When I was a young engineering student at Brigham Young University, I had a physics professor who loved to promote what he called the “Zen of Physics.” As I recall, he proposed that if we studied the right way and meditated the right way on the virtues of physics, we would reach a state of enlightenment about his beloved area of scientific thought.
As an engineering student more interested in practical application than theoretical science, I never did reach the level of enlightenment he hoped for, although I do remember some exciting concepts related to black holes and liquid nitrogen.
This last week, as I was pondering the merits of the Internet of Things, I had a Zen-like moment, an epiphany or moment of enlightenment of sorts, as I was mowing the lawn, of all things.
My thought at that moment? The real value of the Internet of Things will become apparent when we find that this technology becomes woven seamlessly and invisibly into “The Fabric of our Lives.”
“The Fabric of our Lives” is actually a trademark of the Cotton Industry, so I can’t claim originality, but I think the concept is interesting. When we come to realize that technology fits us as naturally and comfortably as a favorite old cotton shirt, we tend to forget about the technology itself, but enjoy the benefits of what has slowly become an integral part of ordinary living – woven into the fabric of every day life.
When I had my little epiphany last Saturday, I had forgotten my post from April 1, 2013, entitled, “IoT – Emerging and Receding Invisibly into the Fabric of Life.” What my Zen moment added is the idea that real value to us as humans is realized not when the first flashy headlines appear, but when the technology recedes quietly into the everyday fabric of our lives.
When I think of technology that has emerged since my childhood and then proceeded to become commonplace, I am amazed: microwave ovens, digital cameras, color television, satellite communications, cable/satellite TV, personal computers, the Internet, social media, smart phones and much more. Each one of these progressed from being novelties or the stuff of techno-geeks to becoming mainstream threads in the everyday fabric of life.
So it will be with IoT. We talk a lot about it now. We techno-geeks revel in the audacious beautify of it all. Just about every publication in the world has something to say about it. But as first a handful, and then many, of the devices and concepts become commonly accepted, they too will become invisible, but highly valuable threads woven ubiquitously into “The Fabric of our Lives.”