Collaboration in the New Age of Convergence

I was in the grocery store when I realized that something new was going on: our entrance into the era of computing that I call convergence — the convergence of man and machine – is already changing the face of collaboration.DiM_Carlos_Blog_3_c#4AD694012

In the recent past, collaboration did a great job of connecting people to people through video, voice and the virtual workspace, which improved productivity and the intimacy of connection.  A video chat, whether for business or pleasure, communicates more than a simple phone call.  Add a collective workspace and you’re off like a rocket. In this collaboration between people, the technology served as a conduit.

But now I’m sensing the beginning of something different: collaborating with the machine itself. Here’s an example: I’m pretty focused on maintaining my health and my weight so when I go to the grocery store, I have a health app that’s connected to my online health profile and running with augmented reality.  When I show my phone my choice of broccoli, it votes thumbs up; when I grab my favorite cookies, it displays the calories and cholesterol they will add to my daily intake, notes that it’s contrary to medication I’m on, and advises me against it.  (Of course when I get to the beer aisle, I over-ride its displeasure: this is collaborative, after all, not dictatorial!)

On a larger scale, connected cities are starting to be dotted with street lamps that turn on as you approach; location-based marketing campaigns are delivering coupons to our phones as we near the store; semi-autonomous cars will soon communicate with the street lights and cars around us for collision avoidance while we steer.

If you use the music service Pandora, trying to vote thumbs/thumbs down to get it deliver just the right mix for you (Jazz, not schmaltz, Monk but no covers) it starts to almost feel like a negotiation with the Music Genome database.   And when makes suggestions for an account used by the whole family, which invariably is a wild hodge-podge of tastes (Die Hard, Howard’s End, and Jackass 2 for instance), it sheds a light on your family that you may not have seen otherwise.

And of course telekinetically controlled wheelchairs and limbs are perhaps as tightly collaborative with a machine as one can get.

It’s not an over-estimation to predict that Google Glasses and other types of wearable computing platforms are dramatically changing collaboration.  When you can call up maps and plot routes, ask your glasses to pronounce a word in a foreign language, initiate a connection to someone across the world to join you virtually as you fly down a roller-coaster actually, we’ll be collaborating with each other and with machines on the Internet of Everything and we are all in for a wild ride.  I can’t wait!

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  1. Hi. Let help me

  2. I hope we don’t come like robcop and and terminator and i hop machines or computers won’t destroy us at alle

  3. fun! PKI is a whole lotta rosey as well!

  4. I’m dissppointed with this article. This is nothing amazing. Honest to goodness there will not be a large market for the unfashionable item called Google Glass. What would be amazing is Google contacts. Also, there is a huge paradigm shift towards the cloud. From a consumer standpoint if this shift included a higher bandwidth and then all would be well with the world. Believe it or not a a high speed connection that is available everywhere has not yet happened. Where is the 4G all the time and anywhere we go?

    It seems that Cisco, other companies, and the general media are impressed with ideas that are just run-of-the-mill. If your ideas of human convergence are algorithms that communicate with each other to tell you that broccoli is good for you or a that a music program that makes suggestions because it has been collecting personal data by way of choices you and other consumers have made in the past then maybe you need to read some Ray Kurzweil.

  5. Big Data driving personalization, devices allowing rendering and tied to two-way communication platforms, an architecture and standards designed to pull and push bundled content with relevance matching through content producers out to communities of collaboration or individuals in need, and intelligence gathering on profiles to build value. A mouthful if I’ve ever heard it and once the security aspects are dealt with and resolved – this will be a very exciting world indeed.

  6. Great timing! I was just completing a presentation for our next Boston/New England IoT Meetup on the subject of the IoT’s human communications implications, and I had just added “collaborate” as one of the critical words that we will have to always focus on to capitalize on the IoT. IMHO, there will be a virtuous circle that will link machines and all of us: each thing, each person will be a node and, for the first time, we’ll be able to share the data from those things on a REAL-TIME basis: that will have major implications for how we manage companies and their relationships with suppliers, distribution channels, and customers. I can hardly wait!

  7. Yes, I love the possibilities of tech working for us, years ago we started development in this field of me to machine.
    We now control most of our company products we design and sell with our smartphones.
    Grocery store, piece of cake, were throwing the farm at it. Funny thing is we aren’t using intetnet. Eric