There may come a day soon in the near future , where things like smart phones, smart PDA’s smart cars, etc give way to smart cities ( which are already existent or are in the making). But very soon these may be things of the past with the whole “Internet of Things” concept coming up.
The Internet of Things is a simple concept where in all our smart phones, cars, refrigerators, TV’s, PDA’s , Traffic Signals , Parking Slots , Elevators are all connected into one giant network with everything being connected to everything else . This means that for example if you are driving to the City [ a bad idea in itself], but are worried about traffic jams, the traffic signals can detect the traffic jams up ahead and accordingly reroute the traffic via another road / street. This would also mean integrating traffic patterns via algorithms into traffic signals so that pro active congestion control can kick in and prevent traffic bottlenecks even before they actually happen.
Likewise your car can be routed to a empty parking spot based on GPS /parking data available real time so that you don’t have to go hunting for that sweet parking spot . And if all hell does break-loose and the city is actually crowded, your smart phone gives you a heads up before you actually head into the city with traffic jam/ congestion statistics and prevent you from even getting into your car. Now all this does seem a lot sci fi, but believe me this is going to happen not too far into the future.
Another quite interesting example would your fridge SMSing your supermarket where you are shopping , telling it to add say Milk into your purchase and intimating you as well. Another high profile change which is very much required to avoid those long supermarket billing queues is some sort of supermarket credit in your debit/credit card and each aisle or each grocery /item [basket] automatically linking in the number of items you pick via a bar code and then using your card for a direct debit of the item. This would also mean you get a real time idea of what you need and how much dough you have left in your card, in case you just over spent.
A divergent thought on these tracks i.e. from the Internet of Things , would be real time things from the Internet which would integrate into Real Life , For example you have to make it to a meeting 2 states away and cant actually make it person , and voila ,your rent an android /person, who you remotely control can step in, so you basically are still shaking hands with your business colleague , perhaps even having a dinner on hologram all from the cosy confines of your home. This has some hilarious applications too. Remember those boring meetings, we dont want to be in, the really shitty trainings, we wished somebody else would attend , or on a personal front the whole extended family thing, which you cant stand. Holographic actual impersonator [HAL] is here to save you !!
With the smart cities and the Internet of things, the way we live our lives will change for sure, lets hope we seem some really sci fi changes up in the near future.