Software Above the Level of a Single Device: The Implications by Tim O’Reilly

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When considering "the Internet of Things," it's easy to miss the bigger pattern: we are no longer just building software for individual devices, but creating networks of intelligence and action that make it possible to completely rethink how we organize work, play, and society itself. This report provides the complete text of Tim O'Reilly's insightful talk on the subject at the 2014 Solid Conference. In one striking example, O'Reilly cites Uber, the app-based taxi service that Aaron Levie of called "a $3.5 billion lesson in building for how the world should work instead of optimizing for how the world does work." Once cab drivers and potential passengers had devices reporting their location in real time, it became possible to rethink urban transportation. Similarly, O'Reilly notes, when GE designs jet engines that report when they need maintenance, the notion of the "maintenance schedule" goes out the window. Manufacturing, logistics, transportation, healthcare are all ripe for the "Solid revolution." That revolution isn't just about designing smart stuff, and dumb stuff that can be built with smart tools, it's about designing software and systems above the level of a single device, software that completely transforms industries. Download this report and learn why it's time for the most prodigious feats of imagination—applying hardware, software, big data, sociology, and creativity to redesign processes and institutions, not just things.


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