2015 is supposedly the year when technology reaches a computing milestone and introduces zettabyte storage capacity. I’d never heard about a zettabyte until Desmonique Bonet, Head of Industry at Google spoke recently at a Supply Chain Conference. So what is a zettabyte you ask? A zettabyte is 10 followed by 21 zeros; or a trillion megabytes, or more information than the mind can start to comprehend. Consider that more data crosses the internet every second than was stored in the entire internet 20 years ago and is accelerating every second or that 700 year equivalent time of video is shared across the web every minute. Boggling.
And speaking of uncomprehensible, what would the head of Industry at Google be doing talking with a bunch of supply chains experts, anyways? Turns out, Google is working on interesting things that have implications for global supplychains and the need for zettabytes in terms of data processing/storage is closer than one would think. Google has an initiative called Google 10x and this effort is not focused on making incremental changes. Google 10x is about leaping shifts, about transformational initiatives in technology and information that would propel societies in remarkable ways.
For example, you may have heard about Google Glass, a novelty for some – for others, the first step of integrating the world-wide web with how we work and play in real-time; or even Google’s driverless car initiative. Not surprising, Google Maps deploys photo-rigged vehicles in cities everywhere – driving around, going nowhere but the street not yet travelled, and an automated robot-car seems logical for the task. That’s not the end-game though, think more about the ‘last mile’ gap between home and public transit or open-source transportation solutions. If Google can develop the capacity for managing algorithm information necessary to negotiate a vehicle through city streets, what next?
A billion smartphones in the world, that translate, answer questions, tell you where you are and provide access to an almost unlimited supply of information. Devices that connect, inform and are integrated into our personal and professional lives. Each device with vastly more computing horsepower than existed on the Apollo lunar landers; and Google firmly believes in a future of seamless devices, answers before questions, and 200x bandwidth.
Are we ready for open-source supply chains with unlimited global access and visibility of goods movement? Not yet, but soon..
A zettabyte? Better plan for at least a couple.