OK, it wasn’t really ringing but a message was popping up on-screen telling me about an incoming call – with Caller ID.Unfortunately my TV doesn’t have a handset so I just sat and watched in fascination. (Sorry I missed your call Mom.) Convergence is upon us. No, I’m not hawking the latest Scifi novel, I’m talking about the blurring of the lines between our consumer electronics. We watch movies on our phones, we have tablet computers we can make calls on, my TV can download movies off the internet which I can then watch on my PC.
The math is simple:
Phone = Tablet = Computer = TV
And that equation will get longer. Next thing you know I’ll be watching Food TV on the fridge while in the kitchen cooking.
But the really big convergence still open is wireless internet access. Eventually wireless access will be ubiquitous, no matter where you are you’ll just expect to be able to connect. But the question is, will it be using WiFi or the cell network.
This is the battle royale brewing. Calls over the internet (VOIP or Voice over IP) have already started the underlying war, and of course you can access the internet with your cell phone. But do we need two ways to connect? Clearly not, however the issue goes way beyond the technical aspects; this is no VHS or Betamax level of competition. Do you ever see signs in a coffee shop that say “Free Cell Coverage”? The carriers have billions of dollars invested in the cellular infrastructure and adding everyday with high bandwidth capabilities like 4G, and I don’t think they plan on giving it away. On the other hand you have companies, schools, even cities focused on bringing free access to everyone using WiFi. Where or when does it end?
This war will take years to play out. Maybe in the end some disruptive technology will change the rules and neither will win. gSat anyone? (Google Satellite obviously.)