MSTLN steering committee member Thomas Power looks at where the internet was, is and will be.
The first stage of the internet – roughly 1994 to 2004 – could best be summarised as capturing and organising data, the ‘decade of search’.
I would argue that there is only ever one (principal) winner for any given decade, and the escalating popularity and ultimate omnipresence of Google saw it easily take the crown as the winner of this first decade.
The second stage – 2004 and 2014 – could best be described as the social decade, sometimes referred to as the ‘Internet of People’ (IoP). Platforms such as LinkedIn; Facebook; Twitter; Pinterest; Instagram; Google+; WhatsApp, and more recently Snapchat, offered the world seamless connectivity.
It was also when data truly became mobile, no longer sitting on hard drives but migrating to server farms and the Cloud.
Facebook was easily the winner for this second stage, with pretty much all of us with access to a smartphone – all 1.4 billion of us – having interacted with the platform in some form or another.
We have now just entered the third decade of the internet – 2014 to 2024 – a decade that’s best descried as one where everything becomes connected to everything else, or the Internet of Things (IoT).
This is a time when everyone is connected to everyone else, everything is connected to everything, everyone is connected to everything, and everything is connected to everyone.
And they’ll be no hiding places…
How is the IoT likely to affect you?
Most probably in healthcare first, with the monitoring of your heart’s health, its beat, your digestion, almost every metric of your body that can be measured will be with IoT.
Bluetooth-enabled pills have the ability to monitor your organs and nanorobots your blood. Both will be connected to the internet to capture every moment of your being.
Insurance companies will start demanding it, and setting your premiums accordingly, and your death date may even become accurately predictable.
Second is likely to be your home. Your gas, electric, water, waste are all likely to be connected with everything measured; optimised; checked; double-checked, and reduced to the minimum to optimise your property’s consumption.
That’s not forgetting your car which will be plugged in outside. Third is your office. With lighting; air conditioning; telephones; coffee machines; photocopiers; laser printers (if we’re still using paper that is); all connected to the Cloud and data captured for recall purposes.
Next is your industry. Every transaction, shipment, movement, notification, replacement, all will be continuously managed and updated in real time.
Finally, where you reside. Everything mentioned above will pass data on for analysis to manage factors such as traffic congestion; air pollution; infrastructure; movement of people and more.
Right now it’s probably hard to imagine such a world, but in reality we’re already well on our way there and it may arrive sooner than you think…