The net shapes up to get physical

As the ‘third age’ of the internet takes root and our physical world becomes more and more connected, The Guardian’s Sean Dodson looks at the implications and how life will changeMost people, if they bother to think about it at all, probably view the internet as an agent of profound change. In the 15 years since Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, the life of almost everyone in the industrialised world has been touched by it. But just as many of us are getting to grips with its second stage, the mobile internet, very few are prepared – perhaps even aware – of the third and potentially most revolutionary phase of all: the internet of things.Sometime between now and 2010, the internet is poised to reach beyond virtual space and take root in the physical world. According to many futurist thinkers, almost every object you can see around you carries the possibility of being connected to the internet. This means that your domestic appliances, your clothes, the books on your shelves and your car in the driveway may one day soon be assigned a unique IP address, just as both computers and web pages are assigned them today, to enable them to talk to each other.To read this article in The Guardian in full, see www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/oct/16/internet-of-things-ipv6.

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