The idea of an “Internet of Things” is all about having virtual representation of actual physical things. There is big work happening around the world to have trackers on everything from books, oil rigs, to people themselves. Here comes the age where technology literally could become a part of us. Radio frequency identifications, barcodes, Bluetooth or GPS are the primary means that objects will be tracked. For an everyday individual, one argument for this technology is having a new ability to easily track lost or stolen items, or even people themselves.
For governments, the growth of this industry equals huge economic benefits. The “Internet of Things” helps companies become more efficient and has the capability to generate billions of dollars. The race to develop the “Internet of Things” is being compared to the space race, with the EU, US and China fighting to develop the industry. According to an article on Inventor Spot there is speculation that China is going to become the semantic web superpower as a result of their growing “Internet of Things.”
China is placing a priority on the development of a national “Internet of Things” plan. In 2009, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao presented this equation: Internet + Internet of Things = Wisdom of the Earth. Although the Internet is included in its success, the Internet of Things itself is expected to surpass the Internet market by over 30 times. With this prospect, all the world’s superpowers want a piece of the success. China however has some of the greatest potentials. Bureaucratic hurdles hinder democratic governments like the EU and the United States. The implementation of sensory technology poses a lot of privacy and ethical threats to individuals. People’s freedom of speech also hinders the EU and US, since citizen are allowed to openly voice their opposition to the implementation of this technology. China on the other hand will not face much opposition. With a one party system and a tendency to suppress freedom of speech of citizens, China eliminates the greatest barriers that the EU and US face. China may have the upper hand because of its lack of barriers nevertheless our regulations are there for a reason I readily welcome. The “Internet of Things” has the capability to bring the idea of Big Brother to a level only imagined in books and movies. Thus, even though the technology can benefit agricultural, logistical, transportation, power and environmental sectors, privacy rights come first. If that means China takes a lead in the industry, so be it.