Sunday, April 29, 2007

A world of connections

The Economist has a good article on 'A world of connections' that looks at the rise in wireless interconnections and emerging ubiquitous computing:

So far the mobile phone has been getting all the attention. Around 2.8 billion are already in use, with a further 1.6m being added every day. The phones themselves are improving at a cracking pace. Yet this boom is also spilling over into other areas of wireless communications, used for linking machines, sensors and objects. “Everybody talks about the emerging markets being the big opportunity for the cellular industry in the next few years, but in the longer run there are going to be a lot more devices talking to each other,” says Paul Jacobs, the boss of Qualcomm, which makes mobile-phone chips.

This year around 10 billion microprocessors will be sold, embedded in anything from computers to coffee-makers. The vast majority of them will be able to “think” but not “talk”: they will perform specific tasks but cannot communicate. But this is now starting to change. The cost, size and power requirements of wireless functions are falling rapidly, so some unlikely candidates are now being connected to networks. For example, bridges and buildings are being monitored for structural integrity by small sensors. Farmland is being watched and irrigation systems are being switched on and off remotely.

In years to come, wireless communications will increasingly become part of the fabric of everyday life.

An informative read! (Thanks D.)


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