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The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things

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Internet and Big DataA recent Economist blog post entitled, “Google and Android: They have a plan” compelled me to add it as a bookmark, so that at some point in the future, I can compare the status of Google’s advancement on tracking Internet-connected devices and website content, otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IOT) coined by Kevin Ashton. In addition to the statistics Google unveiled at its recent Android developer conference, here are a few more telling facts from the Economist that shed light on our personal connection to big data:

  • One billion people worldwide now own an Android device
  • Android users send approximately 20 billion text messages a day
  • Users take 93 million “selfie” pictures a day

More importantly, for developers, are the innovative upgrades and additions to the Android operating system that will be rolled out over the next year. Android L offers greater synchronization across multiple devices while Android Wear focuses on wearable computing devices such as smart watches. Android One provides a more efficient system for developing countries’ smartphones and Android Auto delivers seamless connection of the Internet and email to your car’s computer system.

Android TV is another future system that can be bundled with new smart televisions that will enable users to stream music and videos from their smartphones and tablets to TVs. Google recently purchased NEST, a manufacturer of smart thermostats connected to the Internet. Shortly after that purchase, NEST acquired Dropcam, a manufacturer of Wi-Fi enabled security cameras that work in the home. Both of these acquisitions are purported to be the foundation for a home operating system that will provide residents with lower energy costs and better home security—not to mention additional data for Google to learn about the daily habits of families.

My recent book review of The Second Machine Age cited a fact that global computing power will double over the next 24 months, but will increase 1,000 times over the next 24 years. Smart devices such as thermostats, security cameras, smartphones, tablets, cars, and fitness monitors are generating data that wasn’t available just a few years ago. Harnessing that data for improvements in quality of life, product innovation, or understanding people’s lifestyles and habits will require additional computational power as well as analytical tools and analysts to evaluate the data. More and more, it will be difficult to “drop off the grid” as some people do now to avoid having anyone track their location and activities. For better or worse, the era of the Internet of Things is here and we should be prepared for how it may change our lives professionally and personally.

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Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston continues to serve as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and as a member of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

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