The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things

For INF530 Concepts and Practices for a Digital Age, Assessment 4, I reviewed a very interesting book The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things by Daniel Kellmereit and Daniel Obodovski (2013).

This is a nice easy read, that give a good solid base level introduction to the concept of The Internet of Things. The book itself is not primarily education focused, but you can apply some of the key points to the education space. Well worth a look at.

The Silent Intelligence The Internet of Things
The Silent Intelligence The Internet of Things











 Scholarly Review

Kellmereit, D. and Obodovski, D., (2013) The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things. DnD Ventures 1st edition, California.

The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things by Daniel Kellmereit and Daniel Obodovski (2013) presents an extensively researched analysis about the Internet of Things (IoT) which primarily was written for businesses looking to leverage on practical lessons and guidance from experts and companies in this field. Through interviews and case studies the readers are presented with both authentic examples and future forecast scenarios of use for both industry and individuals. The key objective of the book is for readers’ awareness to be raised about how connecting the physical world around us to the digital world can result in gains. Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) also shared their own personal views with the reader on how to overcome obstacles with the IoT, which are specifically aimed at business investment and job opportunities.

Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) pose five significant questions about the IoT: What is the Internet of Things? How is it coming about? What are the key trends? What is the potential? What needs to be done? The authors use these questions as a framework to explore the IoT concept. As part of this exploration three key ideas connecting the chapters: data collection; data transport; data analysis, especially around the issues of the role human interaction will play in the rapid expansion of this technology and the management of data produced by the IoT became apparent. These issues and ideas will form the basis to critique the theories developed in this book.

It becomes apparent thanks, to Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013), that the IoT is not a far-fetched vision of a digital utopia with the IoT incorporating machine–to–machine (M2M), machine–to–person (M2P) and  person –to–person (P2) networked technologies. All digital learning technologies currently used in education are part of the IoT, a point many educators may not be aware of yet as the IoT has not been extensively covered in popular media.

In the book there are four identified focal points that the technology industry has created encompassing networked nodes around; connected cities; connected homes; connected health; and connected cars. Connected cities, provide information to town planners for traffic management energy optimization and building automation is collected via sensor and wireless communication data collected. Connected homes are sensing if people are at home and assisting with for energy consumption and making people comfortable and safe. Connected health currently supports people with chronic illnesses and Alzheimer’s by collecting data and location information and providing this to caregivers. Finally connected cars, most cars have ‘drive–by–wire’ implemented. This provides valuable information to service technicians at a service, but also aggregated information can create better fleet management in transport industries. These connected digital technologies are all networked nodes of data collection outlined in this book.

The data is collected via networked nodes, discussed by Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013), and is stored as raw ‘big data’ that can either be used by the original collector or supplied to third parties, provided that the metadata schemas match to will allow simple and effective data mining. The authors believe that this information collection is going to help us all become better citizens and allow us to better manage our facilities, including educational facilities, this is supported by the current project between CISCO and Swinburne University (Johnson, Adams, Estrada, Freeman, 2015).

It is argued in the book that as ‘things’ around us become smarter machines will take over more tasks, the human error rate for activities will fall, for example the research and development Google X project for self-driving cars. However, in education, current technologies are successfully being employed that are filling a niche requirement. Technologies currently being used include radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in an elearning project using RFID tags in a cabinet making workshop (, 2008) and quick reference (QR) codes for map reading in an outdoor education class (Lai, Chang, Wen-Shiane, Fan & Wu, 2013). These project have had to overcome technology hurdles for successful real-world application.

Technology in the past has been problematic, according to Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013), as the uptake has been prohibited by the expense especially specialist scanning hardware. With the arrival of QR codes to the digital landscape and cheap simple smart technology production using, for example, Rasberry Pi (, 2015) and Arduino (, 2015) modules means that there is a change in the landscape. This is fast becoming a core topic in many universities computer science courses such as the Open University’s My Digital Life course (Kortuem, Bandara, Smith, Richards & Petre, 2013). The exponential growth of the IoT and M2M arena is being driven by research projects in both industry and educational institutions.

The IoT according to The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things (2013) is a rapidly expanding dynamic space and one which Moores Law (, 2015) can be applied to technologies involved. With this rapid expansion of the M2M technology the central challenge, according to the authors, is that people do not understand the reference architecture that is required to grasp the potential of the IoT. Peggy Smedly, from connected Worlds M2M, in the book suggested increasing the profile of IoT in the mass consumer marketplace by packaging technology into something that is easy for both companies and consumers to use, so not only offering a complete solution but from known and trusted brands, which directly contradicts Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) focus for technology start-ups who will bring the creative edge to the market rather than staid traditional trusted companies. Once again universities adjusting programs in a responsive manner and supporting students in learning about, engaging with and building IoT technology (Callagaghan, 2013; Kellogg, Parks, Gollakota, Smith & Wetherall, 2014; Zhang, Callaghan, Shen, Davies, 2011) they will support the creative edge needed in this new space that Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) see crucial for success.

