Thoughts about technology, venture capital and the economy.
Monday, March 1, 2010
The Internet of Things
The technorati have been talking about the "Internet of Things" for some time, but this week I seem to be reading about it in a few places. First, I received an invitation from the MIT/Stanford VLAB http://www.vlab.org/ to their panel on "The Internet of Things: Sensors Everywhere." Then I read McKinsey Quarterly's piece on the same topic: http://tinyurl.com/y9228ep
What is the Internet of Things? Sensors are being deployed for all kinds of reasons. RFID is meant to help manage the supply chain. Oil companies are deploying sensors for tank farm monitoring. Small cameras that are approximately the size of a pill can travel one's digestive tract and pinpoint abnormalities (I saw this in Japan almost five years ago - that is, I saw the camera at rest!). The Internet of Things is going to enable some amazing opportunities i.e., remote health care and some scary ones i.e., insurance companies could monitor how fast you drive daily vs. how many miles you drive per year.
This is an exciting area that will spawn exciting start-up companies. I invested in Apprion www.apprion.com a few years ago because I believed (and still do) that enabling the last part of the organization to become networked (the plant) was a great and potentially very profitable area for investment. The McKinsey article points to this new internet as what enabled Zipcar to lease cars optimally and do away with rental centers. It's an area worth understanding.