Over the last 20 years I’ve worked on several systems that rely on pushing data around to the right place at the right time in order to be effective. Hotel reservations systems need real-time availability information, LPG distribution needs to know what state various tanks are in, streaming video to cellphones needs to get over the air to the user and live video needs to get over the network to the broadcast center.
40 years ago much of this wouldn’t have been possible as the lines of real-time communication didn’t exist or were prohibitively expensive (compare the cost of a telegram message in 1900 to a text message today, or a transmission from the Hubble Telescope.
In 20 years will networks exist as we know them today – patchy, unreliable and certainly not ubiquitous enough to rely on consistently? Or will the promise of an always on connected affordable cloud become real.
Imagine film of a normal street right now, a relatively busy crossroads at 9AM taken from a vantage point high above the street, looking down at an angle as if from a CCTV camera. We can see several buildings, a dozen cars, and quite a few people, pavements dotted with street furniture.
Freeze the frame, and scrub the film backwards and forwards a little, observing the physical activity on the street. But what can’t we see?
Thus starts an essay by Dan Hill
which I’d really recommend you take the time to read. It’s a real eye opener as to how much data is flying around, where it’s going and how it affects you…