Telephone landlines will disappear from the workplace within five years, and personal computers are also likely to go, according to a survey of senior IT officers that also found doubts about the tablet computer’s long-term prospects.
The poll, carried out for British internet and wireless provider Virgin Media Business, found 65 per cent of chief information officers believe the landline will disappear from offices within the next five years, while 62 per cent said the same thing about PCs.
“The pace of change with technology is having a transformative effect on the way we work,” Virgin Media COO Tony Grace said, as quoted at the Daily Telegraph. “A decade ago it would have been unthinkable to suggest an office without telephones. Now it’s hard to imagine being separated from our smartphones.”
The survey’s results may not come as much of a surprise given the obvious and rapid changes in communication technology in recent years.
But some of the findings were less expected: Nearly one-quarter -- 24 per cent -- of respondents said they expected tablet computers like the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab to disappear from the workplace as well. That suggests tech experts are still not entirely convinced the new technology will last in the long term.
Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, Craig Mundie, expressed that doubt about tablets at a 2011 conference, when he told the crowd he believed the smartphone “will become your most personal computer” while laptops will become “portable desks,” leaving little room for the tablet.
But for a soon-to-be obsolete technology, tablets sure are selling fast. Tech research group Gartner Inc. forecasts that worldwide tablet sales will double in 2012. In Canada, tablet sales tripled in 2011, according to Media Technology Monitor.
In the U.S., Forrester Research predicts that tablet sales will more than quadruple from 2010 to 2015, rising to 44 million tablets sold per year.
But the death of the telephone landline is in less doubt. A recent study found nearly one-third of U.S. households are now cellphone-only. Canadians are hanging on to their landlines somewhat more -- only 13 per cent of homes were cellphone-only in 2010, according to Statistics Canada, but that was up from eight per cent in 2008. And among the under-35 crowd, half of households no longer have a landline.
Futurologist Peter Cochrane told the Daily Telegraph he expects the entire traditional telephone infrastructure to disappear once fibre-optic cables are in place for that crucial “last mile” of cable to homes and offices.
"The public switch telephone network will be closed down, it's about as relevant as morse code,” he said. “Optical fibre will replace landlines and most devices will connect using wireless. But the landlines can't go until there is wireless connectivity to replace it. There won't be wireless connectivity to replace it until there is optical fibre available to offices and homes in sufficient density."
Corning's 'A Day Made of Glass...'
Corning makes the super-strong "Gorilla Glass" that might cover your smartphone's touchscreen. (The company's customers include Samsung, Dell, Sony and LG). No wonder, then, that the glass manufacturer's vision of the future involves a lot of glass, and a lot of touchscreens on that glass. All touchscreens everywhere, shouts Corning! We shout: "Cool!"
Nokia Kinetic Device
Though <a href="http://events.nokia.com/nokiaworld/" target="_hplink">the Nokia World 2011 Conference</a> was held to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/26/nokia-lumia-800-videos_n_1032335.html" target="_hplink">announce the Finnish handset-maker's new Windows Phones</a>, a lot of the conversation from bloggers centered on Nokia's Kinetic Device, a prototype of a smartphone that was operated by bending and twisting (rather than pinching-to-zoom, which dominates today). <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/30/samsung-to-offer-flexible-displays-in-2012-challenges-nokia-to/" target="_hplink">Samsung recently announced</a> that it is preparing to release flexible devices in 2012; so, if you're in the market for a smartphone, get ready to twist again, like we will next year. Worth watching, if only to hear the adorable Nokia engineer proclaim, "I'M FROM FINLAND, AND WE HAVE LONG, CHILLY WINTER."
While we wish this video had been <a href="http://youtubedoubler.com/?video1=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch?feature%3Dplayer_embedded%26v%3Db3txQs7jEJ4&start1=&video2=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch?v%3D3ArhZPYplFk&start2=&authorName=gilbertjasono" target="_hplink">synced up with a certain unforgettable Ludacris single</a>, this concept laptop can roll out like paper towels, power supply and all.
After showing off that Kinetic Device at Nokia World 2011, Nokia <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/10/nokia-humanform-future-smartphone-video_n_1086517.html" target="_hplink">followed up with this thought-piece</a> of a video, which displayed a graphically-rendered futuristic smartphone called "HumanForm." Like the Kinetic Device, it emphasizes bends, twists and touch buttons all over the place (on the front, on the side, on the back -- <em>everywhere</em>).
Microsoft's 3D HoloDesk
This video has no sound, but it doesn't really need any: Just LOOK at what's going on inside Microsoft's prototype HoloDesk, which, besides being a great tool to practice juggling, also looks like a neat way to learn physics and work on on tactile projects with remote collaborators.
The Future Of Video Game Graphics
Gaming animation and Fx firm Janimation showed off the future of computer graphics, especially facial graphics, in this video from May. It might take a couple seconds for your eyes to adjust, but yes: You are looking at an animation and not a real human being when the video starts. Remember how revolutionary the first <em>Toy Story</em> was? This guy makes the kid Andy look about as real as Barney the Dinosaur.
Paper-Thin Concept Smartphone
In May we got a glimpse of this paper-thin concept smartphone, which through the use of bending and a nifty printed circuit board was able to act simultaneously as mp3 player, cell phone and, with its thinness, bookmark.
Vision Of The Future From 3M
3M's vision of the future includes a flexible and transparent gaming device, a really cool-looking washing machine and even a Connect Four made of clear glass. No, don't drop that red piece there! Ah, shoot. Too late.
OmniTouch With Touchscreens On Any Surface
Using technology from the Kinect gaming system, a research team made of developers from Microsoft and Carnegie-Mellon University revealed in October that they've come up with a system that can turn virtually any surface into a touchscreen. <a href="http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/38933/" target="_hplink">Per MIT's Technology Review</a>: <blockquote>OmniTouch works by bringing together a miniature projector and an infrared depth camera, similar to the kind used in Microsoft's Kinect game console, to create a shoulder-worn system designed to interface with mobile devices such as smart phones</blockquote>
Smartphone With Pico Projector
This one is a little more imminent and much more realistic, as it actually exists. Check out this smartphone rigged up with a pico projector that puts your Android or iOS interface on any surface you please. Right now the thing is a little bulky to jam into your jeans pocket (especially if you're wearing skinny jeans) but <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/18/apple-patents-concepts-designs_n_925401.html#s328317&title=3D_Holographic_Projector" target="_hplink">if Apple's 2006 patent proves fruitful</a>, this one could be right around the corner.
Microsoft Future Vision
Microsoft is not shy about releasing its vision of a techie future, and this Future Vision might be its most grandiloquent statement yet. Behold this seamlessly edited look at how the company envisions its products to evolve in the office, in the home and on the go. <em>Minority Report</em> comparisons abound. I, for one, can't wait to get my multilingual eyeglasses.