The grand convergence in 2010

The grand convergence in 2010

Summary: Gartner predicts that by 2010 three major trends -- ubiquitous access, ambient intelligence and semantic connectivity -- will converge to create disruptions and opportunities as significant as the Web. It's not far fetched, but it will happen in ongoing spurts rather than as a big bang culminating at the end of the decade.

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TOPICS: CXO
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Gartner predicts that by 2010 three major trends -- ubiquitous access, ambient intelligence and semantic connectivity -- will converge to create disruptions and opportunities as significant as the Web. It's not far fetched, but it will happen in ongoing spurts rather than as a big bang culminating at the end of the decade. That’s one of the problems with the use of "disruptive" as an adjective for technology. The expectation is that you will wake up one day and a whole new world order will be in place—free super broadband wireless access everywhere, milk cartons talking to refrigerators talking to stores talking to dairy distributors talking to genetically engineered cows with silicon implants in their udders. Be patient…

Ubiquitous access is a foregone conclusion, and we are on a path over the next decade to anytime, anywhere connectivity at high speeds. By 2015, users will roam across six networks in a single day and access net services using a wide range of devices, according to Gartner analyst Nick Jones.

Ambient intelligence --imbuing objects with some smarts (via electro-mechanical systems and RFID) -- is another no-brainer. The cost of tags are coming down and the applications are obvious, from managing inventory in warehouses and retail locations to measuring temperature and water levels in potted plants. Assembling various data from remote sensors would allow insurance companies to offer dynamic, risk-based pricing for drivers. Gartner predicts that by 2015, an average urban dweller will have more than 20 supplemental bits of real-time, digital information, compared to one or two in 2004.

According to Gartner analyst Carl Claunch, major improvements in display technology —such as Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) that allow for flexible plastic screens, cheap manufacturing, high contrast and high refresh rates--will allow users to see all kinds of information, such as data on people in their field of vision, repair instructions and key performance indicators for business and personal health. This kind of fine-grained monitoring also brings unresolved security and privacy issues. 


Mesh networks, which are self organizing, highly reliable, peer-to-peer, low power nodes, combined with RFID will allow for new kinds of applications. Mesh networks can dynamically route packets depending on the availability of nodes and have no central point of failure or control. Gartner analyst Steve Prentice mentioned a paper manufacturing company in Sweden with 35,000 square miles of forest that was considering putting smart sensor on trees in a mesh network to collect information about the timber, such as the water content, to get a better handle on when and what to harvest for pulping. He mentioned several companies involved in creating technology for RFID/mesh networks (also known as smart dust) --Crossbow, Dust, Ember, Millennial Net and Zensys.
 
 
Gartner predicts that by 2015, collective intelligence breakthroughs will likely drive a 10 percent productivity increase, and the ratio of managers to knowledge producers will be reduced by 50 percent. The idea is that through data mining and more flattened collaborative environments, the collective inputs from groups can yield better, more distributed decisions. For example, aggregating information from a broad group could lead to predictive markets that offer more reliable forecasting of events, trends or directions that a company should take. Wikis were given as an example of a collaborative system that helps to "democratize" decision making, moving from centralized to distributed authority.  Harvesting collective intelligence to discover relevant patterns that can enable better decisions and improvements in productivity is likely to happen sooner than 2015 for many industries and applications, especially as new, improved algorithms are developed. But, collective content creation and decision making via wikis or other collaborative systems and social networks, with no central authority, require a culture and organization shift that most corporations will be very slow to embed in their DNA. 

The third component, semantic connectivity, is bit more fuzzy. Partly, it’s coming up with common language, definition and terms so that all those smart objects can communicate with each other. Gartner predicts that "semantic" technologies, including tagging and more formal codification, will facilitate data interchange and validation and mapping between different terminologies.  According to Gartner analyst Alexander Linden, by 2008, "the language of logic, as chosen by the core Semantic Web with OWL (Web Ontology Language), Resource Description Framework (RDF) and topic maps or their derivatives, will become the underlying common language of storing, accessing and sharing metadata." 

Universal, high-bandwidth access, some form of communicable intelligence in all things and semantic technologies that create a framework for meaningful information sharing and reuse by machines are all works in progress, with their own trajectories and battles to wage. Whether they come together in five years to create something greater than the original Web is doubtful, but eventually the three components will reach a collective "tipping point" that fuels new kinds of applications and business models, with far more "native" intelligence embedded within the network...

Topic: CXO

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  • Ubiquitous access

    [i]Ubiquitous access is a foregone conclusion, and we are on a path over the next decade to anytime, anywhere connectivity at high speeds.[/i]

    In Korea, yes. In China, perhaps. In the USA, not a chance.

    The LOCs are well on their way to a statutory monopoly on Internet access [1]. If you check their broadband roadmaps you'll find that more than a third of the USA's population won't have access to broadband in 2015.

    [1] As in: municipalities, homeowners' associations, community groups, etc. are forbiddent to provide services that aren't provided by chartered monopolies such as the LOCs and cable-television providers.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Ubiquitous access

      Yagotta's got a good point. For a concrete example, look at Philly's wireless vision -- and Verizon's not so behind-the-scenes effort to quash it.
      jfuhr
  • If I believed Gartner in 1992...

    I'd be working on a DEC workstation right now!

    I used to pay $9k a year for them as an IT Director back then. I went to one of their conferences where they predicted that Microsoft NT would only get to 10% of market share by 1998. I still have the document.

    I'll read zdnet blogs, infoworld, pc mag, & bob x. cringely and make up my own mind these days. Gartner is just a big expensive "boys club" for execs who really don't know/do this stuff on an everyday basis. And of all those predictions (as Dan reasonably hedges), "semantic connectivity" will be a big dud. The "semantic web"...the new Tower of Babel.
    mgardner
  • If I believed Gartner in 1992...

