What is a computer. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have said a windows based desktop or laptop. If you asked me 3 years ago, I would have said the same, but would have added Chromebook and Android/iOS tablets.
I suspect my bias comes from years of working on and with “computers”. Today my view is changing and has been changing for a while. The concept of small computer systems intrigues me. The Internet of Things or IoT devices are pushing the limits of what compute is. Today smart TV’s are basically iterations of computers. But the definition of what a computer is and does has also changed. I talked about the value of the bite sized applications of the Android and iOS marketplaces. Applications that are designed to do one thing, well, but only one thing. They are smaller applications, don’t take a lot of memory or resources to complete their one task.
IoT devices are also bite sized implementations of functionality. Taking and doing one things very well, but again only that one thing. IoT devices that offer interesting views of what is possible. I am amazed at how much you can do, with so much less than you needed in the past.
I remember huge desktop computers that, sitting on the desk or under your desk, would produce massive amounts of heat. Now with distributed resources you can do the same job with a lot smaller system.
Over a year ago, I backed an interesting campaign on Indiegogo. It was a campaign designed to bring a really small (shirt pocket) computer into the world. Called Sirius-B the idea was to build a device you could carry with you, that was a full Linux or Windows computer.
As I said my view is changing. The reality of the compute landscape continues to evolve. What has always been the easy path (laptop and desktop) is no longer easy. Reality is that compute systems are evolving. Yesterday I talked about voice command and voice activation. The reality of voice control is that it is an IoT processing device. Google Home (which frankly is the COOLEST looking of the home voice activation units. It is not as cool looking as someone wearing a Hololens from Microsoft but it does look cool).
Now I wonder when the next thing will be processing aggregation. We are seeing the rise of server less processing, just a processor available to build against. Storage provided but the concept of a dedicated server disappearing a little. What of software that could bind multiple processors regardless of where they are into a unified mesh?
Image based on the task you are completing being able to expand beyond the processing power available to you in your hand or pocket. To combine the capabilities of a smart watch, smart phone and a smart TV into a unified computer mesh. A world where all you carry with you is your phone. You don’t need all the other components that you carry with you today. Just your cellular phone. Once you sit at your desk or in a cube at work, you grab a shared processor. Security tied not just to you, but to your actual body temperature, finger prints, Iris scan and a password. Multi-point and multi-factor security that reduces the security risk of the cellular device. Imagine walking into your home, with the lighting set to where you like it. The radio on with soothing music. All you carry with you, all that you need to connect and communicate with your home is your cellular phone.
We aren’t that far from this. One is achievable today, it just takes a little time. The mesh computer network where you share processing is possible as well, just expensive today. Someday soon it will be though…
searching for computing power