gains are too numerous to even scratch the surface’s outermost layer. However, one example where the technology already exists is shopping. Even today, there are many refrigerators on the market which are capable of issuing alerts when certain food items are running low or out altogether. Simultaneously, companies like Boston Dynamics, among others, have created robotics that are fully capable of stocking shelves and removing items in complex environments similar to those at real life grocery stores. It’s only a matter of connecting the pieces now.
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Refrigerators will be able to communicate with the grocery store, filling an automated shopping list. The store will have robots, perhaps something like an automated shopping cart with a robotic arm, that will fulfill the order produced by the shopping list. Check out will be automatic, paid by stored credit card or by direct deposit. The grocery store’s automation will have the order waiting for pickup somewhere outside the store in a pickup lane and will automatically put the groceries in the customer’s car.
This is just one example of technology that could happen tomorrow. Jason Hope sees such developments as the ineluctable wave of the future.