Data data everywhere and never the twain shall meet

Posted: April 11, 2011 in Convergence, Transparency
Tags: ,

Enough of the FAX machine. I want to return to the idea of segregation. Segregation, and consequently convergence, is a lot broader in scope than FAX machines and copiers. There is also data segregation. We have data on our desktop at home and data on our computer at work and data on our laptops and data on our phones. Remember the little locker folder from Microsoft that was supposed to aid with synchronizing your data? No? OK, I don’t remember much about it either. Today we synchronize through Google or Dropbox or MobileMe. This allows us to share some of our data across various devices. But segregation and hence upcoming convergence is broader than that. Whether it is a church directory, our checkbook, an old family recipe, or a list of To Do items we have data everywhere and much of it is physically compartmentalized. We are comfortable with this. Mankind has centuries of adaptation to this model. Just think of the traditional file cabinet. We place things in physical locations and then later, when we need them, we try to remember where they reside. I suspect most people reading this know that this is changing but do they understand how truly pervasive this trend is?

OK, now it’s time for a brief side trip so I can hint at what will be a major upcoming topic in future posts. I want to go back to the FAX machine. When the FAX started getting merged with the printer one thing that made the move successful was the low learning curve. The buttons on the multifunction printer were dedicated FAX buttons. With LCD displays this is now a little different but the concept is the same. Select FAX and the “buttons” are all there. This transparency of use, where there is little training and it is seemingly obvious how to operate a device is a major underlying trend today. Look around and think of all of the different interface systems you learn. There is the TV remote, the game system, the smartphone, and the computer. That’s just a start. Let’s move to the car where many have a complex interface be it IDRIVE or SYNC. Transparency of use, or the lack thereof, is broader than most understand. While related to the idea of ease of use, transparency is much bigger in scope and impact. Together with convergence these two trends are going to drive a major battle pitting many companies against each other and transforming how we use technology.

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