October 3rd, 2003

The future of cups and pots


“Smart network or dumb network? Whats your view?” I asked Don Tapscott during lunch yesterday.

“Everything, both device & network, is getting smarter. Some devices will remain dumb however.” replied Don and immediately, I feel embrassed asking such a silly question. “Isn’t it so obvious!” I told myself.

Or is it?No offense to Don…I mean he is a brilliant guy. I love his books and I enjoy his presentations. And if I have anyone I wish to be when I “grow up”, it is probably him.

But I think I am siding with David “Stupid Network” Isenberg on this.

Lets take an analogy: If you tell an RF engineer, say 15 years ago, that you want to put a RF transmitter on every device, what would be his reaction?

Huh? What would you want to do that? Even if you can get it cheap enough and small enough, how you going to get enough power?

Yet, today, we are putting RFID on every thing! It is unimagable not that long ago.

It is also unimagable how we going to put a microprocessor on our teapots and teacups, not to mention why we want to do so. And it is harder to imaging why we need them to connected in some network so they can “talk” to each another. (I definately don’t want them to start a conspiracy to stop serving me tea.)

But I am a firm believer of Moore’s Law and the capability of innovation so I am sure technology will allow my cups and pots to become smart devices.

And while I don’t know why my cups and pots need to be “smart”, I know I don’t want the network to also “act smart” to tell my cups and pots what they can do and what they cannot.

So bottomline, I prefer a dumb network. Scott Bradner would agree with me (as would thousand of other IETFer) .

So anyone going to take a bet with me that CloudShield whose mission is to build “smart” network is going to fly?

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