There was a first connected device, that Eureka moment when Watson in the other room heard the delighted “Watson come here I need you” through the speaker. The first thing that would become one of many things or as the nomenclature reads the Internet of Things (IoT).
All things begin. IoT is no different, no magical devices that by only eating cereal in the morning you create devices. Or by using your secret decoder ring turn ordinary objects into communicating and connected devices. There is no magic spell that in uttering it under your breath as you struggle to wake up in the morning, turns your alarm clock into a drone that flies away. The problem is the darn drone won’t stop making that horrible alarm, so instead of reaching over to silence now, you have to get up and change the drone around the room.
At least you are out of bed, thanks to magic and a connected drone. IF only things were like that, that you could create a magic spell and automatically connect things to more than simply your fingers as you pressed the alarm button. But there sadly is not. There was, however, the first connected device. How you slice and dice that is wholly up to you. We can go back to the first mainframes and say the first terminals connected to the first mainframes were the first connected devices. Or perhaps the first PDP-11’s that operated independently, yet were able to phone home if processing batches were too vast and complex. Or we could say it was the first smartphone, which reaching back could download your email and gave you interactive apps.
There was a first device of the IoT. Someday I am sure, in some park or perhaps in some abandoned phone company building, there will be a statue. I suspect I will be there, older, tired, sitting on a bench as a docent in the first IoT device museum that once was a telephone company switching station. I remember when there were no devices that were connected.
That tenuous connection between devices and us remains those many years in the future always the question. Today you can wear devices that tell you what your activity score should be and well sadly actual numbers. Wearables they are called, connected via a conduit back to a mothership. You walked 10,000 steps today your pedometer tells you. Or that your mood, anger, frustration, aggravation, has declined over the past 30 minutes. In part because you accidentally left on the news on television and you once again nose dived into watching the news.
Yea though I walk through the valley of things, I will not fear them. Well, I may fear the sharp ones, when you bump into them, they can leave nasty scars. But the ones that aren’t connected are they any less than the ones that are? My connected blender watches me in the morning. My connected toaster burns today’s weather into my toast. My linked jelly, it is connected to my knife, after all, spreads on that weather toast. My connected fork, both my linked egg, which was connected to the frying pan, and then connected to my mouth continues its consistent down to the plate and up to my mouth motion.
The connection is both a driver and driverless. The moment we suddenly realize that in fact, we have come to the point of disconnection. For a moment we look around, look at the hands of others and wonder are they getting service, is it just me? And then, it slips away. That fear of disconnection slides back into its holster, and you sit, relax. Leaning over to the person next to you, asking “can you imagine what vacation was like, ten years ago when you had to lug 20 pounds of books with you to the beach?” Smiling the other person wonders if you are one of those people they will have to move away from before the day is done. One of those people that talks to strangers.
There was a first device, which opened the door for the Internet of Things to become real. But let’s not forget that it was the desire for connection that made that device connected. The desire for connection is not something devices have; it is something humans have.
And yes, I am that person that talks to strangers as we sit on the beach reading the collected works of Robert Heinlein!
Today’s images from my IoT device.