Safely Riding the Internet Highway
Editor's note: Here is another excellent white paper from Cees Links, GreenPeak CEO. Enjoy.
Learning how to drive the internet highway on the path to the Smart Home means rules, regulations and laws.
Compared to most of the world’s infrastructure, it is amazing how primitive and lawless the internet really is. Yes, the web is technically sophisticated but when trying to understand how it should be used and how it can benefit our lives, it is still a wild and unruly path, needing a great deal of growth and maturing.
When compared to our highway system – the learned knowledge of how we should travel on the internet highway, relatively, we are still in the horse and buggy days.
The world has experienced motor vehicles for about 100 years – compared to just only 20 years for web travel. It makes sense that highway users are more sophisticated and knowledgeable about how to travel the asphalt and metal highway compared to the digital highways in the cloud.
To be efficient, useful and safe, societies worldwide have developed customs, rules and regulations to ensure that we don’t get run over and injured as we travel from one location to another. It makes sense that the same kinds of rules and customs should apply to traveling the internet – especially from a privacy and security perspective. Those using the web need to learn the rules of the road. What not to do and where not to go.
When I say learn I do not mean to simply learn how to browse the internet – what I mean is the collective education that we need to comprehend the concept of the internet, just as we learned a lot in the last 200 years about the concept of the car. Although the car may have gradually developed from a traditional horse pulled carriage, today there is very little that resembles its origins. The same will occur with today’s internet. In 20 years from now, traveling the web will be a lot different than it is today.
Although the first primitive “auto-mobiles” appeared maybe a couple hundred years ago, the real acceleration of car technologies occurred about 125 years ago. This development changed the way we live our lives today. Not only did it create a complex and worldwide automotive manufacturing industry, but it also gave birth to a cornucopia of associated industries and infrastructures. For example:
- Infrastructure. To service the world of the car, today we have major transcontinental highways, bridges that cross major rivers and seas, tunnels that go under water and through mountains, etc. We can travel around large portions of the world with our cars and without much worry. This infra-structure includes highway signs, advertising billboards, truck stops, motels and many other industries that have evolved to service the needs of the driver.
- Suppliers. Of course, we cannot forget the petrochemical industry. Without the need for fuel to power our vehicles, the oil industry as we know it today would not exist. This includes gasoline stations on nearly every highway exit, fuel shipping fleets and noisy, dirty refinery complexes to convert crude into fuel, as well as entire nation-states that only owe their financial existence to the need for gasoline to power our cars.
- Legislation. Although somewhat different from country to country (for instance what is the ‘right side’ on the road to drive on), largely around the world there is a consistent set of rules that have been developed on how to safely drive and operate a car.
- Enforcement. With all the rules put in place there is also a mechanism for compliance and rule enforcing, embedded in the larger legal structure of a country – including traffic police, or getting a speeding ticket.
- Training. Although also different from country to country, it is common that someone needs to go through driving lessons and an exam to obtain a license for driving, before legally allowed to drive – and in today’s traffic, for sure these lessons are helpful!
- Insurance. With the increase in the speed of the cars in most countries it is now required to have a liability insurance to drive a car. A large insurance industry has been built up around this, including discounts for safe driving, etc.
- A “standardized” Operator interface. Isn’t it wonderful that a traveler can fly from one country to another – visiting a place he or she has never set foot in, and be able to rent a vehicle at the airport and then be able to safely drive it around that destination? The operating interface for cars has become relatively standard. A steering wheel, accelerator, brakes – no matter what kind of car you rent, compact to luxury, and no matter where you drive, you can usually operate the car without having to take a training class or hire a consultant.