Mobile systems have been passing through a paradigm shift each ten-year cycle and we are inching towards a “wireless world”. Broadband is getting provisioned through various mechanisms including Fiber-to-Home. Devices are converging functionalities of TV, Phone and computer. And multimedia services are being launched incorporating media streaming and interactivity. Future communication systems are adopting a ‘multi-access interoperability’ model, offering different access techniques to the user terminals such as cellular, cordless, WLAN, short-range connectivity, broadcast as well as wired systems.
It is no longer enough to connect place-to-place or person-to-person, mechanisms are in place for device-to-device communication. Estimates say that, by 2025, probably over 50 billion devices will be talking to each other. Information should flow seamlessly from one device to the other. We need our devices to determine where we are and what constitutes a meaningful service for our location and context. When we are on the move, a low-resolution picture may suffice; but as we step into our home, we should be able to take advantage of a larger screen with a high-resolution picture of the same in a seamless fashion. Today’s device-driven world is gradually metamorphosing to an experience-centered world.
These developments lead to multi-sphere interactions in our daily life and that forms the basis of a Converged Lifestyle. Closest interaction with the wireless world could happen with the elements that are in close proximity of our body. Communication elements could be built in wearable devices and apparels. Upon request, these elements identify each other and would form a common distributed virtual terminal over us. In the next level, interaction takes place with the elements of real world (e.g., TV, computer) around us. TV sets may be aware of an individual’s choice programs, washing machine is aware of washing pattern and so on. At the next level, we interact with more complex systems like cars. Furthest component in a conceived multi-sphere is the presence of a self-created cyber-world. As a permanent resident of cyber-world, we would always like to be in touch with our agents, knowledge bases, communities, services and transactions.
In order to understand further how all these technologies and services could usher in a Converged Lifestyle, why do not we fantasize visiting our next-door neighbor Samir’s home in 2020?
Samir is watching a movie in his Living room. Video-on-demand service that Samir subscribes to holds over 25,000 movies, from black-and-white classics to latest interactive blockbusters. In his today’s interactive movie, someone is trying to climb a mountain and an implicit question pops up: which way to go [north or east?]. Depending on Samir’s response, the movie would take different turns—a sad or a happy ending.
In Dining area, Samir’s father is reading a personalized multimedia newspaper.
Samir’s mother, in Kitchen, realized cooking oil is finished. Samir puts the movie on hold and switches to on-line shopping. A window on the screen shows a range of olive oil bottles, each labeled with price, origin and dietary information. Samir selects one with handset and a voice says, “You have selected on 2 kg of Oliva. The price is Rs.600. The amount has been debited from your account.” Samir could have gone to a virtual supermarket where he can walk up and down the aisle as in a real store, but he decided today on “flat screen” shopping.
In her Home office, Gouri, Samir’s wife, is involved in a virtual conference with her colleagues in Paris and Tokyo. Gouri’s computer is linked directly into a fiber-optic broadband network, with enough bandwidth to handle her virtual conference. She wears a pair of virtual reality glasses, connected by infrared link to her computer. Through her headset, she sees a virtual meeting with several people sitting around a table. Documents exchanged are stored in the computer. This is a neat realization of Tele-working.
In Study room, daughter Tanisha is using a computer linked to an online database to get her homework done.
Son Sankalp is playing a virtual reality game in his own room. Using Xbox Live, he played yesterday a car-racing game with his cousin in London. Today, he is wearing a virtual reality gear, holding a stick and prodding towards window. In his virtual world, he is a medieval knight taking part in a global “Knights of the Round Table” tournament.
This slice and dice of “Future of Home” is a glimpse of our converged lifestyle. Today, we are cognizant of our device capabilities, service provisions and context specifics while addressing our lifestyle needs. In tomorrow’s connected and converged lifestyle, we no longer think of device-service-context, we cherish a superior and colorful experience.
Dr. Aloknath De
Chief Technology Officer-Samsung India
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX: 005930) is a subsidy of the South Korean multinational conglomerate, Samsung Group, headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. Samsung Electronics has a market cap of Rs 10,907 crores in the Korean Stock Exchange (KSE).