After 4 or 5 years of writing or reviewing just about everything there is to be said about ERP, it seemed appropriate to take a diversion today and look at things in the tech world from a broader perspective – sort of a technical-philosophical perspective. Pardon our diversion… but the world of tech is changing: it’s simply becoming a tech-world.
Increasingly these days you hear the term “The Internet of Things” bandied about. It’s the notion that a lot more than just computers and phones are hooking into the Internet. Already we have refrigerators that can email and phones that control lights and all manner of technical cross-pollination. And I’ve a strong suspicion this is not the end, but only the beginning.
A quick look back helps for perspective.
When I entered the computer industry 30 years ago, PCs were dawning. Back then, as a young sales colt, I would often as not be trying to impress some business executive not with the power of the PC or the advantages of say the DEC personal computer over the Apple unit, but rather, the concept of personal computing. I recall demo-ing a spreadsheet to a banker, illustrating a point with a demo pro forma income statement across a screen full of column-months… keying in formulas of assumptions… and then changing one key assumption (“Let’s say that sales go up by 15% Mr. Prospect, rather than 5%…”) and then pressing the magic “calc” key (F9!). I would watch the prospect’s eyes as the illuminated green pixels in front of him would ripple with the changes to all the sheet’s assumptions, the bands of light rippling through each row and column as the numbers changed (almost) instantly before his eyes.
If I saw in his eyes that he ‘got it’, I knew the inevitable sale would follow.
After a few years of touting the PC as a standalone device, Bob Metcalfe of the then nascent networking firm 3-Com opined as to how the “power of the network” increased exponentially with the square of the number of connected nodes. In other words, the more users on “the network” the more rapid the increase in that network’s power and utility. Good-bye PC, hello network! Just as Moore’s law foretold the doubling every couple years in PC processing power, Metcalfe’s foretold the burgeoning power of the coming world network.
By the mid-90s, everyone was talking about the Internet. I recall putting up our first website for our company back in 1996. The great build-out and bubble-bust occurred shortly thereafter, but after that brief hiccough, the Internet roared ahead. Today, you’ll scarcely find anyone without an iPad or a Samsung phone or their equivalents who isn’t online, without a second thought.
And so today’s continuation of that evolution – into the Internet of Things – is merely the next logical step. It will evolve over the coming decade, but it won’t be the last step. Just the logical continuation. To see more about that Internet of Things and how it will affect your life and our world, look no further than here, or here or here.
But first, look back. Consider how fast we’ve gotten from the Dawn of the PC to the Internet of Things. It will help you better appreciate where we’ve come from, how we got here, and maybe, just how far there is yet to go.