The Object Network

One seamless, endless space to weave and animate our worlds from links to all our digital stuff.

What it is

The Object Network is an open space that's a candidate "3D Web" or global Metaverse. It can form a future "distributed operating system" or single open platform for Augmented and Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things. It enables an evolution of how we use the Internet. It will ultimately require new devices to run it natively, which will include dedicated AR devices.

What's different about it

Unlike proprietary apps and services, in the Object Network, everyone and everything works together in a single shared space, where we have a single identity, and which can contain all of our digital property: news, messages, past and future events, appointments, shopping and to-do lists, contact cards, photos, media, locations; rooms, cities, maps, regions, landscapes; various 3D materials and structures; "Things" - sensors and actuators.

Each thing or item of stuff is called an 'object'. All these objects, including Things and people and places, have an identifer that can be used to link to them called a UID, which acts like a web URL. Everything is built from stuff linking to stuff via their UIDs. Links hold the fabric of the shared space together.

Links can even point right to objects on our own smart devices: unlike centralised services, the Object Network works "peer-to-peer", so that UIDs can be used to find and fetch our shared digital property over direct network paths between our devices.

Unlike the rigid, pre-programmed apps and services we're offered, you can animate or program each Object Network object yourself, using simple rules no harder to write than spreadsheet formulae.

Why that's better

If everything just works together you can do all your daily digital activities with ease and continuity. You won't need to leave the Object Network.

The concept of a single "cyberspace" to work within is easy for us to grasp, since reality works like that. It's intuitive, because like reality, things hang around, we can pick them up, watch them change, interact with them; people can be present along with us and we can collaborate on activities.

Having a platform that works like reality will ease our transition to a future where the real and the virtual merge, through the technologies of Augmented and Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things.

A single open platform supporting all AR, IoT and VR functions and activities brings obvious economies of scale and simplicity of building and running.

Since the whole space is built from simple links to live stuff, you're in control because you have a visible, tangible handle on anything, that can be used and re-used, placed and re-placed, shared and saved.

We can build our own digital spaces with our own property, then grab links to others' stuff or share our own, and weave our spaces and property together across the planet.

Anything can link to and build on anything else. There's no limit to the structures, places and worlds we can build together with links, you get to choose who or what you link in with (assuming you have permission).

Links can come from any machine in the world. As you jump links either by walking, or by focusing or expanding, you may not even be aware that you're jumping from a home hub to a company machine to a wearable, or from continent to continent.

And you not only have visibility and control over this static structure of your virtual world, but also its dynamic behaviour and animation - you don't need to be a specialist programmer to create and share programs comprising simple, powerful rules.

Direct links to stuff shared and interacting between your devices is more reliable, more secure and faster than external networks and online services. Also, it means that anyone can join in with minimum investment.

You can usually keep on working even when the network is down, since everything is based around local copies of remote items referred to by links, and a static or slightly out of date local copy of something is often good enough.

Conversely, when the network is up, it all just automatically updates and stays interactive, since everything is based around links to live stuff.

The ease and empowerment of the Object Network would be great to have now, but will be critical when the real and the virtual merge.

Duncan Cragg, 2016

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