My mother talks about the first time she heard the word “computer.” A television show explained how this machine could do advanced calculations faster than a human being. This computer was as big as a city block. She watched the program on her family’s black and white television.
When I bought my first personal computer, it was exponentially more powerful than that early computer – it had a color display and was smaller than my mother’s television.
Today, I carry an even more powerful computer in my pocket.
Technology has exploded in the last half century – And we’re not done yet.
I recently stumbled upon an article referencing the Internet of Things (IoT) and it piqued my interest. I looked it up on Wikipedia, but still could not grasp the concept. Attaching things to a network in the “cloud?”
After watching a video on Cisco’s website, I began to understand. Imagine that you enter a parking lot. Your car then “asks” the parking lot to find an empty pace, and then drives itself to that space … and parks. While I have not seen this technology in action, and am not sure if it is yet available, I do know there are cars that can drive and park themselves. Having sensors in parking spaces that show when a space is available is probably the easy part.
I then watched a video by an elevator company that explained that they have attached the working parts of their elevators to a network. The elevators “tell” technicians when they need service and, better yet, when they are about to need service. Another video talked about adding sensors to jet engines that could alert technicians when they needed maintenance. Yet another article talked about sensors on bridges that tell your car when there is ice. If you don’t slow down, your car will slow itself down. Things talking to things.
I’m not sure how I feel about driverless cars and whether I want to trust an elevator to keep itself from plummeting to the basement when I’m on it, but the point is that the boundaries of technology are constantly being pushed and the implications these advances have for our daily lives are huge.