Tim O'Reilly

Is Silicon Valley Underestimating IoT? | Venture Beat

Nest Thermostat
Silicon Valley may be missing the ‘big picture’ on the Internet of Things by focusing on connected gadgets, says tech entrepreneur Tim O’Reilly.

In-brief: Tech visionary Tim O’Reilly says that Silicon Valley’s focused on connected gadgets may be underestimating the real, transformative potential of the Internet of Things. 

Venture Beat’s Chris O’Brien has a fascinating interview with publisher and tech visionary Tim O’Reilly about the Internet of Things. Specifically: about how Silicon Valley may be missing the IoT forest for the trees.

Tim O'Reilly
O’Reilly says that systemic changes wrought by the Internet of Things will have far more impact than merely connected devices.

O’Reilly tells O’Brien that – while companies in the Valley surely recognize the IoT as a new and disruptive change, they may be more focused on the early symptoms of that change (connected gadgets) rather than the wholesale transformation that it will eventually bring.

From the article:

“Obviously, Silicon Valley is all over this,” O’Reilly said. “But I think they are missing the point. They are creating some gadgets, but they aren’t thinking about systems.”

In other words (my words – to be exact): Nest is a cool IoT product, but the important part of Nest isn’t the device (which is cool and new, in its way) it is the transformation that will be wrought once people have realtime data about their environment – and the means to manage it more efficiently.

“Rather than talk about a smart watch that monitors fitness and activity, O’Reilly wants people thinking about how to disrupt the entire health care system. How can health care be reimagined if people’s health information is not only monitored, but immediately shared with doctors and nurses? Can each health care provider serve 10 times, or 100 times, as many people, and improve the quality of care while sharply reducing the cost?”

Or, to use another example from the story: O’Reilly argues that Uber’s transformative feature isn’t turning anyone into an independent cab driver. Rather, it is the notion that financial transactions can be tied to the completion of a service in 3D space (transporting someone from point A to point B), and then conducted transparently upon completion of that service.

Imagining such a system ported to a retail environment, such that shoppers could simply walk into a store and walk out with products, with the transaction happening invisibly in the background, provides a sense of how transformative IoT technology – remote sensors that provides spatial and temporal awareness, cloud based applications and intelligence – will be.

Read more: Tim O’Reilly: Silicon Valley is massively underestimating the impact of IoT (interview) | VentureBeat | Gadgets | by Chris O’Brien.

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