Tech In Far-Flung Settings - InformationWeek

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9/29/2014
08:06 AM
Ellis Booker
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Tech In Far-Flung Settings

Technology is finding its way into formerly inaccessible places, often with amazing or beautiful results. But are you ready for drone selfies?
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(Image: Lillian Pierson)
(Image: Lillian Pierson)

Forget the selfie by the hotel pool. Here's a gorgeous collection of images featuring computers in exotic, hard-to-reach, or simply startling settings. 

These pictures underscore an overlooked truth: Information technology permeates our world. Thanks largely to advances in mobile technology, people in remarkably remote places are carrying smartphones or other kinds of connected devices, allowing them to share pictures and videos with each other and the world. By one estimate, more than 758 million photographs are shared on social media every day.

Indeed, sales of smartphones, which overtook PC sales back in 2011, passed another milestone earlier this year. The worldwide smartphone market grew 25.3% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2014, marking the first time ever that quarterly smartphone shipments surpassed the 300 million unit mark, according to IDC's report.  

And as some of the following pictures hint, embedded computers will only accelerate this trend. The Internet of Things (IoT) will far outpace that of existing connected devices. By 2020, while the number of smartphones, tablets, and PCs in use will be 7.3 billion, IoT will hit 26 billion units, according to Gartner.

Another enabling technology is free WiFi. The open WiFi hotspot has become a make-or-break service in untold millions of restaurants and cafes around the world, enabling millions of photos of entrees, desserts, and cocktails on social media.

Finally, an up-and-coming category for outdoor photography itself relies on new technology: drones. Increasingly affordable pilotless drones are letting people photograph formerly inaccessible places, sometimes with beautiful results.

Ellis Booker has held senior editorial posts at a number of A-list IT publications, including UBM's InternetWeek, Mecklermedia's Web Week, and IDG's Computerworld. At Computerworld, he led Internet and electronic commerce coverage in the early days of the web and was ... View Full Bio

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glenbren
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glenbren,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 11:41:40 AM
Amazing!
Yes, "dronies" are a thing. With consumer drone prices hovering between $600 and $1,000 but likely to drop, expect to see more of these bird's-eye-view pictures.

It's amazing what these things can do! I can see the value for getting to places that are otherwise inaccessible, especially in disaster zones. Ironic that they can send data from the depths of the ocean to outer space, but I can't get a stable internet connection in my living room.

For personal use, other than just being gimmicky, what would you do with one?
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
9/29/2014 | 11:46:13 AM
Photos
I had a conversation with a middle-school-aged relative this weekend about social. She doesn't bother with Facebook and rarely uses Twitter. Her friends communicate via Instagram. But, I asked her, you have to post a photo with each post -- doesn't that get annoying? Apparently not. Think about that in terms of data volume. 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
9/29/2014 | 11:50:06 AM
Re: Amazing!
I think it would depend on the device's range. I could visualize using one locally to send a sick friend a pint of soup! You could use one to look in your gutters or chimney to see if you need to get them cleaned, or if an ice dam is forming. If you coach a child's team, you could film the action.

More disturbing is use by stalkers or people who are just nosy. 
glenbren
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glenbren,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 12:09:30 PM
Re: Amazing!
More disturbing is use by stalkers or people who are just nosy. 

That didn't even occur to me. That is so very disturbing! Maybe they should require background checks before you can purchase one.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 12:20:06 PM
Re: Amazing!
This is fabulous. It shows the future of Information Technology. Instead of IT I think it's high time reword it as "Information Services".
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
9/29/2014 | 12:22:44 PM
Re: Amazing!
I'm not sure that would fly (no pun intended). 
Ellis Booker
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Ellis Booker,
User Rank: Moderator
9/29/2014 | 12:25:26 PM
Would love to see readers contribute their own photos to this
Had fun building this slideshow. But I bet there are even better photos out there. Spread the word! 
Whoopty
IW Pick
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2014 | 12:42:31 PM
No picture but
I don't have a picture unfortunately, but one aspect of remote tech which I've loved hearing about over the past couple of years has been remote banking being set up in really hard to reach places using mobile phones and the cloud. It's allowed local banks in India and other countries to be created, leveraging cloud power to provide infrastructure to players with outdated hardware. This has made it possible for local banks to remain competitive with multi-nationals and continue to serve their community. 
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
9/29/2014 | 2:54:03 PM
Re: Amazing!
Consumer dronies scream bad idea to me. It's nice to think of consumers using their dronies for altruistic reasons, but I only see potential for snooping and stalking. And I can't think of anything more annoying than a sky cluttered with dronies soaring around. If they make noise, even more annoying!

 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
9/29/2014 | 3:06:11 PM
Re: Amazing!
Well, see if I send you a nice thermos of soup via my drone when you get sick.
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