    I'd be working on a DEC workstation right now!

    I used to pay $9k a year for them as an IT Director back then. I went to one of their conferences where they predicted that Microsoft NT would only get to 10% of market share by 1998 and that HP (HPUX/PA), IBM (AIX/RS6000), and Sun (Solaris/SPARC) would rule the universe. Linux wasn't even on their radar (I think maybe the .9 version was available then). I still have the document.

    I'll read zdnet blogs, infoworld, pc mag, & bob x. cringely and make up my own mind these days. Gartner is just a big expensive "boys club" for execs who really don't know/do this stuff on an everyday basis. And of all those predictions (as Dan reasonably hedges), "semantic connectivity" will be a big dud. The "semantic web"...the new Tower of Babel.

    These guys are all over-payed, over-hyped, suits who never get it right. Go talk to your programmers and ask them what they're playing with on their machines at home (Linux, PHP, Apache, etc)...they are your future, not Gartner!
    mgardner
  • If I believed Gartner in 1992...

    I'd be working on a DEC workstation right now!

    I used to pay $9k a year for them as an IT Director back then. I went to one of their conferences where they predicted that Microsoft NT would only get to 10% of market share by 1998 and that HP (HPUX/PA), IBM (AIX/RS6000), and Sun (Solaris/SPARC) would rule the universe. Linux wasn't even on their radar (I think maybe the .9 version, if that, was even available then). I still have their document for hysterical purposes and show it often to others when the wax poetic about Gartner/META.

    I'll read zdnet blogs, infoworld, pc mag, & bob x. cringely and make up my own mind these days. Gartner is just a big expensive "boys club" for execs who really don't know/do this stuff on an everyday basis. And of all those predictions (as Dan reasonably hedges), "semantic connectivity" will be a big dud. The "semantic web"...the new Tower of Babel.

    These guys are all over-payed, over-hyped, suits who never get it right. Go talk to your programmers and ask them what they're playing with on their machines at home (Linux, PHP, Apache, etc)...they are your future, not Gartner!
    mgardner
  • If I believed Gartner in 1992...

    I'd be working on a DEC workstation right now!

    I used to pay $9k a year for them as an IT Director back then. I went to one of their conferences where they predicted that Intel/Microsoft NT would only get to 10% of market share by 1998 and that HP (HPUX/PA), IBM (AIX/RS6000), and Sun (Solaris/SPARC) would rule the universe. Linux wasn't even on their radar (I think maybe the .9 version, if that, was even available then). I still have their document for hysterical purposes and show it often to others when the wax poetic about Gartner/META.

    I'll read zdnet blogs, infoworld, pc mag, & bob x. cringely and make up my own mind these days. Gartner is just a big expensive "boys club" for execs who really don't know/do this stuff on an everyday basis. And of all those predictions (as Dan reasonably hedges), "semantic connectivity" will be a big dud. The "semantic web"...the new Tower of Babel.

    These guys are all over-payed, over-hyped, suits who never get it right. Go talk to your programmers and ask them what they're playing with on their machines at home (Linux, PHP, Apache, etc)...they are your future, not Gartner!
    mgardner
  • If I believed Gartner in 1992...

    I'd be working on a DEC workstation right now!

    I used to pay $9k a year for them as an IT Director back then. I went to one of their conferences where they predicted that Intel/Microsoft NT would only get to 10% of market share by 1998 and that HP (HPUX/PA), IBM (AIX/RS6000), and Sun (Solaris/SPARC) would rule the universe. Linux wasn't even on their radar (I think maybe the .9 version, if that, was even available then). I still have their document for hysterical purposes and show it often to others when the wax poetic about Gartner/META.

    I'll read zdnet blogs, infoworld, pc mag, & bob x. cringely and make up my own mind these days. Gartner is just an big expensive "boys club" for "suits" who really don't know/do this stuff on an everyday basis. And of all those predictions (as Dan reasonably hedges), "semantic connectivity" will be a big dud. The "semantic web"...the new Tower of Babel.

    These guys are all over-payed, over-hyped, suits who never get it right. Go talk to your programmers and ask them what they're playing with on their machines at home (Linux, PHP, Apache, etc)...they are your future, not Gartner!
    mgardner
  • I apologize for all the extra posts...

    My mistake...I screwed up...just read the last one.
    mgardner
  • Actually it is 2014 and it's EPIC

    Time flies - man wills it or not.
    Six months ago I got this as a link and laughed.
    www.broom.org/epic
    And then I thought about it and shuddered.
    And Google search is real. And Wikipedia bought 'Encyclopedia Briatnnica' the 1st of April (not real). And free culture has rallies in South America. And The NY Times almost to the day starts migrating to online paid access. And 'Cities' start realizing that their health and economy depends on access. And the retrograde forces of entrenched business cry foul. And And good quality copies of movies appear the day they are released. And 'Congress' considers laws to hide the information bought with taxpayer money so 'business' doesn't have government competition.
    And three housholds in a neighbohood can mesh their DSL/Cable connection with wireless and serve 30+ users. And now 'Gartner' says convergence is coming. Gee, who told them.
    The fight won't be about convergence. It will be about the dinosaurs 'Phone' and 'Cable' thinking they can save their monopolies and trying to trample us while they do it.

    The 'Internet' was designed to be resilient, self repairing, and wireless gets around that single point of failure/choke point the jack in the wall.
    It is going to be a lot of fun mixed with a lot of pain for those who resist change.
    plumley@...