Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Zero Marginal Cost Society, joined BK Yoon, President of Samsung Electronics, on stage during Mr. Yoon’s opening keynote address on the future of the Internet of Things at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Mr. Rifkin described how the Internet of Things digital revolution transforms consumer electronics into “prosumer electronics,” allowing billions of people to actively produce, consume, and share economic and social activity with one another via their connected devices.
Mr. Rifkin observed that “every great economic paradigm shift in history brings together three new technologies in a seamless new infrastructure that changes the way we organize our economic life: new communication technologies to more efficiently manage economic activity; new sources of energy to more efficiently power economic activity; and new modes of transportation to more efficiently move economic activity.”
“Today,” said Mr. Rifkin, “we are embarking on a Third Industrial Revolution. The communication Internet is converging with a nascent renewable Energy Internet, and a fledgling Transportation and Logistics Internet, to create a super-Internet of Things.”
In the Internet of Things era, sensors will be embedded into every device and appliance, allowing them to communicate with each other and Internet users, creating an intelligent technology infrastructure for a smart world.
Mr. Rifkin pointed out that “homeowners and businesses will be able to produce and consume their own solar and wind green electricity and store and sell any surplus electricity back to the electricity grid.”
Mr. Rifkin went on to explain how “the automated Transportation and Logistics Internet will ease mobility by allowing people to use their mobile devices to share electric and fuel cell vehicles, monitor traffic flows, and, in the near future, enjoy driverless transportation on smart roads.”
This new era of super-connectivity will allow us to effortlessly manage our devices and appliances with solutions that will increase efficiencies and dramatically reduce the fixed and marginal costs of operating our homes, businesses, and vehicles.
According to Mr. Rifkin, “the Internet of Things platform will enhance virtually every aspect of our lives, from monitoring our health to improving our athletic skills, marking a vast improvement in our quality of life.”
“Most importantly,” said Mr. Rifkin, “the Internet of Things will also enable each of us to minimize our use of the Earth’s energy and material resources and usher in a more ecologically sustainable society.”
Mr. Rifkin added that “the Internet of Things brings with it new challenges, including the need to maintain an open network, ensure universal access, protect personal privacy, and guarantee data security.”
Finally, Mr. Rifkin concluded with the observation that “the Internet of Things will bring the human race together as a single extended human family for the first time in history… allowing us to share our commercial and social lives in ways never before imaginable.”
“We are,” says Rifkin, “on the cusp of a great economic transformation. The rise of the Internet of Things is going to improve the lives of billions of people and create a more efficient, democratic, and sustainable future.”