Nowadays, video communication has reached a point of maturation as TV’s support Skype video conferencing and smartphones are capable of delivering HD quality videos. These are all part of larger phenomenons such as TV content personalization, second screen applications and TV everywhere. In addition, motion and gesture control, as well as 3D telepresence, have all become a reality. But where are these technologies leading us? What will our offices or living rooms look like as we head into the future?
One of the participants of the Virtual Conference was Joe Burton, Chief Technology Officer at Plantronics. Mr, Burton is responsible for setting and driving Plantronics’ technology direction and leading the company’s global engineering teams and programs. Before joining Plantronics, Joe held several key executive, engineering leadership and architecture-level positions at Polycom, Cisco, and Active Voice.
Most recently, Joe was EVP, CTO, Chief Strategy Officer, and General Manager for Service Provider at Polycom where he led Polycom’s long-term strategic agenda and next-generation focus areas. He is the author of several communications patents and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Reynolds College in New York.
In his presentation, 2025: A view of things to come, Joe offered an analysis of what our lives will look like in 2025. His analysis is based on the assumption that by 2025 there will be 50 billion internet connected devices in the world. Joe examined how this amazing statistic will affect the way we work, play and even receive medicine.
Today’s smart devices have become so advanced that they actually “know us”. Our smart devices have the ability to learn our preferences, routine, areas of interest and even where we are each minute of the day. This has all given way to the delivery of personalized information and tools. Joe refers to this personalization as “contextual awareness”.
Contextual awareness comes into play when we search our iPhone for nearby coffee shops while standing in the middle of Prague. Our smart device needs to understand that we are no longer in our home or workplace but are actually halfway round of the world. In addition, our smartphone has to know what time of the day it is. Otherwise, he might send us to a charming yet closed Cafe.
Contextual awareness has been taken to the next level by the growing use of sensors. Accelerometers placed in our cars, on our laptops or even on our body have the ability to analyze our movement. Other sensors can measure the temperature outdoors or inside the house as well as measure our heart rate. Given their affordable price and miniature size, it is expected that such sensors will become an integral part of our lives and will even begin to communicate with our smart devices thereby adding to the contextual awareness.
Creating a link between all our internet connected devices, such as smartphones, tablets, TVs and even refrigerators, and an array of sensor, will give way to the next technological revolution- PAN: Personalized Area Network. According to Joe, an example of PAN is having your mobile phone “talk” to the heart sensor you are wearing. Once you hit the targeted heart rate of your physical exercise, your smartphone will lower the volume of music in your connected headsets in order to tell you that its time to start lowering your pace.
Joe expects, that the PAN revolution, coupled with cloud technology and the ability to store and analyze large amounts of information, will profoundly impact our lives by 2025 in areas such as health, education, commerce and entertainment.
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