Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Integrate your computing future

IT analysts IDC* recently dared some predictions for the Australian telecommunications market** for the following year. A summary is available here, but a couple of emerging technology areas caught my eye: fixed-mobile convergence, and mobility management suites.

The former refers to integration of fixed-line and mobile technologies, and the latter refers to the management of mobile technology in all its forms. Perhaps this is less daring than a prediction I read in a science fiction story*** recently (personal wireless access devices), but they speak to a future that is substantially different from our current experience, yet entirely plausible.

example of a mobility management suite

On the one hand, we are seeing integration of various technology areas, but on the other hand, we may see some necessary decoupling of some others. I’ll illustrate.

I have access to several devices that are each very useful in different ways, and each have different levels of portabilility. They include a desktop computer, two laptops, a PDA (pocket computer), a mobile phone, a camera, and several different memory devices (including SD cards and USB sticks).

It’s not easy to juggle these, and in fact I find myself having to switch between them, moving between environments, transferring data, etc.

Yet there are a few fundamentals that are common to the use of them all: network connection, data storage, and input/output devices.

Ideally, I would have each of those aspects available to me wherever I go. To one degree or another that science fiction story depicted aspects of all of these. Perhaps in the future we will find the following:

I will have some attribute that will grant me connectivity wherever I am personally located. I will also have access to my data/applications anywhere (this is currently available, albeit not ideally structured and usable). Lastly, I/O devices would be ubiquitously available for me to access the first two – enabling connection and disconnection with considerable more ease than we currently have.

None of this is unrealistic today. It’s just not as effortless as it could be. As it eventually will be.

*IDC is one of three companies with significant profile that analyse the general I.T. market; the other two are Gartner and Forrester. In addition, specialists The OLAP Report focus on OLAP/BI/databasing. This blog has quoted all four at various times.

**One of the more ambitious predictions was for HD DVD format to die a betamax death [succumbing to the Blu-ray format].

***Megan Lindholm's Cut

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