A key theme in the book is the phenomenal rate of change that society is experiencing in all aspects of life due to the interconnectivity of smart devices. It is this silent revolution that humanity will not notice due to the pervasiveness of the IoT technology. Everything will become nodes on a network in a world where knowledge is universally accessible (Anderson & Rainie, 2014). Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) alluded to well–defined old problems that the IoT can solve such as increased track ability, increased productivity, improved risk management, reduction in the guess work for planning projects and better connection to our environment. They do point out that the ‘human element’ is a key risk factor, but stop short of a definitive statement regarding issues resulting from the removal of people from the equation in the input of data in the IoT environment.

Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) are quick to point out that the ‘human element’ is important and not superfluous to data analysis especially the interpretation of data and the subsequent recommendations for implementation. Data analysis is seen to be a growth area for companies with networked devices feeding systems that can improve tracking and tracing capabilities, such as the DriveCam example (Lytx, 2015) as discussed in the by Mark Wells interview (Kellmereit & Obodovski, p.93, 2013).

Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) have a positive view of the IoT and handing over data collection, transport and analysis to digital technology. This ideology causes the reader to pause and reflect that our ‘smart devices’ are disrupting and in the very near future, if not already, are going to re-define society’s ways of living, interacting and learning, and consequently, will challenge our belief of what it is to be human (, 2015).

Shared business models and industry standards, according to the book, are currently deficient in the IoT sector. Bill Gates said “In an age of interconnectivity, businesses need an architecture that extends outward to partners and customers. The successful companies select a few standards and enforce them strictly” (Gates & Hemingway, 1999). Setting standards and creating shared business models is an important step for industries to make in the IoT and M2M arena, because viable data linking from a variety of sources will allow the true potential to be discovered. Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) put forward that without industry standards the IoT and M2Ms scale will always be defined by the narrow structures that each individual business use.

With the IoT being a relatively new concept and one which the possible ramifications are not widely understood there are some concerns that Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) raise. One significant controversy outlined are ethical issues around the big data being captured by M2M, M2P and P2P technologies and the sovereignty of the data, especially as not all data retention and access levels are the same and similarly the treatment of data should not be the same. Sovereignty of data will become a crucial issue in years to come as the collection and use of data from sources versus the rights of individuals who are linked to the data will have ongoing ramifications to all industries, including the education sector.

Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) mention very little regarding the responsibility of the carriers around data preservation and sharing, simply that there will be regulatory restrictions in other countries (this book was written and published for the American market). They discuss that data acquisition will be the growth market area for industries to capitalize on; this is a concern as there is little regulation regarding how metadata is managed, retained or shared by companies or countries, as seen in current media about metadata retention in Australia (, 2015). This lack of regulation has ramifications on data collection, transport, storage and analysis.

Data transportation in the digital realm is a concern for all areas of industry as well as the general community. The need to provide secure transport networks, be it via hardwire/cable, cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth or RFID for short range communication which all have unique security protocols around the network to ensure that the data is safe during transport as well as during storage. This book did not provide any key information around this area other than that a company needed to develop a robust M2M policy to ensure that their data would be protected.

It is outlined in the book that business and industry need to optimise the technology architecture, which can be driven by work and research in the education sectors. This book perceives a disconnect between the high-tech community and industry Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013), however with the education sector making strong inroads into this space there will be a reconnection and synergy between these key market players on the IoT space.

Bill Gates once wrote “Business is going to change more in the next ten years than it has in the last fifty” (Gates & Hemingway, 1999) and this is especially true when looking at the IoT technology and the exponential growth that all industries, including education, will experience thanks to the prevalence of the IoT which will form the starting point for the next digital revolution if Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) have it right.

Overall Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) were successful in presenting a book that offered a broad overview of the IoT which then drilled down to specifics related to investment and business strategies. Their discussions around the new changing digital world and the way businesses, including education institutions, must adapt was illustrated by interesting use cases and interviews which met the writers aims set out in their introduction. However, this book only scratches the surface of the IoT and M2M technology and further reading would be necessary for an educator to fully grasp the implications both the IoT and M2M in relation to their current methodologies and technology systems being used. This is a challenging topic and one that Kellmereit and Obodovski (2013) provide a very broad base level introduction to.

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Kellmereit, D. and Obodovski, D. (2013) The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things. DnD Ventures 1st edition, California.

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Lai, H., Chang, C., Wen-Shiane, L., Fan, Y., & Wu, Y. (2013). The implementation of mobile learning in outdoor education: Application of QR codes. Br J Educ Technol, 44(2), E57-E62. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01343.x

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