We need more student Dr Evils to succeed in the Internet of Things

Who could fail to be excited by commanding an army of machines

I hate to give away my age, but when I was young the argument for learning computer programming was that you could ‘organise your record collection’.

There’s something for everyone to mock in that phrase. Firstly, we should never trust anyone who collates enjoyment. Secondly, the fact that I’m old enough to remember vinyl records might amuse younger readers.

Back then the obsessives, who wrote programmes in Basic in order to categorise their singles and albums, should have been stifled. But they were allowed to multiply, like Japanese knotweed, and now they choke the enjoyment from any event, in their desperation to film everything. Holding their smart phones and iPads aloft, they’ll block the view of the cup final, your daughter’s school play and a road accident on the M1. All in the name of capturing content, which they can categorise later.

Nick-Booth-v1One of my regrets is not learning enough languages. Both forms of communication, that is, human and computer. Now that machines are all busily talking to each other, we language laggards could become marginalised.

Over the decades, a variety of governments, training boards and IT companies have attempted to address this. But their half hearted advice, exhorting us all to ‘get into computer programming’ have never really inspired many people. They make the careers sound so dreary. Who wants to become a half-man half desk creature, imprisoned in a windowless office, performing disembodied tasks?

The agencies that market IT training have no empathy for technology careers. Oh yes, they’ll take the money, but I don’t think they understand the brief. Instead of describing the endless creative potential of IT, they sell the promise of a steady job in banking. So millions pass up on the chance to create music, write games and invent things because the educators couldn’t sell the idea.

I don’t know about you, but the words programming, development and coding don’t exactly stiffen the sinews and summon the blood. But we desperately need someone to help us popularise M2M programming.

Maybe we should look to the film industry for inspiration.

I was hoping that the Alan Turing bio-pic, The Imitation Game, would be a good start. What could be more inspiring than a man who won a war by inventing a computer, cracking the enemy code and inspiring an entire industry? Surely that story would incite the nation’s youth to take up IT.

Or so I thought, until I saw the film. The poor man was bullied at school for being a swot. Then, despite saving hundreds of thousands of lives and shortening World War II, he was brutally oppressed by the country he saved. To make matters worse, the script implied he knowingly worked alongside a Russian Spy who was leaking secrets – a story line with no absolutely factual basis. Even in death, the film makers took liberties with Britain’s greatest ever computer pioneer. “If that’s coders get treated,” students will think, “I’m out.”

Personally, I think Dr Evil from the Austin Powers films is a more positive role model for the Internet of Things. Like his predecessor, Dr No (from the Bond films) he has a genius for creating automated killing machines.

OK, so they’re both baddies, but boy, do they know how to command an army of machines? Who could fail to be inspired by a man who creates a radio beam weapon that brings down a space launch? Watching those scenes makes me want to create my own M2M weapon system (I’m planning to automate an army or mirrors, that could all direct sunlight onto a single point, so that I could fry Motorway Accident Rubber Neckers like ants under a magnifying glass).

Progress Software claims its new Rollbase System helps anyone learn how to command machines. I’m intending to review whether this is true. If you read any stories about Fry Ups on the M1, you’ll know the Progress could be onto something.


9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, iot home automation is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

IoT set to overtake cloud computing as primary Industry 4.0 technology, Inmarsat research reveals

Posted on: October 14, 2021

New research by Inmarsat, the provider of global mobile satellite communications, reveals that investment in the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to overtake cloud computing, next generation security, big data analytics and other digital transformation technologies in the near future.

Read more

IDTechEx looks at the setbacks and explores how to move forward

Posted on: October 14, 2021

Bill Gates backed a Belmont smart city in the Arizona desert little has happened beyond a land purchase. Authorities demand that the Colorado river’s diminishing water supply is unharmed. Arizona suffers historic water shortage. The Southwest and much of the West is suffering from an intense 22-year drought, resulting in increasingly low water levels, dry

Read more