The “Internet of Things” gets real

The Internet of Things, predicted by Bruce Sterling around 2006, is happening. Steve Lohr in the NY Times explores the mainstreaming of the idea: “… the protean Internet technologies of computing and communications are rapidly spreading beyond the lucrative consumer bailiwick. Low-cost sensors, clever software and advancing computer firepower are opening the door to new uses in energy conservation, transportation, health care and food distribution. The consumer Internet can be seen as the warm-up act for these technologies.”

Across many industries, products and practices are being transformed by communicating sensors and computing intelligence. The smart industrial gear includes jet engines, bridges and oil rigs that alert their human minders when they need repairs, before equipment failures occur. Computers track sensor data on operating performance of a jet engine, or slight structural changes in an oil rig, looking for telltale patterns that signal coming trouble.

Here’s Bruce at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in 2006: