Academic journal article Competition Forum

Competitive Business Advantages in the Era of Unified SuperConvergence

Academic journal article Competition Forum

Competitive Business Advantages in the Era of Unified SuperConvergence

Article excerpt

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

A new era is unfolding in the evolving saga of digital convergence. Recent advances and trends in broadband wireless technologies and systems, and the corresponding products and services they engender, suggest that there will likely be a greater symmetry between wired and wireless capabilities in the future than has previously been thought. Unified SuperConvergence is a term of art that extends the concept of digital convergence in several ways that we discuss. This paper examines opportunities for businesses to derive competitive advantages from broadband wireless products and services in this new era of Unified SuperConvergence. Six major technology domains are identified as being highly important elements of this future era. Examples of technologies and discussion of their potential usage in business operations are provided.

Keywords: Digital Convergence, Broadband, Wireless, Information Technologies, Competitive Advantage

INTRODUCTION

The Original Paradigm of Digital Convergence

We've all heard a lot about digital convergence over the past several decades and what it might mean for entertainment, education, business, and so on. Digital convergence is a term that describes the symmetries in transmission, storage, and display of information and communications content across the full spectrum of multimedia formats as a result of pervasive commonality in the underlying fundamental binary representations yielded by digitization. Unlike the over-hyped quest for the mythical "killer-app," it is far more likely that the real mega-story is going to be the confluence of technologies and the plethora of applications and services that will ensue.

An important corollary to the phenomenon of digital convergence is the so-called "Negroponte switch," which refers to a flip-flop between the major types of services delivered via wired and wireless means. In the 20th century we received narrowband services such as telephony over wires, and relatively wideband applications such as television via wireless networks. Nicolas Negroponte observed that these transport paradigms would switch so that in the 21st century wideband applications would arrive via tethered connections, increasingly fiber-optic based, and narrowband services would arrive wirelessly.

WHAT'S CHANGED? THE NEW ERA OF UNIFIED SUPERCONVERGENCE

Recent advances and trends in wireless technologies and systems, and the corresponding products and services they support, suggest that there will likely be a greater symmetry between wired and wireless capabilities in the future. Unified SuperConvergence is a term of art that extends the concept of Digital Convergence by adding the following elements:

* Enhanced symmetry in information flows spanning wired and wireless modalities, principally as a result of advances in broadband wireless technologies, standards and protocols.

* True independence between devices and platforms, and the multimedia content types that they support.

* Intelligent functionalities including the Semantic Web and other machine-to-machine autonomous interactions, embedded AI applications that enable advanced functionality such as content searches on rich media, and intelligent unified messaging.

* Proliferation of 21st century capabilities such as telepresence and remote telerobotic control, natural language metaprogramming and other advanced human-machine interaction modes, and personal intelligent agents.

It's time that we expand our conception of "convergence" to embrace a highly diverse set of interacting technologies. In thinking about future wireless capabilities and their implications, we need to think very broadly about relevant technologies because the convergence of many technology developments will engender truly unique and remarkable developments.

Although it is somewhat of a cliché, it is nonetheless true today that for wireless technologies and systems, everything is about to change. …

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