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Does the world need to be smarter?

June 6, 2014 Gerry Fleming

We highlight three fundamental changes taking place in the world of Technology.

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I know IBM coined the phrase “Making a smarter planet”, but I question the exposure by these enhancements. I enjoy technology, convenience, and cost reduction as much as the next guy. Here is how I see some key changes over the next 3 years:

Geo-fencing – This is here today. You have you smart phone and you are near a restaurant. You get a message pushed to you advertising, “Need a snack?” This will continue with your home… As you get closer to your home, your home recognizes this, gets ready by turning on the appropriate lights, getting the temperature at the preferred setting, and potentially turns on the oven to pre-heat for your dinner. All you need is the maid form the Jetson’s to have a drink waiting for you. Alternatively, your house is in sleep mode with you not there, saving energy.

Smart Cars – Our Company is full of avid motorsports enthusiasts. This one kind of hurts, but it is also here. It is all over the news; soon, you will not need to drive yourself anywhere. An unmanned vehicle will take you to your destination while you relax, catch up on Game of Thrones, or get prepared for a meeting. Other advantages are for people that are unable to drive; disabled, aged, handicapped. I see this as very exciting to give the freedom of travel to this group of folks. I believe this will actually decrease traffic, because the cars are capable of driving consistent controlled speeds and distances away from fellow cars. Unfortunately, I enjoy driving myself and the thrill of speeding.

Data Centers – All these things have to get their data from somewhere, right? Companies don’t build data centers anymore. The cost is crazy! The pro’s are building data centers that are more of a utility than the utility companies. As an example; the power consumed per square foot has gone up, but the costs for a modern data center has gone down. We use solar power as the primary into batteries, than to a PDU for conditioned power. The heat and air conditioning is manipulated (data centers are no longer freezing), data flow throughout the day is redirected for performance, equipment that is in low use is put into a sleep mode. In a general statement, equipment is manufactured to use less power. SSD’s use little power per IOP, versus a big storage array with spinning disks with the same IOP’s.

It is an exciting time; automation, convenience, big brother and being nicer to our environment, but I wonder at what cost? How will this effect our economy and society?  Which is why I ask, do we really need smarter planet?

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