Where is the tech world headed? Where and what will be the enterprise of the future? We are in a post-converged world swimming in a sea of devices and moving into the world of trans-convergence. Where trans refers to changing thoroughly or beyond and through process. Where convergence is the principle of previously unrelated devices, tasks, tools, and techniques to be merged and take on shared characteristics.
Trans-convergence is the next step in information technology adaption and innovation. We have to be careful and set a scope on the discussion. We are not talking about all or none in this discussion. We are not talking everything or nothing either. Technology trends are about many and most where 80% market share is total domination of the market. This is where market is the totality of all the OEMs and not just one device manufacturer is considered. We are talking the market of smartphones and not iPhones.
Setting that scene what then is leading to trans-convergence? The smartphone has become entertainment device, game platform, pager, fitness tool, camera and rolodex. The numerous devices converged into the smartphone are legion. The preponderance of desktop systems have given sway to desktop replacement laptops, and the laptops have given way to the tablet. Ultrabooks are starting to look a little thick.
The paradigm trend currently is the laptop becomes the tablet and the tablet becomes the phone and the phone becomes a smart watch or token. This is the current level of convergence and is bounded by battery size and button size for keyboards. Voice recognition can only fill one of the gaps and is not appropriate for many situations. Can you imagine, “Siri/Cortana how many calories in an Apple?” being spoke at a restaurant. By everybody?
With an established innovation, paradigm and looking forward to the next leap devices must integrate further. Breaking the current linearity of device innovation, we can see some early examples. The smartphone becomes the dash to your automobile. You can take your largely personalized environment with you to any vehicle and have preferences set instantly. All maintaining data fidelity based off how your device is integrated into the vehicle.
Tasks: Standardized vehicle to smart phone connections, standardized information secure protocols for vehicle to smartphone engagement.
Other areas we see trans-convergence starting to poke out is in the home. The Nest thermostat is a weak example but home automation is stronger. The application currently is to have an account. That is one account that drives a thermostat or home automation system. Trans-convergence suggests that everybody with a smart screen in the home will customize his or her environment through the home automation system. I can imagine priority will be given to the one paying the bills.
Tasks: Protocols for home automation and kid safing the environment, protocols that can be shared between device manufacturers for discovery.
The educational environment is another place where trans-convergence can have significant and substantial gains. Consider the use case of students entering and exiting classrooms and dynamic sharing of content. Teachers shouldn’t have to run a portal like BlackBoard to interact with students. The educational environment should integrate the studies materials and the information flows between teacher and student should be enhanced. Regardless of distance. If you have to log into an environment then it is not trans-convergence. The environment is the social and practical realities of time and space created between users. Data should reside in one place (like the cloud) and the student and teacher work on the same copy interactively. The devices would enhance this through active sharing based on roles.
Tasks: Determine a protocol to interaction between teacher and student and how to sandbox information based on roles. How to have students raise their hand and their device know to give some specific information in person-to-person and distance learning models.
Finally, trans-convergence means devices and screens will likely be separated. There is a wealth of high definition screen real-estate in most homes. The interaction between my devices and my home electronics is archaic at best when you consider the user interface design of the smartphone and modern tablet computer. The integration of tools and tasks across the modern home is currently a parasitic drag on innovation. Until this particular information communication pathway is opened up there will be a slowdown in trans-convergence. Absent that drag the entire market would likely see a refresh over a three or four year period.
Trans-convergence is what happens next. What happens post smartphone and post tablet computer. This is where the market is likely heading after this revolution. In 2007 there was no iPhone and the discussion of such a monolithic device was considered silly. Then we got it. The iPhone 5S is substantially further along than the first iPhone yet they are similar devices. The next leap ahead technology will not be a better smartphone but a device that convergences more devices and tasks than the smartphone ever thought of doing.