The Data-Centric Future (Part 1 of 2)

Truly profound technologies become part of everyday life. Motors, plastics, computers, and now networking have made this transition in the last 100 years. These technologies are embedded in billions of devices; they have melted into the assumed background of the modern world.

Another stage is emerging in this progression: pervasive, real-time data. Like the Internet; except that this pervasive information infrastructure will connect devices, not people. Just as the "web" connected people and fundamentally changed how we all interact, pervasive data will connect devices and change how they interact.

Today's network technology makes it easy to connect nodes, but not so easy to find and access the information resident in networks of connected nodes. This is changing; we will soon gain the ability to pool information from many distributed sources, and access it at rates meaningful to physical processes. Many label this new capability the "network centric" architecture. However a more appropriate term being used is "data centric" because the change, fundamentally, is driven by the dynamic availability of information, not the static connectivity of the network itself. Whatever the name, this concept will drive the development of vast, distributed, information-critical applications.