From the 2014 Solid Conference: It’s easy to talk about “the Internet of Things” and to miss the bigger pattern: we are no longer just building software for individual devices, but creating networks of intelligence and action that make it possible to completely rethink how we organize work, play, and society itself. As Aaron Levie of Box.net wrote on Twitter: “Uber is a $3.5 billion lesson in building for how the world should work instead of optimizing for how the world does work.” Once both driver and potential passengers were instrumented with devices reporting their location in real time, it became possible to completely rethink urban transportation. How much more will that be true with self-driving cars? Similarly, when GE designs jet engines that report when they need maintenance, the notion of the “maintenance schedule” goes out the window. And whither jet engines, so too the human body. Manufacturing, logistics, transportation, healthcare: these are all ripe for the “Solid revolution.” That revolution isn’t just about designing smart stuff, and dumb stuff that can be built with smart tools, it’s about designing software and systems above the level of a single device, software that completely transforms industries. This is a time for the most prodigious feats of imagination, applying hardware, software, big data, sociology, and creativity to redesign processes and institutions, not just things.
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