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Ride that wave!

Surf’s up for the communications industry – the next technological wave is about to break. By Mike Richardson.

Technology tends to come in waves. The first helps build the dreams, of those who ride it, but tends to crash all too soon. However, the ebb and flow builds a second wave that comes through slower, harder and lasts longer. At the crest of the wave ride the dreamers. In its path, a host of solution providers face their biggest technological challenges yet.
Head of Cambridge Consultants’ wireless division Richard Traherne says consumer needs will drive future products – and technology OEMs will have to follow. “Device novelty will not be nearly as important as the ability to deliver a meaningful, valuable and contextually relevant service effortlessly and in real time.”
Traherne reckons this shift in power will mean the product becomes less important than the functions – or services – embedded in it.
“The hunger for ‘on demand’ and ‘context aware’ services will drive the development of ever smarter devices that intelligently coordinate the provision of services according to an individual’s personal demand profile.”
One rapidly developing wireless technology is ZigBee. Ember’s ceo Robert LeFort says ZigBee wireless sense and control networks will meet demands for comfort and reduced consumption through improved control, but he sees a need to align the various stakeholders and solve the energy challenge.
“Although the solution exists, deployment and use requires loosely coupled stakeholders – such as regulators, politicians, utilities, component suppliers and consumers – to align for their common interests,” he stated.
Describing Ember’s road map, LeFort says there are three waves: proliferating current products and networks; adding new products to deployed infrastructure; and new products not thought possible today because the infrastructure did not exist.
“Someday, we’ll marvel at the products and services available for clean, efficient, energy management due to a globally ubiquitous ZigBee network – and a network of networks through the Smart Grid,” he announced.

Mike Richardson

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