Gil Press of Forbes reports, “Norman Joseph Woodland, the co-inventor of the bar code, died this week at 91. What is now called ‘The Internet of Things‘ was born one day in 1949 when Woodland was sitting on a Florida beach, thinking about how product information can be captured at the supermarket checkout. The only code Woodland knew was the Morse Code he’d learned in the Boy Scouts, his daughter told the Associated Press this week. Woodland drew Morse dots and dashes as he sat on the beach and absent-mindedly left his fingers in the sand where they traced a series of parallel lines. ‘It was a moment of inspiration. He said, ‘instead of dots and dashes I can have thick and thin bars,’’ Susan Woodland recalled.”

Press goes on, “That moment of inspiration brought together the physical world of products and the virtual world of data, laying the foundation for a data-based, digital economy. Forty years later, the invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee, opened up numerous and ever-growing possibilities for economic transactions and ventures based on data. Just like the Universal Product Code (UPC), the Web “scanned” and encoded all activities passing through it with its Universal Digital Code, increasingly mirroring the physical world in addition to augmenting it. This merging of the physical and virtual worlds is what we now call ‘big data’.”

Read more here.

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