Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Geeks, Germs, and Software

Geeks, Germs, and Software

At a recent presentation given by a software engineer from a very large automotive company, I gleaned some remarkable facts:for a particular car model where the basic price goes up as the livery becomes lusher and the initials on the trunk longer, half of the increase in value comes purely from software. I had assumed that the extra greenbacks in the price came from fancier music systems combined with a cool retro steering wheel and dashboard fascia; apparently it just comes from good old lines of code.

The average top-of-the-line luxury car has close to a gigabyte of software running it, and consequently enjoys the same development issues as any other project producing such volumes of code. One of these issues is the communication between different modules, and a car's software architecture built around layers and subsystem separation reminds me very much of good old fashioned message queues and transport buses, while the irony of the terminology is poetically sweet.

There are some teething problems, however. I'd have assumed the story was apocryphal had it not been told by a car engineer: some autos are built with Bluetooth technology to provide wireless comms between the car's various subsystems. A not-too-pleased owner of said set of wheels one day found his pride and joy wouldn't start when he turned the key. After the tow truck was called and the garage's grease monkeys failed to find a leak or physical problem, the final diagnosis was that it had caught a phone virus. It seems technology had followed nature, where just as the avian flu virus can jump between species, so malicious software designed for one device can inadvertently infect another. Adds new meaning to the phrase, "Honey, I crashed the car."

At the same conference, apart from the fantastic technology being demonstrated, I was struck by the fact that directly afterward another conference targeted at an entirely different technology industry was being assembled in the same venue. The booths and accessories being put together for this were noticeably shabbier and had the appearance of "hand me downs" from another era when said alternative profession enjoyed more prosperity and fortune. The thought the image instilled in me was that we, as software engineers, are now in our purple patch when it comes to our industry's health and future potential.

In "Guns, Germs and Steel" (www.wwnorton.com/catalog/spring99/gunsgerms.htm) Jared Diamond articulates how societies were really created around the ability to make tools, which in turn led to the ability to divide labor, allowing for farmers on the one hand and elders and armies on the other. This division of responsibility led to better organizational units that were able to conquer neighboring tribes more easily, and ultimately became responsible for the modern day colonization and the growth of civilizations.

In the Industrial Revolution in Europe in the 1900s it was machinery that changed the way societies lived and worked together, and the much-celebrated heroes of the age built things that smoked, choked, and clanked their way along railroad tracks, canals, or spanned ravines. Civil engineering is now a well-respected discipline that universities teach. When I went through college computer science degrees were considered an oddity, now com-sci is a mainstream rite of passage to getting a career in software.

To a certain extent today's super heroes of social change come from the software industry. Love him or loathe him, but Bill Gates was recently given a knighthood by the Queen of England for his services to the technology industry. This could be seen as on par with the industrial heroes of yore who were given similar gongs in their lifetime and then had statues and museums created to celebrate their lives and contribution to social change.

The change that software is able to leverage on our daily lives should never be underestimated. The Internet is a phenomenal example of how a relatively simple technology has just enabled a massive peer-to-the-power-of-peer network of information and communication that affects each of us daily.

I was recently planning a bike touring vacation and was reading a guide book on the various routes. This book's list of preparation tasks included an entry: "Check you have enough camera film." Staring at my digital camera that I take for granted with its ability to record short video clips with sound as well as images, I was reminded of the cartoon in which a daughter, while sitting on her father's knee, asks the question, "Daddy - tell me what it was like when you had to go to a photo lab and wait to see the results of your pictures?" Each time I take my eight-year-old son around the science museum I am not only impressed and in reverence of the great inventions of the last century that shaped our present day machines, I find it a little disconcerting to see the last room of display cases filled with what looks a little like the contents of my house not so many years ago - vinyl records, disposable camera flash bulbs, floppy disks that are floppy, digital watches with red LED displays, and so forth.

If half of the advances in engineering a luxury car, once the bastion of the nuts and bolts brigade, is done with for loops and asynchronous message calls, are software developers the pioneers driving forward technology? As occurred in previous ages, do we also drive society itself and how people operate their lives? Above all, however, we should all feel proud and privileged to exist in an era when such change is occurring, and also slightly humbled by our individual ability to contribute to how lives and the future are organized. To paraphrase a much-quoted prophecy: "It is the geeks who shall inherit the earth."

More Stories By Joe Winchester

Joe Winchester, Editor-in-Chief of Java Developer's Journal, was formerly JDJ's longtime Desktop Technologies Editor and is a software developer working on development tools for IBM in Hursley, UK.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
Announcing Poland #DigitalTransformation Pavilion
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, added the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor analytic...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.