The pace of technological development never seems to stand still. It’s fascinating to watch over time as different technologies emerge, become accepted, are refined and finally converge, often only to begin the process over again. As communications technology itself improves, this four-step process seems to move ever-faster.
Emergence – Acceptance – Refinement - Convergence
Revolutionary new technologies are often enabled by the convergence of a number of existing accepted technologies. In its day, television was a revolution that changed the world that relied in part on the technologies of electricity and radio. The emergence of other revolutionary technologies, such as the original computers, the telephone, the cell phone, and the personal computer, have all had similar major impacts.
Once a new invention is widely accepted by the larger marketplace, it inevitably goes through a refinement process – better, faster, smaller and cheaper.
The final step in the evolution of technology is convergence. Devices and the ideas behind them often morph and merge in unexpected ways that could never have been foreseen by their inventors.
In many ways, communications technology seems to be converging right in our pockets in the form of the smart phone. Today’s cell phones have morphed into interfaces for Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube. The cell phone in your pocket is coming very close to anything you want it to be besides a phone – a GPS, a television, a radio, a stereo, a computer, a calculator, a gaming device, a personal locator beacon, and many other potential devices all rolled into one. It’s two-way access to friends, family, information, entertainment, and both personal and public data, all instantly available right in your pocket.
We are now at the point where the smart phone is gaining widespread acceptance. However, it won’t stop there. The smart phone concept itself is undergoing the same grinding evolutionary marketplace forces that brought it about in the first place – better, faster, smaller and cheaper. Who knows what it will eventually morph in to, or what future device it will itself become part of?
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