Technologies to Watch: High Speed Wireless Data Transfer and Flexible Displays

IT and telecommunications staffs have their hands full with today's issues. But at least two technologies -- high-speed short-range networking and bendable displays -- will impact unified communications in the relatively near future.

By Carl Weinschenk | Posted Jun 2, 2010
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Current unified communications technologies and systems are a lot for IT and telecommunications departments to deal with. It is important, however, that these folks cast an eye a bit further down the road and see what is coming their way.

Over at IT Business Edge, I've recently worked on two pieces – a feature and a blog – that both speak to the future of UC, albeit a bit indirectly. It's all good news: Both technology paths will broaden and deepen the menu of technologies available to end users.

The feature dealt with the emerging high speed wireless networking technologies. The story grew out of the news that the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Wireless Gigabit Alliance had entered into a development agreement. The goal is for the WiGig technology to be part of the Wi-Fi Alliance's certification program. The WiGig Alliance also released its specification.

This is important because WiGig proposes to send a lot of data – as much as 7 Gigabits per second – wirelessly. That's far more than Bluetooth and existing wireless techniques, which are designed for much more basic and fundamental tasks. It's also enough to transmit high-definition video and data. This, of course, makes it a great potential addition to the UC menu.

The story points out that there are at least two other approaches, WirelessHD and the Wireless Home Digital Interface (WHDI), that also aim to transfer large quantities of data. Both are primarily aimed at consumer markets. The line between business and consumer platforms and techniques is porous, however. If equipment incorporating the standard makes it into commercialized gear, it will be used by businesses and be part of the UC landscape.

The blog post deals with a topic that is a bit further off. Big companies, including the likes of Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony, Apple, HP and LG, are behind efforts to make displays that are bendable, roll-able and foldable. These efforts are starting to pay off. Such advances will push the envelope on mobility. Mobility, as a central element of UC, will benefit as well.

Neither of these topics will have an impact in the very near future, and neither is being positioned solely as a UC tool. But both could have significant impact on UC in the mid-term future and, for that reason, should be watched closely.

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