I wrote this post several years ago. By writing it I was trying to get people to begin to think about how the size of the IPv6 address space, when combined with RFID technologies, was going to change everything about how they manage their lives. I wrote this way before NetFlix began streaming content, before Amazon’s Kindle and before the iPad. When I recently re-read the post I laughed at how so much of what I wrote was already possible or being done in a completely new and innovative way (e.g. better than I had foreseen). The sum total of innovation made by forward-thinking individuals continues to take the capacity of technology to places we seldom imagine. Things once thought laughable and impossible become reality in short order. So I present the blog post below as a still relevant reflection on where I saw (and still see) things heading. And here it is:
In the world I see my toaster will have an IPv6 address. So will my alarm clock, my washer and dryer, my dishwasher, my oven, my microwave, my home theater components, my remote controls, my light switches, my sprinkler system, my garage doors, my ceiling fans, my garbage disposal, my keg-erator, my hot water heater, my air conditioner, my water purifier and my refrigerator.
I know. Many of these devices already have IPv6 addresses. But I see a world beyond that. In the world I see the books in my library will have IPv6 addresses (if paper books are still printed, that is). They will be in my entertainment database and I can query a myriad of information about them. My system will look them up on-line and return an author bio, related materials, suggested readings, blog posts about the book and other such information. In the world I see all I need to do is buy the book and bring it home. When I come in the door it will be automatically detected and added to a pending queue in my database. Once approved it will become part of my collection. It’s location will be monitored in my home. If I misplace it I will be able to use my wireless location system to find its exact location (was it in the upstairs or downstairs bathroom?). The current induced into the book by my RFID system will reveal all to me.
My car keys will never be lost in the house again. Neither will my TV remote control. Nor my cell phone or my wrist watch. Their location will be tracked. RFID. The IPv6 address of my keys will be different than those of my wife. I won’t find her keys. I will find mine.
In the world I see the milk in my fridge will have an IPv6 address. So will the bread on my counter and the box of Triscuits in my pantry (Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil are the best). The Earl Grey tea (Picard) in my cupboard will have an IPv6 address and so will each individually labeled packet it contains. The cinnamon, taragon, red peppers, basil and oregano won’t be left out. Those jars will also be IPv6 enabled. When I buy these products and bring them home they will be automatically added to my kitchen database. When they are used and disposed of they will be automatically removed. As they approach their last day of freshness I will receive an informational warning on my refrigerator display as well on the main page of my home management system. If I choose I will also receive an email alert. Perhaps I will choose to have a periodic message played over my home sound system. So many choices. When they exceed their expiration date I will receive an email notification telling me of their demise. This includes my bananas, my apples and my pears. That little sticker on each piece of fruit …that’s got an IPv6 address that is read via RFID. Nothing will expire without my being warned. “Waste is a thief!” When is the Ben & Jerry’s I bought going to get freezer burned? I don’t know. Buy my kitchen does. She will tell me.
In the world I see the IPv6 address on my milk carton is only the beginning. I will not only know the expiration date of the milk but I will also know whether it is skim, 1%, 2% or whole. I will know the brand, the nutritional information and I will know how much milk is left in the container. I will be able to query this from work and know if a fresh glass is waiting for me upon my return. This is also true of tonight’s dinner. I’m feeling like breakfast for dinner. In the world I see I will be able to query my kitchen to verify the necessary ingredients are available to make waffles, sausage (patties, not links), bacon, scrambled eggs, english muffins, orange juice (I’ll need two glasses, please), coffee and fresh strawberry’s. If an any ingredients are missing I will be notified and an order for the missing components of tonight’s dinner will be submitted to my favorite grocery store. The order will be pulled, paid for with my credit card linked account and waiting for me to pick up on my way home. Or maybe I will have it delivered. After dinner is done I will be able to store my leftovers in a programmable plastic container (patented burp!) indicating the contents, the date/time of storage and any other information I choose. No longer will I find moldy surprises at the back of the fridge. Carpe leftovers!
