To say that the
communications era has been revolutionized by the Internet is a pretty big
understatement, but there are still areas of communication that need and
innovation, like currencies.
One area in particular is
Voice and Video over IP. Skype has been a true phenomena growing from when
I first used Skype in 2004 with maybe 20,000 users on-line at any one time
to 2007 where there are at least 10 million on-line at any one time. The
adoption of Skype by hundreds of millions of users in the such a short
space of time is nothing short of phenomenal.
really interesting thing to watch in this space will be to see what
happens when Skype finally gets on the mobile phone platform as a fully
enabled application by the handset manufacturers. All phone calls can
then be routed via the Internet rather than over the carrier's
proprietary networks. The phone system will then have gone completely
the way of the steam engine and access to the Internet will reign
supreme. The next wave is open source GSM and WiFi based phone networks
that break the monopoly of the big carriers.
Every machine to have an
We might have passed this
tipping point already, but the rush to provide ubiquitous Internet
connectivity driven by the phone companies changing business models will
usher in an era where every machine will be able to have an Internet
connection like the Open Plug concept.
I am not sure where all
this will go, but one interesting use is a company I work with that has
developed a remote underwater exploration vessel. The Internet allows this
machine to be remotely operated anywhere in the world by its operators
back at home base, where ever that might be.
This enables the robot
submersible to be shipped anywhere in the world at a moments notice via
FedEx. The robot is dropped into the ocean at the appropriate location by
the FedEx delivery person and the robot goes off to do its task. Once its
task complete, it is shipped back to home base via FedEx and the human
operators did not have to go anywhere.
Internet Based Education
Internet has for the first time in human history brought a tool to
mankind that expands our brains ablity to access knowledge. This
is as big a change as the industrial revolution ushering in steam power
which freed mankind from the limits of the power of animals alone to
augment human kind's pysical power.
ablity for all people on the planet to have access to all the knowledge
that is available to mankind is close at hand. It is unclear where this
will take us but human creativity has brought us a long way so far.
Only the imagination bounds us to know where leveraging human
creativity by augmenting it with computer power connected to all the
world's knowlege will take us next, but you know it is science fiction
Power company's have a
terrible time "balancing demand and supply" as there is no cost effective
way to store large amounts of electricity that can be instantly be made
available. The power companies have achieved some measure of energy
storage using hydro electric dams, pumping water into the dam using low
cost, night time power, then running the water back out through turbines
to produce electricity during the day.
Some utilities have a
measure of control over some customer appliances through their proprietary
communication networks. This ability moves the power company from being
mainly reactive to demand surges towards the position of being able to
reduce demand by turning Air-Conditioning loads down during peak load
IP for all appliances and
an IP enabled power grid would enable the utilities to access all machines
on their power network. The beauty of IP enabling all grid connected
machines is that the power company can access all machines on their
networks and have real time control over electricity demand. They can then
reduce demand at peak times to prevent brown outs and spread that power
reduction across a huge number of machines, so customers would be unlikely
to to even notice the reduced supply.