Over the last decade, technology has changed the way we all live and work. Fifteen years ago, people could still seek out a pay phone to make a phone call. Today, people need to be connected no matter where they are—a smart mobile device is always within arm’s reach. But this is just the beginning. Consider that, in 2000, an undersea fibre cable offered business customers speeds of just over 2 Giga bits per second transmission which has gone up to 100 Gbps in recent years, showing that the technical capabilities of the network are increasing driven by demand.
There are more than three billion internet users globally and billions more connected ‘things’, from activity trackers and smart home hubs to connected cars and street lights. The dependence on gleaning data and insights from these devices quickly and connecting it with other data and insights, is driving industry and consumers to seek out integrated platforms.
Right now, the coordination between point A and point B is severely lacking. In fact, Forrester says that this year design teams will search through more than 19 new wireless connectivity choices and protocols to support the company’s diverse set of IoT devices.
Let’s say, for example, you are getting ready to go to a meeting that’s on your calendar and you are using your phone’s GPS to drive there. Right now, the parking app doesn’t say it will take 20 minutes to drive there and you’re going to have to park far away, so you better leave now.” Google Maps knows the drive time, but can’t tell you the parking situation—that would be a different service.
The need for multiple apps will begin to change as the convergence of the technology creates synchronisation between applications. Gartner predicts that 2017 will see 8.4 billion connected devices in use worldwide. Nearly two-thirds of them will be consumer products, especially smart TVs, set-top boxes, and in-car devices such as entertainment systems and sensors.
As the world’s dependence on technology expands and deepens, the platforms that drive the connected world are
going to become more interconnected and dependent on each other, creating a network of seamlessly unconnected things—it will just start to work. We’re already starting to see this integration with personal assistants.
In the future, that will all change. Rather than having 50 apps notifying you when something happens, the apps will think together. The technology will all be synced together. So, when you return from a run, your device will remind you to drink water and eat a banana because your potassium is low.
All this convergence is bound to change our approach to life, but it won’t happen overnight. In fact, there’s likely to be more industry earthquakes like we’ve seen in the mobile space to make this a complete reality. Just as we’ve seen network speeds evolve over the last two decades, new developments like 5G will continue to push the pace of technological development.
The convergence and consolidation of platforms and devices will enable humans and machines to interact in a more seamless, streamlined way than ever before. And it’s clear that the future of the digital world lies in the billions of these connected devices and how they all interact with each other. Creating that world where all networks and applications work harmoniously together to give people this ubiquitous ultra-connected experience is a task we in the industry are ready to tackle together.
The writer is future technologist and product innovator, Tata Communications