Technology surrounds us in the simplest and most complex areas, making our lives more productive and more connected. And tech is not just for NASA engineers, computer geeks and medical laboratory scientists. Tech is a big part of everybody’s life every day and in every way. It now finds a home with our beloved seniors (just ask my mother who is 78 years young and uses a BlackBerry, personal computer, email and, on occasion, Facebook).
Even many of today’s children are adopting a technophobia-free life by playing with educational tech toys. In fact, while socio-economic issues play a role in how residents in some neighborhoods access information and communications technology, the presence and science of these devices– – from cell phones to smartphones, from desktop computers to laptops and now tablets –– have grown in mind-bending ways.
The increasing desire for a “borderless lifestyle” – communication and entertainment where and when they want it–is pushing tech firms to introduce innovative, constantly improving products and services that are easier to tote and have greater, more sophisticated capabilities. Talking, texting, checking email, searching the Internet, watching video and playing games are just the beginning.
Today, you can see a person while you are talking with them on the phone; pay bills; watch movies and TV programs; and monitor energy systems and other devices in your residence – whether you’re doing so from your desktop at home or your wireless device – no matter where you are. And this list will only mushroom in the years to come.
The Internet truly has transformed the way we work, learn and play. Today, some 2.3 billion people worldwide are connected to the Internet. Network power, processing speeds and storage capacity are increasing at exponential rates.
These network-powered innovations–such as increased broadband speeds, sophisticated tablets and smartphones, and secure network applications–have created and empowered a new generation of educated and interactive consumers. The borders that once limited how we interact with each other have disappeared over the last decade. Consider: Facebook was started in 2004. YouTube hit the Web in 2005. And Twitter was created in 2006.
Today’s rapidly changing environment gives us an opportunity to actively support innovation, collaboration and integration. Tomorrow’s applications must flow seamlessly across integrated and intelligent networks to deliver anything to anyone, on any device–securely and reliably. Extending the power of virtually limitless broadband capacity to our customers through fiber is a core element of America’s strategy to fulfill that goal.
Again, we have an interesting vantage point at Verizon. The breadth and depth of the businesses we’re in give us a clear view of changing behaviors and future consumption. You might be surprised to know that as much as 70 percent of the world’s Internet traffic moves across our global network.
And, as we review that activity–both in the U.S. and globally–we’re seeing some interesting things:
Within the next two years, the average connected U.S. home will have 15 devices communicating in real-time and seamlessly to the Internet and demand is doubling every year.
In the three years since Congress authorized the healthcare bill, we’ve seen 57 percent of physicians adopt electronic medical records. Still, technology has yet to truly transform healthcare. We still have incompatible systems, poor interfaces and licensing and security issues. And, America’s $2.3 trillion bill for healthcare is still rising.
Global IP traffic is growing at a compound annual rate of 32 percent–basically quadrupling between 2010 and 2015. Video is the big driver here.
In this and future columns, I hope to provide helpful information that will explain the tech instruments, issues and industry in a language we all can understand so that more of us are able to reach our tech potential.
Tabb Bishop is Verizon’s vice president for state government affairs for the mid-Atlantic region.
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