[Contributor] Connecting the Internet of Things

Alexander Gault_Contibutor_Photo

Contributor – Alexander Gault
Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexanderBGault

It’s no surprise as time marches forward and technology does the same, that the infrastructure which supports that technology reaches its carrying capacity. This became apparent, on an Internet level, in the 1990s, with the creation of IPv6. It was discovered that any future Internet-based growth would need support from an expansion of capacity now.

Technology has a tendency to advance at a rate far faster than most people expect.

The result of this is the terrible tendency for technology to rub up against the cap of its basic supporting structures, resulting in a stagnation of growth that can be difficult to remedy. Only a constant forward-thinking ecosystem of developers, companies, and providers can generate the environment necessary for uninhibited technological growth.

The coming Internet of Things, where any one house may have hundreds of connected items, all relying on that houses Internet connection to operate as expected, will require a drastic change in the capacity of Wi-Fi or wired routers and the connections that link those routers and modems out to the rest of the Internet.

While there is no recognized limit to the number of devices that can connect to any one Wi-Fi hotspot, there may soon be a limit on how much one can use their Internet connection.

It’s no secret that the big cable corporations of the United States, and perhaps the rest of the 1st world, all have one thing in common.

They’re terrible.

They charge too much for subpar service, they never send service people out when they say they will, and they throttle your internet connection down when you use it too much. Of course, those same companies are looking for other ways to protect their profit margins, especially with the entrance of Google Fiber to the scene. This new Google service provides fairly inexpensive fiber-optic Internet to its available neighborhoods, and for those who can’t afford or don’t need those speeds, Fiber offers a free standard-speed connection, with only a construction fee of $300.

Cable companies have been buying out areas where the only connections available are DSL and their own services, and working to box the companies we thought were the future of Internet connections (Verizon and AT&T with their respective fiber-optic networks) out of future expansion. Now, Frontier owns a chunk of Verizon’s previous FiOS and copper networks.

The second phase of cable’s limiting of fiber optic systems in the United States is their introduction of usage-based billing.

That’s right, your home Internet connection may become just as limited as your mobile Internet connection.

Cable companies hope to achieve a one-two punch on the expansion of the Internet infrastructure, by limiting most Americans to their services and then to limit those people again to metering out their Internet connections to avoid overage fees. After the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality (where one connection cannot be favored over another one based on subscription level), the cable companies are searching for another way to reap as much as they can from their Internet subscribers.

Now, while this may all seem like a non-issue right now, as most people only have and need a standard Internet connection, this will not always be true. In the near future, the number of Internet-connected devices in an average home may double or even triple, and the data they send through that home’s Internet connection will become more and more specific and data-heavy.

Imagine if your fridge were to send you your grocery list every week, complete with images and amounts, and even nutrition information. The data for that message alone could equal one hour browsing the web. Combine that with your stove sending you minute-by-minute updates on the status of your soufflé, your car notifying you that its rear passenger side tire is leaking air, and your spouse and kids streaming their respective entertainment, a usage-billed, standard speed Internet connection would be like plumbing a whole modern city with one Roman aqueduct.

Simply not up to the task.

For the Internet of Things to be an attainable reality in the near future, things like usage-based Internet billing, copper-cable based infrastructure, and boxing-in of consumers between two sub-par methods of connection, must be avoided at all costs.

HSCT #Communication Blog Contributor, Alexander Gault-Plate is an aspiring journalist and writer, currently in the 12th grade. He has worked with his schools newspapers and maintained a blog for his previous school. In the future, he hopes to write for a new-media news company.

You can follow Alexander on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AlexanderBGault

Big Data, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Federal Data Gathering Centers

Ain’t gonna need to tell the truth. Tell no lie. Everything you think, do and say is in the pill you took today.”–Zager and Evans

There is a direct line between the rise of GMO’s, the enthusiasm with which “Big Data” is being adopted, the coming of Google glasses and other wearables, the prevalence of Federal Government “data centers” (7,000 at last count) and the ubiquitousness of cameras on stoplights, street corners, and in city parks.
This line overlaps with mobile device tracking, police and the NSA monitoring your cell phone calls and Internet searches, and the coming of “the Internet of Everything.”
This line is followed ever so casually, by the prevalence of laws and policies designed to provide a benefit (i.e. the Affordable Health Care Act, among others), but that tangentially allow larger and larger private and public bureaucracies to burrow deeper and deeper into personal behavior choices that we make on an individual and societal basis.
The intersections all meet at a point of behavior monitoring, or “nudging,” of private individuals into buying acceptable products, acting in acceptable ways and making sure that everybody else does the same.
In the arena of conflict resolution and peace building, we here at HSCT find the idea of behavior management or behavior monitoring by large, faceless, entities to be–well, “creepy” (as the kids are wont to say as they Tweet out every instance of their lives looking for connections)–and authoritarian.
Dare we say, all of this progress smacks of Orwellianism.
Now, before we are accused of wearing tinfoil hats and searching the skies for black helicopters, we have an “early adopter” curve for you to make our next point.

Now, early adopters are the people who will buy the I-phone when it’s brand new and will probably buy the first pair of Google glasses at $200 a piece.Your folks in the middle–the early and late majority– are most of us.  They will buy a smart phone from Wal-mart two years from now and only because their friends all have one, so “why not?”

Your third group is at the end of the curve. The laggards are the people we all know who still have VCR’s and will never buy Google Glasses because they’re either paranoid about Big Brother, or they just don’t care.

The anti-GMO people…
The anti-CCTV camera people…
The guy who drives around town distributing a mimeographed, weekly paper, out of the back of his car which is full of garbage and may or may not have an animal in the back.
These are your laggards.
Moreover, it is the behavior, choices and conflicts that this group of people present, that confounds, distorts and affects bureaucratic “thinking” and policymaking, and leads to more and more talk of “the Internet of Everything.”
Now, mugging people of their autonomy, independence and free will and limiting choices, stands in opposition to peace, in our opinion.
The right NOT to participate is the most sacred right in the Constitution.
This sacred right, to go off on one’s own, creates conflicts with other individuals and societies.
However, peace is NOT the absence of conflict.
The false promise of all of these technologies is that by everyone, everywhere, at all time, having their behavior, choices, ideas, attitudes, conversations and thoughts, confirmed, conformed, reformed, and reconstituted, for the benefit of the lowest bidder; that somehow, that act of “tamping down” the unruly nails, will ultimately lead to some sort of man made Utopia.
That is NOT peace.
That is TYRANNY.
Let us all become vigilant watchmen on the walls for peace.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
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