HuMan & Machine: What is the Industrial Internet?

The industrial internet emerges when physical and digital become connected, ie, physical computing. Its not a new topic, but two new technologies are taking the opportunities to a whole new level.

If you've heard of the "Internet of things," well then Arduino is how you give something the Internet. Say a weight scale, a refrigerator, a sprinkler system, etc. Everything will eventually be connected to the Internet and Arduino will be our glue.”

The first is called Arduino, a prototyping hardware that can sense things in the physical world and then take programmatic actions. If you’ve heard of the “Internet of things,” well then Arduino is how you give something the Internet. Say a weight scale, a refrigerator, a sprinkler system, etc. Everything will eventually be connected to the Internet and Arduino will be our glue. But the reason Arduino is trending is that its an example of “open source” hardware. Think about it, the entire Internet is architected around open source software — its impact is immeasurable. Now the same concept is coming to hardware (free specs and community driven derivative platforms that are also free, except its hardware not software).

The second is 3D printing, ie, the MakerBots. This one is harder to envision, but it will have the biggest impact on business (there I answered the question). When 2D printing first started it was dot martix and black and white only. That’s sorta where we are with 3D printing today. But eventually we’ll get to the stage in 3D that we’re in with in 2D (framed photography level printing).
Imagine an Internet that has the 3D file to a Barbie Doll spec online and you can print it at home in a few hours. Or an Internet that has those files, but then you mod it to have your face or skin color and then print it. In this world — what is the product? The physical object that get’s purchased? The design file that get’s printed? The team that designed the file?


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