The converged future of the Web, Cloud, mobility and sensors: A polymath approach

I am an inventor.I became interested in long term trends because an invention has to make sense in the world in which it is finished, not the world in which it started Ray Kurzweil

The title of this blog was inspired by the quote from Ray Kurzweil who could be considered one of the few polymaths today. In an age of specialization, there are very few polymaths who can see many different domains and more importantly can see the interconnections between these domains.

In a recent talk, I used this quote and then proceeded to elaborate the interconnections between the Web, Cloud and Sensor networks. So, I am trying to outline a converged vision and then work backwards to ‘connect the dots’ so to speak that point to the vision i.e. how would a polymath (someone like Ray Kurzweil) do this?

This blog is based on that talk.

The blog is really a collection of key links / interconnections and trends that I see today which point to a converged future in the evolution of the Web, Cloud, Mobility and sensor networks.

So, the talk combined both long term trends (evolution of the Web, Cloud, Mobility and sensors) but also short term trends that I see today which point to that future.

What would this converged vision look like?

Here are some pointers. Some initial notes for what this vision could mean

1) I used the analogy of a magic want based on a childhood favourite cartoon character Wendy the good little witch to illustrate the idea that interconnect for Internet of things could be achieved via the Cloud by using sensor based mobile devices – kind of like waving the phone as a magic wand to trigger sensors via the cloud which will trigger new services … If we swish our phone and all these new services are triggered off, then the vision of converged services is fulfilled. If we ‘swish’ and nothing happens, we have effectively failed to get convergence and interoperability

2) Secondly, If all media were to be converged, then I would have a ‘wikipedia’ button on my Sky Remote
I don’t need two government funded TV channels – I need a wikipedia button on my Sky remote ..

3) But against this is the privacy equation which I summarize in the Silence of the Chips

So, if we then work backwards, there are some key areas which impact this vision:

1) The Ecosystem and Open source

2) Connected devices + Sensors

3) Web + Web run time

4) Privacy

5) Capturing context

I then worked back to see which are the key trends in these areas that I see today.

This is the content of the talk and this post.

The Ecosystem and Open source

Shrinking value of twitter ecosystem ..
When twitter starts to assert itself in it’s ecosystem, the value of it’s ecosystem declines

facebook uses open source to scale
Facebook is using a whole range of open source technologies to scale.
LAMP stack + Memcached: memory object caching system: Hadoop develops open-source software for reliable, scalable, distributed computing : Cassandra: Distributed storage system for managing structured data: Hive: data warehouse infrastructure built on top of Hadoop : HipHop: which transforms PHP source code into a highly optimized C++.: Scribe: Facebook logs approximately 25 terrabytes of data a day. so Facebook developed Scribe to log data streamed in real time from a large number of servers: Thrift: Thrift provides a framework for scalable cross-language services development in C++, Java, Python, PHP, and Ruby.

open source givers and takers
There is a mismatch between Open source givers and takers
while 69 percent of the companies Accenture surveyed plan to increase their open source investment in the next year, only 29 percent plan to contribute back to the open source community.


On Aug 10, 2010, machines outnumbered humans as subscribers for both AT&T and Verizon human subscribers for ATT and VZW – Aug 10,2010

Trailer for arduino documentary gets 75,000 views in a day

HP CenSE, IBM Smarter cities and Pachube

The data explosion Mayer (Google) 5 exabytes of data online in 2002, which had risen to 281 exabytes in 2009.
That’s a growth rate of 56 times over seven years.
Partly, she said, this has been the result of people uploading more data.
The average person uploaded 15 times more data in 2009 than they did just three years ago.
Speed (real-time data);
Scale (“unprecedented processing power”);
Sensors (“new kinds of data”).

The European Parliament takes the view that Internet of Things will be intrinsically linked to the trust
“(The European Parliament) takes the view that the development of new applications and the actual functioning and business potential of the Internet of Things will be intrinsically linked to the trust European consumers have in the system, and points out that trust exists when doubts about potential threats to privacy and health are clarified“

AT&T sees M2M as high value bits
AT&T said it was providing connectivity to everything from dog collars that broadcast a pet’s location to pill bottles that will remind you to take your. The irony here is that M2M connectivity in many ways represents the dumb pipe future that AT&T is so worried about but AT&T executives explained that the number of bits sent via the network are high-margin bits and the machine-to-machine clients have very low churn. Total wireless operating margin rose for the carrier to 44.5 percent.


“Privacy was once free. Publicity was once ridiculously expensive.
“Now the opposite is true: You have to pay in a mix of cash, time, social capital, etc. if you want privacy.”

Ping wants to make privacy an asset so does Diaspora; Facebook continues to go the other way By allowing your friends to check you in at a location ; Quit facebook day – only 34,000 users vowed to “quit Facebook” and remember, committing to quit and actually quitting aren’t the same thing.

Privacy violation vs privacy harm – Dr Ryan carlo

FTC – “We’ve put too much burden on the consumers to understand these policies,”

There are other ways in which data benefits society
There are other ways in which data benefits society.
benefits as: Shopping, Relationships(dating), Business deliveries(ex courier services), Maps, Education(schools), Politics(openlylocal), Society (social and spatial relationships through location data), War (wikileaks), Advertising, Linked data and the future.

Danah Boyd Privacy Is Not Dead
The way privacy is encoded into software doesn’t match the way we handle it in real life. The reason for this disconnect is that in a computational world, privacy is often implemented through access control. Yet privacy is not simply about controlling access. It’s about understanding a social context, having a sense of how our information is passed around by others, and sharing accordingly. As social media mature, we must rethink how we encode privacy into our systems.

Web run time, HTML5 and the evolution of the Web

The power of HTML5 Arcadefire

Hardware acceleration

Chromium labs – open source browser that Chrome is based on

Chrome web store

But imagine if Verizon offered Chrome OS netbooks at a subsidized price if you buy a data plan.

Cloud-to-Device Messaging — Through an API, (from froyo)

Google TV – developer ecosystem(also browser driven?)

Web TV The race for £117bn global TV advertising market


One of the best definitions of mobile context from my good friend C Enrique Ortiz

A Revised Taxonomy of Social Networking Data Bruce Schnier

Bruce Schnier’s taxonomy of social data Service data, Disclosed data, Entrusted data, Incidental data, Behavioral data and Derived data

So, thats how I see the vision and the trends today which point to that vision. Comments welcome

Image: Ray Kurzweil