Today, internet technology is largely seen as centering around the concept of websites and a few applications that are network aware. However, when combined with Moore’s law, which dictates that processor roughly double in speed every 24 months, and its economic corollary, which means that the price of processor will drop along similar lines, the lines between what could go on the net and what won’t are getting hazy. Today, digital cameras are embedded in cell phones and can send pictures over the Internet. Today, cars have so much computing power that it is almost impossible to fix them without understanding the software. Today, surveillance cameras are so cheap that anyone can set up a nannycam or wire up their home with video monitoring equipment. As those devices start receiving IPs, they will increasingly interface with the network. As they do, the line between what’s on the net and what isn’t is going to be a hard one to discern.
At the same time, Radio Frequency tags, aka RFIDs, are starting to appear in the marketplace giving a unique signature to each object they are attached to. I believe that, in the future, those RFID will also include an IPv6 address, which will give them a presence on the net. Your credit card, your keys, your socks will have such device embedded into them and you will be able to see them on the network as well as off it.
Bruce Sterling calls those types of objects spimes, and adds that they should be location-aware. I could argue that they do not need to be since efforts around IPv6 are already adding locating awareness to the mix.
When you combine the always-on internet with such devices, you enter a whole new realm of potential.
This is the fourth article in a 6 part series. You can read the following parts here: