Machine to Machine, Machine to Human, Human to Machine & The Internet of Everything & Everybody

Machine to Machine, Machine to Human, Human to Machine & The Internet of Everything & Everybody

July 27th, 2017

Over the last decade, our understanding of "connected things" has evolved in parallel with transformation from "telecom" to "IT" as networking has moved to NFV, and communications has moved to the cloud - for good. 

It was around the turn of the century that what we originally called "telematics," for example, in the world of fleet management of trucks, cars and other assets primarily using satellite connected sensors - became "M2M" for "machine-to-machine" connectivity. 

IP changed everything, and as more and more mobile capacity came online, more and more things could be connected via both radio and cellular networks, as well as growing WiMax and WiFi platforms. In line with Moore's Law, the price of connectivity was reduced as capacity became more commoditized. The price of sensors also dropped, as "silicon economics" kicked in, and innovation exploded with increasingly sensitive and reliable components for everything from wellness wearables to smart consumer appliances were mass-produced.

The growth of "M2M" rapidly surpassed the adoption rate of telematics, and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) became a mosaic of hyper connected life, rising up together with smartphones and mobile services that inevitably led to an entirely new ecosystem and economic boon, giving birth to what we now recognize as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) - the Internet of Everything - and Everybody. 

This is more than just a perfect storm for the creation of value and the improvement of life as we know it, not only in the developed world, but in the developing world, too. 

As we continue to move headlong into an LTE world, where networks move data around at an unprecedented rate, and as we start to enjoy the benefits of billions of dollars of investment in the transformation of networks defined by software, virtualized and harmonized, scaled in data centers and Central Offices being transformed into mini-data centers...the groundwork for innovation has been laid. 

With inventions that are securing end-points (billions of sensors),  protecting data in motion, improving the performance of connectivity solutions, and instrumenting almost every aspect of our lives - how can human beings function when they are not only connected to each other but to their things from the moment they wake up to the moment they fall asleep...

Even while sleeping, humans may have their vital signs monitored (heart rate and breathing for example), when they are vulnerable. This can be overwhelming to even consider. 

At the same time, maybe our machine-to-human and human-to-machine communications can become as intuitive as breathing. 

Our Chairman and CEO, David Walsh, wrote earlier this year about voice being the coolest app of all.  While many people in the industry formerly known as telecom have been worried about the "decline" of voice, what they may have missed is that voice is actually on the rise - when it is embedded into the flow. 

It's easier by far to speak into an app to control things, or to speak and allow voice-to-text to create and send a message. The performance of voice-driven innovations depends on what voice has always depended on - clarity and fidelity. Now, I can travel to the other side of the world, and still interact with a delivery person on my doorstep at home, using Ring. I can "intercom" using my smartphone over an OTT app, as long as I am connected to the Internet. 

I can lock and unlock my car. 

I can attend my grandkids recitals virtually and cheer them on as my daughter-in-law holds up her iPad. 

And someday, when we are very old, my husband and I can stay in our home, and be provided care through virtual assistants, including those "bots" who communicate with us after checking our blood pressure, can help us adjust our medications, can automatically connect us with live human caregivers, and can send one of those live humans to our home to help based on how our individualized, personalized health programs have been set up. 

All this can be done at a fraction of the cost of traditional in-home, assisted living and skilled nursing care - and can make our lives better, as well as the lives of our children as they grow up, have families of their own, and contribute to an increasingly better world. 

There is so much to say about how we can create, together, and govern, together, a world where people and things co-exist; there is much to say, as well, about the risks associated with hyper connected living, particularly when it comes to security and privacy. The good news is, given that our networks are software, our communications are cloud-based, we can build and implement solutions that enable us to enjoy all the benefits of "connected living" without risking our safety or freedom. 

And these benefits - this simply better quality of life - are aspects every human being should have a chance to experience. Imagine what we can do, now, using Machine-to-Human communications creativity, to help farmers increase their yields, everywhere in the world. Imagine what we can do, now, using extremely low cost health monitors connected to local clinics where health workers can serve large populations across geographies using distance medicine. Imagine what we can do, now, securing not just large "smart cities," but smaller, even rural communities in areas vulnerable to conflict and terrorism. 

There are vast financial rewards being appreciated by investors who had the vision and means to capitalize the transformation of the world's networks, including the public Internet, and by investors who back the innovators who continue to build applications and services that run on those networks. It's thrilling to play a role in this evolution and revolution, and even more thrilling to see that the benefits will extend to many millions of people as we also spend time, collectively, building technology ecosystems at the intersection of people and things. 

Last week in Los Angeles, at our annual customer and partner gathering, hundreds of the most creative and successful people building the future came together, in person, to accelerate invention of so many important technology solutions on Kandy - a platform GENBAND CEO David Walsh coined the Imagination Platform.

If we keep connecting at this rate, and with this level of consciousness and collective vision - we will, in fact, make a huge difference in how our kids' and grandkids' world will be. That's some motivation, beyond M2M, into the realm of human progress.

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