IMAGINING THE FUTURE: a look into the technology crystal ball for 2015 and beyond

IMAGINING THE FUTURE: a look into the technology crystal ball for 2015 and beyond

Tomorrow’s future: today?
Publication: Contact Magazine
Topic: What’s next for 2015

Author: Dave Newbold, Chief Operating and Technical Officer

We’ve all heard the technology cliché in terms of how quickly it moves and innovation unfolds. In this case, the cliché is true: many of the tools that we reach for unconsciously every day have gone from concept to widespread use at lightning speed. In just ten years institutional tech giants like Facebook (created in 2004), Twitter (2006), the iPhone (2007), Dropbox (2008) and the iPad (2010) seem to dominate our worlds.

For this reason it’s fair to predict that the next steps in innovation will be just as fundamental and develop just as fast. If we imagine how quickly the idea of wearable technology became a reality, it’s not hard to see how the latest trend of Smart payment systems promises to make our life easier and will equally make us even more reliant on our devices.

Likewise, with the growth of Machine-to-Machine tech or the “The Internet of Things”: it won’t be long before your fridge will be talking to your online supermarket to restock itself; your teenagers cars will be tracked wherever they go, and your heating will respond automatically to the weather – in fact we’re almost there. Future technologies ultimately promise the convenience to enable you to do more of the things you want to do, when you want to do them.

However, what underpins all of this isn’t just innovation in terms of design and function. Nor is it down to the reach of globalised markets, meaning the same technology and applications that sit on your phone, will also sit on the handset of a student in California, an office manager in Singapore or a street cleaner in Tokyo. It’s actually something more basic and fundamental; which is the availability and provision of fast, robust, data connections.

The right infrastructure as an essential

This is where service providers, such as JT play a vital role. By understanding and anticipating where the future of technology is heading, we can ensure we build the networks that will support our customers’ needs now and in the future. Of course, installing new and robust infrastructure takes time and budget, which is why we also need that foresight to be sure that what we provide not only meets the demands of our customers today, but that it will grow with our customers’ needs, as demand requires it to.

It’s for these reasons that two of JT’s developments and investments next year centre on delivering this very promise; our commitment to extend our fibre-optic network in Guernsey and alongside this; introduce a completely new 4G network across the Channel Islands.

Not everyone agrees. Some telcos around the world are investing in trying to ‘squeeze’ more life out of their existing copper connections, but the reality is that copper networks were originally designed to only support a landline service, not high-speed broadband. Perhaps a little more capacity can be pulled out of them, but they are limited by the basic laws of physics. That’s why we believe the future is fibre.

With regards to our mobile network, it’s fair to say that the Channel Islands are three years behind the UK in introducing 4G – however, by waiting, technology has moved on and we’re now in a position able to install a state-of-the-art network that will provide our customers’ with a superior service compared to that in the UK.

Our 4G network, which we have just begun to install, is built on an LTE Advanced framework – that’s a technical specification that means our network will be faster, more reliable and more powerful than conventional 4G services. It also means that we can adapt more easily to the next generation of mobile data services as and when mobile technology inevitably progresses.

Two big trends – ones to watch

Other trends we’re seeing and expect to grow next year are the merging of seamless connectivity between mobile data, broadband and Wi-Fi.

Seamless connectivity means the ability to start watching a video on your tablet at work (through your office Wi-Fi), continue watching on your mobile while waiting for the bus (through your 4G connection) and then finish on your HD screen at home (through your fibre broadband connection). Indeed some of the latest handsets already have the technology and applications to power this – known as ‘miracasting’.

The streamlining of devices also looks as if it will become a big trend – there are people in my office who have three mobiles, a tablet and a laptop. Add to that the computing power in your Smart TV and desktop and there’s an awful lot of computing hardware that’s potentially redundant at any given time. We expect that to change to the point where we have just one device that is portable and one that isn’t, which in turn should also mean that it reduces costs for consumers too.

However the future unfolds, at JT our vision is to become the partner of choice for global telecommunication innovation and to ensure we anticipate and deliver on these technologies with one priority in mind; the needs of our customers.

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