IoT could extend the life of PCs22nd May 2015
It's easy to dismiss established forms of technology when shiny new alternatives come along and plant themselves firmly in the mainstream. This is particularly pertinent in light of the mobile internet revolution that's occurred in the last few years.
Whereas we once had to sit at a particular location to get online via our desktop computers, today we are used to surfing the net on our smartphones and tablets, anywhere and at any time.
We all love being able to take advantage of this unprecedented connectivity as it's transformed our personal and professional lives. We can check our emails when we're on the move, watch YouTube clips, access Google to resolve any heated arguments in the pub and much more besides.
So it's little surprise that we don't feel as attached to our PCs as much as we used to. They simply don't feature in our lives as prominently as they once did and have been superseded by newer devices.
But one technological revolution that is happening right now could mean that the PC still has a crucial role to play in the home – the Internet of Things.
In its simplest terms, this means that all sorts of household gadgets and appliances will be able to connect to the internet to both receive and send data. Technology has progressed to the point where even the tiniest of devices can have this capability – and developers are working all the time to devise practical applications of it for both the home and the workplace.
The Internet of Things has already worked its way into many gadgets we can't live without, from smart TVs and smart meters to GPS navigation systems and wireless fitness trackers, as well as the electronic toll collection device many of you may have in your car.
It marks a step change from all the technology in our homes and workspaces operating separately. By being closely integrated through a single home network, they will be operating intelligently and in harmony with each other.
So why then are we still talking up the PC? Well, founder and chief executive of Dell Michael Dell believes the emergence of the Internet of Things in people's homes could make it a critically important resource.
Speaking at Dell World 2014, he said: "We believe the PC becomes increasingly strategic as a highly distributed, powerful, local computing resource: the hub of the Internet of Things.
“And through the exponential power of Moore’s Law. PCs are getting order-of-magnitude better… more powerful, smaller, lighter… more affordable… the interfaces… the capability… the speed…”
If Dell is enthusing about this potential role for the PC in the future, it's safe to assume that computer manufacturers aren't willing to let themselves get left behind by advances in technology and consumer habits.
Placing the PC at the heart of a connected smart home looks sure to be one way in which these devices can stay relevant and valuable in an age where we're used to having massive computing power in our pockets at all times.