The Wavefront Wireless Summits are well under way in downtown Vancouver this week and the event’s 500-plus attendees from around the world are findng themselves richly inspired by the seemingly limitless opportunities that lie before them thanks to advances in wireless technology.
Held at the gorgeous Marriott Pinnacle Hotel in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighbourhood, the Summits are tackling some of the most important topics in technology today, including mobile, big data, and the “internet of things.”
According to keynote speaker Jeff Seifert, the chief technology officer of Cisco Canada, the mobile revolution is the first wave of new technology where emerging markets are actually adopting the tech faster than developed countries; in these emerging markets, consumers are using their smartphones and tablets as their primary or only computing device, while in Canada we still cling to our laptops and desktops.
Seifert also suggested in his keynote that in the next 50 years, 90% of what we know will have been learned in the past 50 years—a far cry from today or especially hundred years ago when most information was not new, but passed down through generations. And according to him, by 2050 a personal computer costing $2,000 could boast the processing power of every human brain on earth combined. Today for $2,000 you can’t buy a computer with the processing power of even a single human brain.
The Cisco Canada CTO also pointed out how insanely small things are getting. Today there exists a computer that is a single cubic millimetre, and a camera of the same size capable of taking 250×250-pixel resolution photos. There’s also a sensor that is a fraction of that size. These tinier and tinier objects create new opportunities, especially in areas such as healthcare.
The wireless industry contributes more than $41 billion to Canada’s economy and it is forecasted that by 2020, there will be more than 50 billion connected devices globally for a population of 7.6 billion.
Speaking of connected devices, Sean Schneyer followed up Seifert’s fantastic kick-off keynote with one of his own that followed a similar theme but offered up even more thought-provoking stats. The director of emerging business at Ericsson, Schneyer pointed out the insane fact that the internet is a very young 8,400 days old—and that 99% of the world is still not meaningfully connected to it.
According to him, Ericsson’s take on the internet of things is a matter of “if,” not “when,” in terms of taking off: “anything that can benefit from being connected will eventually be connected.”