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Internet of Things: The Twitter of Things


In the previous article I wrote about the significance of shared intelligence in the 'internet of things' world of tomorrow, and how thing-driven databases could add much more value compared to human made databases, because of the sheer numbers of connected things and the factual kind of data that they would transmit.

In this article, I am writing about yet another interesting concept, which no one seems to be thinking about. The idea is what if things follow other things, in a manner similar to how people follow other people on twitter.

Let's call this the 'Twitter of Things' shall we?

For example, just for fun sake, assume for a second that you want to follow in the footsteps of your favourite celebrity or your favourite yoga guru. Everything they do, you want to do too.

So, if the Guru gets up at 5 AM in the morning, then you want to do so too. If he gets up at 4:30 then you also want to get up from bed at the same time. (Of course, this is all hypothetical!)

So here is what you could do in the future.

The Guru's alarm clock would be internet enabled, and will be a part of the internet of things. And so would your alarm clock be.

So you can set your alarm clock to follow your Guru's alarm clock. A case of things following things. Whenever his alarm sounds in the morning, his clock would 'tweet' about it over the internet, and if your clock is tuned in to listen to those tweets, then it can know that the Guru has woken up, and wake you up from your slumber too.

While, such a 'Twitter of Things' concept sounds funny, it can have interesting applications. Most people who are discussing and writing about the Internet of things, seem to be focussing on the aspect of remote accessing your machines and devices through the internet. Of course that's going to be useful, but thing to thing communication as in the example above, also holds much promise.

The follower's action can differ

The action taken by the 'thing that follows' need not be the same as its leader. In fact it could even do the exact opposite thing. For example if the leader's TV gets switched ON, your can be switched OFF at the same time.

There could also be a proportionate level of action involved. For example when the volume of the leader's radio is set at x, the thing that follows can choose to have its volume as '2x'. What should we call this? An information Gear Ratio?

It is important to note that this 'Twitter of things' example, is a special case where a thing is mass communicating with many other things simultaneously. This is different from a case where your refrigerator communicates to a grocery store machine and orders weekly supplies for you. That is a 1 to 1 communication, while this is a case of mass communication.

Tuning in to a higher intelligence

Whether the idea of 'things following things' can have practical useful applications, remains to be seen, however as a concept it does sound promising to me. The advantage that I see in this system, is that systems and machines having a lower level of intelligence could tune in to those having higher intelligence and start performing better.

For example, there are simple chess programs that calculate just a couple of moves ahead and then there are other chess programs like Fritz and Deep Blue which are so good that they can beat Grandmasters and World champions. What if, these superior intelligence programs started teaching their lower intelligence counterparts a few tips and tricks that they know?

Worth a thought or two? Yeah, Maybe.

So, thats it for now. Will be posting more ideas about the Internet of Things soon.

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