As a communications industry veteran who works at the forefront of fore sighting, it’s not a surprise that I own 28 digital devices and am likely to be one of the most advanced device users in the world. But I’ll tell you what is remarkable, and that is that the gap between the devices my sister and I own is continuously shrinking. The devices in her family are no longer light-years behind mine; in fact they are sometimes even ahead! And these devices are gaining the ability to connect to networks at a very fast pace.
These days, devices can be divided into two distinct categories. The first category refers to connected consumer electronics, where users purchase the device and network connectivity either comes separate or is integrated with a service fee of some sort. Think tablets, internet TVs, game consoles, Blu-ray/hard disk drive players, digital cameras, fridges, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment and so on. This category, to a large extent, leverages internet connectivity the way we know it today.
The second category refers to devices that are an integrated part of adjacent industries’ service offerings. As a user you purchase a service and the devices are used as part of the service delivery chain. Think connected electricity meters, connected security cameras, connected eBooks, connected vehicles and so on. The devices associated with the transformation of an adjacent industry require a lot of cross-industry collaboration work. They also affect OSS/BSS platforms and require networking attributes beyond best-effort internet connectivity.
For example, I find the car to be a very fascinating cross-industry collaboration arena:
* Car manufacturers want to be connected to my car for proactive maintenance planning
* Entertainment companies want to connect to the screens and loudspeakers in my car
* Insurance providers want to be connected to my car to monitor responsible driving
* Road authorities want to connect to my car for road charges and hazard warnings
* Navigation service providers want to connect to my car to provide proactive route planning
Looking ahead, I predict that devices will remain separated into these two radically different device categories. However, most connected device innovations will require significant cross-industry collaboration. This means that large business model and ecosystem shifts will eventually require a transformation to networked industries, which will result in a reshaping of regional, national or global markets.
I’d like to conclude by posing a question, what devices do you expect to materialize in the future, and how would they benefit your world?