In the world I see my car will have an IPv6 address. Many of them, actually. After verifying that the doors are locked I will be able to start my car from my iPhone while shaving in my bathroom. The songs I downloaded last night to my home music library will be automatically synced to my car or, if I choose, my car will be connected via VPN to my home and will stream the content directly from my home library. This will be true no matter where I drive. My 200 terabyte movie library will be available to my daughter as we drive to visit grandma and grandpa. She will enjoy the latest high-definition episodes of Sesame Street or Max & Ruby. Or perhaps we will just talk to each other as we drive. Technology, after all, isn’t a babysitter. And of course, the oil filter will be IPv6 enabled, as will the other filters in the car. We shouldn’t forget the windshield washer fluid level nor the ability to synchronize my current mileage with the manufacturers recommended maintenance. It’s all there. Maintenance history, fuel economy, and tire wear …it’s all automatically recorded for me. Seeing a used car for sale with all the maintenance history will be the norm, not the exception.
In the world I see the air filters installed in my HVAC system will be changed regularly. I won’t forget about them any more. Their installation date is automatically recorded in my home management system (HMS) and I am notified when it is time to change them. If my supply of filters is running low I can configure my HMS to automatically order replacements. I need only accept them from the delivery driver, not even needing to know that they were ordered until they arrive. Or, if I don’t trust my system that much, I can approve the order before it goes out. My choice.
In the world I see the efficiency of my AC unit will be monitored. As the efficiency drops because the system gets dirty, I will be notified. A service call be scheduled and paid for with the click of a button. As I come to trust her judgment I will let her (my HMS, that is) make the appointment for me automatically. I’ll know the work was done well because my system will report efficiency improvements to me. I’ll have evidence to support complaints of sub-par work. I will also be able to query the amount of hot water available in my hot water heater. I will be able to compile reports on hot water usage by user and/or faucet to determine who is consuming the greatest quantities. If my son is taking 40 minutes showers while I’m at work, I’ll need to explain him that it costs money to make water hot. If necessary, excessive use of hot water can be automatically deducted from his allowance (which is automatically deposited into his bank account, of course). This is also true of his propensity to stand in front of the open fridge, staring aimlessly at the food. Does he feel that cold air falling on his feet? It’s not cold air, actually. It’s nickels and dimes. Excessive use results in automated allowance deductions. But I don’t have to catch him doing it. My kitchen monitors when he opens the fridge, how long it stays open and what he takes out. I think it will be called a KIDS, a Kid Idiocy Detection System (or maybe it’s Kid Idiocy Prevention System, a KIPS). Did I mention that we all have RFID chips embedded under our skin?
In the world I see my liquor cabinet is also safe from my teenage daughter and her boyfriend. When I’m not home my HMS is configured to monitor when a bottle is moved or the amount in a bottle changes. Each bottle, like the milk in the fridge, comes with an IPv6 address. If a bottle is moved I am immediately sent an email and a text message. The cameras in my home security system also begin to automatically record the culprit.
In the world I see virtually everything will have an IPv6 address. IPv6 plus RFID will connect my home in ways I could not comprehend a few short years ago. Unlike some I welcome the time when this is true. Some people, those not like me, are horrified by the idea. We will probably never agree on things such as this. The gap is too wide between us. Why am I so happy to have a world like this? Simple:
1. I love technology (but not as much as you, ya’ see. But I still love technology …always and forever …always and forever).
2. This much technology so deeply integrated into our lives will require a MASSIVE amount of informaiton networking and inforamtion security. And that’s what I do. This means I will ALWAYS have a job. …I guess you database types will be doing OK, too.
3. Did I mention that I love technolgy? I’m excited to see where we can go with this.
Other people are thinking about this. IPv6 is the enabler. The faster we move toward it, the faster the world I see will become a reality. Check out what RFID is doing, too.