Convergence definition

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Convergence is defined by different needs and different approaches. There is no one road to device convergence. Yet, that is the next big thing that all wireless players are knowingly or unknowingly working towards. Let me start this convergence series by what I mean by convergence devices.

Convergence can be looked at in two different ways -
  • It is the culmination of voice and data in a single mobile device
  • It is the confluence of various wireless technologies in a mobile device
The first view of convergence is more that a service provider or consumer. If data can be accessed through a mobile device, a multitude of service and application possibilities open up. Some examples include location-based services, mobile television etc. Essentially, your mobile device is moving away from being just a phone to meet more of your mobile needs in this information age.

The second view, which incidentally is closer to my heart today, is a technology provider perspective. All these services and applications are made possible by the different wireless technologies or radios in today's mobile device. The smart-phones today not just have cellular functionalities but are often equipped with bluetooth, WLAN and GPS for starters. The penetration of these so-called connectivity solutions will only increase in the future. Without the technological advances made to include multiple radios in a single hand-held, the applications are only a pipe-dream. Throw in a fast, low-power processor into the mix and this device doubles up as a computer too.

No matter which viewpoint you wish to side, the concept of convergence originates where the laptop meets the mobile phone. It is one device that can provide you mobility, internet, television, location-based services, music, camera and a host of other functions besides being your phone. If these ideas seem abstract, imagine a hybrid of the Apple iPhone and the Apple Macbook Air. That should give you a better picture.

With this as the background, in the next part of this series, I will discuss the radio technology components of convergence.

Posted by Vijay Nagarajan at 8:00 PM  

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