It seems that everyday some company or other is trying to stamp its mark on the market with a new Internet of ‘something’. A few years ago Cisco came up with the idea of the Internet of Everything and has done a great job of getting the concept into common parlance. Now Ericsson has casually tossed out another one, almost as if it were already an established concept.
A recent Ericsson press release touted the company’s latest research initiative in 5G air interface technology as being of particular importance to the Internet of Things, saying it would “address IoT and Internet of Skills applications, as well as responding to the smartphone proliferation.”
Not having previously encountered this particular Internet I was curious as to its origins and meaning. Surprisingly, its casual use by a major multinational belies its lack of credentials. A Google search yielded only 52 hits, almost half of which could be traced back to the aforementioned Ericsson press release. Many of the others came from this 2013 blog post from blogger Filippa Malmegård who describes herself as “I love D.I.Y, UX (User experience), online retail & tech. I’m intrigued by the interface between these fields, all relying on creative edge & influx of new ideas.”
Reporting a TED talk about “Interspecies Internet” she said: “All of this talk on connecting people, things and now animals makes me even more keen to develop my own ideas on creating The Internet of Skills by creating a network of networks in creating a shared online platform to which I’d like to stream or feed skills shared from Makerspaces, hackspaces and fab labs around the world. … Creating connectivity and an interface between these spaces, is an idea that really excites me. Connecting them via say, hashtagged tutorials, would enable creating an Internet of skills, something that could prove an empowering knowledge network, a renewable energy source, fuelled by brainpower and with enough for everyone to come by…”
How about an Internet of Species?
Interspecies Internet, Malmegård says, is “How new technology enables us to unlock the enigmatic intelligence so widely recognised yet so poorly understood among animals like dolphins, apes and elephants etc.”
It is definitely a useful concept. Some creatures are well known to display behavioural changes that presage earthquakes earlier than seismologists are able to. It’s been suggested that some kind of tracking of animal populations could identify such behaviours.
But back to the Internet of Skills. Malmegård continues: “Pairing The Internet of Skills with future associative Googling would create a seamless, exploratory knowledge network in which curiosity could thrive (without the stumbling over the rather messy knowledge market place in Google or YouTube search.”
About all I can gather from this is that an Internet of Skills would be a more structured means of gaining and sharing information around particular specialisations than is presently available from Internet searching.
I’m not sure that this is valid as a general concept. Those with a shared interest in any specialisation are already quite adept at using the Internet to communicate and share information and I don’t see a need for new technologies in communications networks specifically to facilitate their interactions.
However I will be interested to see if Ericsson’s casual reference to the ‘Internet of Skills’ is the forerunner of an in-depth exploration and the promotion of yet another Internet of…