Just lately I’ve been bombarded with a number of different articles and videos about the same topic:
The Internet of Things
Many may think this is a somewhat new idea, but in a recent Big Think video, Chris Curran estimates that it’s a term that’s been around for at least ten to fifteen years. While early ideas explored how electrical appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines connected to the Internet, the focus soon shifted to how machine to machine communication could be achieved without any human intervention. Subsequent exploration turned to developing consumer products such as the connected car and smart homes.
Current thinking, Curran concludes, is focused on what the Internet of Things is for service companies in business. Not only is there a need to develop and refine new systems to collect data, but new kinds of processes need to be developed to manage the stream of data which will be collected by sensors in various service companies. Curran intimates that a new kind of data architecture will evolve to capture, store, process, aggregate, and analyze data collected by installed sensor streams.
As I listened to his words, I couldn’t help thinking about the kind of data collected daily by the security gates at the entrance and exit of our school library. How many of us, I found myself wondering, collect and analyze this data and consider its impact on our day to day operations? What improvements, modifications or adjustments could we implement if we were to consider this data? And what about those libraries who have installed RFID technology? Is data being collected by this new amazing library technology feeding into our planning, programming and operational processes? Is there a need, as Curran suggests, for a new architecture to interpret this data?
An article in Education Technology Solutions, How the Internet of Things will transform education, highlights how education as we know it will be transformed and enhanced.
With estimated wide-scale adoption only five years away, and the pervasive spread of mobile devices from smartphones to tablets, and increasingly portable computers within student populations, IoT technologies will be able to connect the right people together to accelerate learning as well as collecting and interpreting data on learners’ behaviours and activity.
Along with enhanced initiatives of tailoring education to individual learning styles, making education more engaging and capturing data which can be used to inform the future, this short article also hints at the dangers and risks that can occur from mismanagement of data collected if issues of data security and integrity, along with the development of new education policies are not concurrently addressed. Seemingly the implication is that new processes and perhaps new educational roles need to be developed to handle the many implications that the Internet of Things may bring to education.
And then, stepping away from the implications of the Internet of Things on business and education, I found myself contemplating a new world in which we’d be sharing, or as some predict, forgoing our roads to driverless cars.
About a year ago, Google released a first prototype of a driverless car and as you can see in this video, was received with delighted acclamations from those given the opportunity to ‘have a go’ being passengers in them.
Nearly a year after Google publicized its Self Driving Car Project, driverless cars are about to make their debut on the roads. And with it, was a thought provoking article penned by Peter Martin: Reasons to be cheerful. What driverless cars will do for us in the Sydney Morning Herald (July 25th, 2015). With increased ‘freed-up’ time, our leisure time and productivity level will be increased dramatically. Although many may be apprehensive about the demise of drivers – particularly for example “truckies” who, it is predicted, will no longer be needed five years from now to fulfill their present role of transporting goods in trucks around the country – there really is much to be excited about. Have a read of Martin’s article and be inspired!
But ….. and there is always an ‘on the other hand’ kind of warning ….. smartcars are not immune from unforeseen dangers. Have a look as WIRED senior writer, Andy Greenberg, takes his SUV for a drive on the highway while hackers attack it from miles away!
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