13 October 2014

Software Defined - Agriculture

Already today we're witnessing several cases where drones and filed robots are adopted in agriculture, just like another "tool". In the future, robots and drone will look like SDN nodes or even better like any other low cost Consumer electronic devices. In fact, the availability of cheap and easy to use robots and drones is largely due to the remarkable advances in technology: tiny sensors (accelerometers, gyros, magnetometers, and often pressure sensors), small GPS modules, powerful processors, radio communications.

These devices will transform in an unprecedented way the job and working skills, introducing changes that we haven't witnessed since the Agrarian era: agriculture will be transformed to robot-intensive, data-driven process optimizing the use of resources like water while reducing the pesticides needed so for a given effort, there will be a significant increase in the output using fewer resources.

My take is that tomorrow, drones and robots (made more intelligent and controlled through the network OS) will provide farmers with a lot of customised services, e.g. detailed views revealing patterns from irrigation problems to soil variation, pest and fungal infestations, differences between healthy and distressed plants. And this at any time the farmer may want, even every hour.

These changes will be complemented with other changes that will eventually transform a muddy, low-skilled profession to a high-tech research-lab level activity. Again the agricultural production and distribution processes will be mapped in huge data sets, employing big data analytics to make optimal decisions, to save time, resources and money. And the environment will be less-polluted. 

Fragmentation and lack of collaboration between Communities and Research Groups (e.g., IT/Cloud Experts, Network Engineers, Robotics Experts, etc) is delaying this unavoidable transformation, which will be beneficial for the Digital Society and Economy. Let's join effort around this vision ! 

11 October 2014

5G will be embodied into the reality

Shannon performed an inestimable service by giving us a definition of Information and a metric for Information as communicated from place to place. We have no theory however that gives us a metric for the Information embodied in structure...” This is what Frederick Brooks wrote here “The Great Challenges for Half Century Old Computer Science”. 

This is a challenge which we still have today: the need of going beyond the traditional definition of information theory, which considers information in terms of exchanges of messages between end-points. Technology advances call for looking at new questions like, how information is embodied in the structure of the reality? In fact, when imagining the future of the environment around us, anywhere (at home, in the working areas, on the move...), we can easily foresee ultra-dense embedded processing, storage and communications resource; so we need looking at a new definition of embodied information, maybe more related to the cognition processes. Amazingly, this is how the brain-mind operates: neurons and their interconnections (the synapses) can store and process information in the same location !

So technology advances will bring in the long term to a new definition of networks beyond the client-server model and the paradigm of connecting end-points: the network become the "Nervous System" of the Digital Society and Digital Economy.

In fact, the number of terminals, devices, machines, smart things, cars connected to the Telecommunication networks is growing exponentially, and the so-called «machine intelligence» (e.g., computerization, automation, robotics, self-*) is entering already in the life-cycles of industries, agriculture, smart cities and eventually public institutions.

Advances and diffusion of ultra-broadband and Information Technologies (IT), tumbling hardware costs and availability of open source software are creating the conditions for a change of paradigm in designing and operating Telecommunications networks and services. 

In this sense, I think that 5G  (which is not just one step beyond 4G) will be the main “collector” of the Cloud/SDN/NFV waves of innovation, bringing such disruptions to maturation and socio-economic impact. Literally, the 5G will morph the space-time dimensions of the Digital Society and Economy...optimising processes, just like in Nature. IT will be the new tool. And this will determine a new economic growth more inclusive and sustainable.