The adoption of connected technology is accelerating. It was less than twenty years ago when homes and businesses started to experience the World Wide Web, over slow dial-up connections, tethered by a cable. Since then the diversity and complexity of technology has exploded, with just about every device – from the home office to the living room – equipped with Wi-Fi capability.
While untethered notebook computers have been an important part of that shift, it is the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets that has truly unleashed a revolution of wireless innovation. According to Strategy Analytics, 61% of American households have a Wi-Fi network. Facebook crossed the 1 billion active monthly user mark globally (with an increasing number of users accessing social networks wirelessly), and in a single week in 2011, 1.2 billion apps were downloaded with no CD-ROM or physical connection required.
As the diagram below shows, we are in a post-PC, wireless world:
Yet, despite the effort of technology companies to make life easier for consumers and small businesses, it has become more complicated to get our gadgets and devices to work together. According to Parks Associates (2012), 67 million consumer households experienced a computer technology problem while Microsoft (2012) noted that 45% of small businesses have no dedicated IT staff to help them with technology challenges.
While problems with hackers attacking consumers and small businesses with viruses and spyware remain, there is an increasing frequency of problems related to setting up and getting devices connected to wireless networks. And getting devices connected to a network is just the start – the real value comes from devices connecting to each other, and to cloud services.
We’ve witnessed this transformation first-hand as we’ve worked with some of the nation’s largest providers of technology services. The interconnection of devices and cloud services is triggering tremendous innovation from companies across the Internet and CE ecosystems, and that innovation will only accelerate. The challenge in front of us is helping consumers and small businesses realize the benefit of technology innovation without being turned off by the frustration of getting everything to work correctly.
For those attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in early January it will be more important to understand how gadgets will work together rather than what a gadget does in isolation.