Edward Snowden would have us believe that everything is online already so worrying about how much personal information is out there maybe a quixotic fear at best.
And it is true, since Snowden’s and Assange’s revelations, we now realize just how much data is out there that comes from the telemetry of our daily lives. And we are suspecting there is much more than anyone cares to say.
Our phone tells the world so much about us. This strikes fear some people who think the government is planning to subjugate them by force. If I were planning to do something very bad, I too would be fearful of the reach of the state into what I am doing. But I am not planning to do something bad, and so I am not worried if the NSA knows I went to the gas station on Saturday and that I called my daughter in Florida who was also at the gas station at the time.
In my view everything, the IoE, cannot be online soon enough! I have so many questions and I want the answers now! Big Data means we can dream big.
Storage is cheap
The coolest thing about the IT industry is the pace of change driving down the cost of technology. Thank goodness the barrier to entry is low in high-tech. Imagine how much progress we might have made if Tech behaved like Pharma and protected its secrets for decades at prices that bear no relationship to the cost of production.
With the cost of online storage fast approaching zero (and for many consumers with cloud-based storage the cost is already zero) the price of storing everything is insignificant. Think of the complexity and difficulty of piecing together one’s family tree back more than a handful of generations. Compare that to our grand-children’s ability to reconstruct our histories down to the daily level as they read through the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn archives 20 years from now.
All technology that is conceived today must make it a foundational principle that it reports its telemetry to the cloud. Who knows what insights we’ll get from our internet-connected refrigerator: a correlation between our ice-cream consumption and relationship status perhaps or a warning that the package of burger patties in the freezer has been recalled for containing donkey-meat? But not having that telemetry means not being able to get these insights.
The trend for wearable devices has been a giant consumer success. With these devices connected and delivering to the cloud we have yet more insight into who we really are.
Soon every wearable device will be part of the IoE: hearing aids that stream the TV and Radio sound and translate foreign languages, glasses that see and hear and record and upload (already here), pens that record what is written (already here) and pedometers that remind us to get up and stretch out legs (already here).
It’s all about the questions we ask
The new hot job title is going to be CQO, Chief Questioning Officer. This person will be responsible thinking of the right questions to ask and for creating the technology to answer them.
Every business, great and small, will be more successful if it delivers better goods and services with greater margins than its competitors. The IoE makes this possible. With all that data out there and with everything connected to every other thing creating more data new truths are awaiting discovery.
The IoE matters because it collects data about us and what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. It does so when we are asleep, driving, at our desk, whatever our activity. That data reveals more about us than we know ourselves. It means that organizations can see trends emerging in real-time and it means organizations can tailor products and services to individual needs (a la The Long Tail).
Why do we sell more flowers on Mondays than on Tuesday? Which cities should we stockpile the flu vaccines in this year? Where should I locate the electric car charging stations in London? And the answers are: correlate with Facebook status updates, compare with Google search results of flu symptoms and track the electric car owners paths through the city using the Congestion Charge camera data. Someone’s data contains your answers.
Data is the new oil: extract it, refine it and fuel your business with it.