We have a Time Machine. It is one way, moving 60 seconds an hour, 24 hours a day, into The Future. The Consumer Electronics Show is a window into The Future. Technology demonstrated there this week will be available to early-adopter consumers and businesses in the next year or two, and will be available at Costco soon thereafter. And it has at least one common theme – networks will have to be fast. Not just fast, but FAST.
Here are some examples:
- Vizio demonstrated 3D television sets with Internet and wireless capabilities.
- LG showed a mobile laptop which uses a fourth generation LTE (long-term evolution) wireless network to download data at 100 megabits per second and uploads at 50 mbps. Verizon and AT&T are testing these networks – Verizon’s pilot networks are in Seattle and Boston and they hope to be available for commercial use later this year. Note – LTE networks would typically have only 5 – 12 mbps available, but that’s still substantially faster than today’s networks.
- Panasonic demonstrated a ultra-high definition 152” plasma television (that’s 12 feet-plus diagonal measure). Ultra-high definition TV is 16 times the resolution of plain old high-definition, and is under development in Japan, Britain and elsewhere.
- Ford is developing http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/190319.asp?source=rss high speed televisions and video for its Sync in-car video systems.
- Then there are mobile digital televisions and mobile phones with digital TV built in.
But what does all this speed really get you in the real world?
For one thing, much faster two-way or multi-way video telephone or video conferencing, which means fewer commute trips in cars and less demand on other transportation such as plane trips across the country. That translates into less air pollution, less dependence on foreign oil (and need for foreign military expeditions) and less global warming. Then there is improved entertainment, interactive gaming, energy management, and much much more.
But it all depends on rapid deployment of LTE for wireless and fiber-to-the-premise for wired networks.
The Time Machine is taking us inexorably into this glitzy new future. But are our wireless and wired networks ready for this? Not in Seattle, certainly. We need a network vision to match our CES vision and here it is.
The Flux Capacitor is Fluxing. The Time Machine is Ready. Are we ready to build the networks we need?
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is ready, and we’re going to do it.