by July 1, 2005 0 comments

If you look around at the technology landscape, you will see a lot of excitement. In order to understand the impact of these changes better, I have been traveling around and meeting people. I have seen upfront the dramatic changes that the application of technology is bringing to people’s lives. I have seen how cellphones reaching into remote habitats, deep inside forests, up hills and down valleys can make a change to people’s lives. I have seen how the Internet, reaching farmers in far-flung villages is beginning to make a change to their lives. 

To summarize, it is not the technology, but the application that makes the difference. Technology by itself is meaningless, unless put to use in a useful application. To my mind, there are a few applications that are harnessing the right technologies and are making a big change to the world around us and will continue to do so in the future. I will list them here in no particular order.

Mobiles. My definition of mobiles is not limited to cellphones or to notebooks. Anything that can go mobile will. This trend will be further accelerated by miniaturization and nanotechnology, as and when it matures. And leading the pack will be entertainment devices. I am normally vary of ‘next big’ predictions, but I will put my head out and say that mobile TV will be the next big thing in this area.

Convergence. Convergence is the norm everywhere. Devices are converging. Services are converging and functionality is converging. And the real explosive part is convergence combined with mobility! Think of what the proliferation of converged mobile devices can achieve.

Broadband. India is waking up to a broadband revolution. We have some way to go yet, but affordable broadband will drive content rich applications to users, both in offices and at home. Tomorrow’s broadband will be much more broader than what we have today, and now imagine broadband enabled, converged, mobile devices! The information age as we know it would be revolutionalized for ever!

Blogs. Blogs have a disruptive ability, much like the Internet itself. They are challenging the status quo in content creation and delivery and can make an overnight hero out of any unknown. They can also help undo the highest and the mightiest in no time at all. We have already seen all that happen, and I am not sure how exactly this one phenomenon will evolve.

Clusters and grids. Grids not so much as clusters. Clusters built out of utility hardware will harness enormous computing power at low costs and will redefine super-computer-dom. Supercomputers as we know them today will become commonplace and easy to build.

Utility computing. Computers are beginning to become utility devices. You throw a switch and expect electricity to be available. You pay for it by the kilowatt and are not concerned with the dynamics of how it is created, the capacity or locations of the turbines and generators, nor do you want to be concerned about the logistics of electricity distribution. Computing is fast going that way. More and more users are going to be indifferent about bus speeds and cache sizes and OS nuances. They may not even recognize a computer as one. They are going to be just concerned with their applications running as fast as they want them to, when they want them to, where they want them to, much like what they expect of their cellphones today.

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