Convergence


The headlines scream with news of ‘frenzied demand’ and ‘swamped retailers’.

 

Apple’s latest version of its converged mobile device the iPhone has just hit the UK shops – and customers are literally fighting to get their hands on a device. So, why is there such demand?

 

A healthy dose of media hype helps, of course. Create a big enough buzz and people will start to become curious.

 

But beyond the build-up, demand for the iPhone is representative of a step in a crucial direction: convergence.

 

Empty your pockets. As well as your keys and wallet, there’s a good chance you carry a collection of digital devices, such as a phone, handheld computer and other access devices, including a travel card or security pass.

 

Carrying such devices can be a weighty task. But a helping hand comes in the form of convergence – an approach to mobility that is helping users integrate devices and access information on the move.

 

Devices, such as the iPhone, bring together mobile networking and computing to offer the user a broad series of applications.

 

Users are keen to buy into converged technology, even as the effects of the downturn continue to bite.

 

Sales of mobile smartphones are expected to grow by as much as 14 per cent this year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

 

Convergence isn’t just confined to mobile handsets. Take the area of payment card systems, for example.

 

Barclaycard runs a contactless card technology that allows people to purchase goods in shops and to buy Oyster units for travel on the London Underground.

 

For even more remarkable examples of convergence, turn to the kitchen and take a look at the Whirlpool Polara. The kitchen appliance combines the heat of an oven, the cooling of a fridge and the smart approach of contemporary technology – so that a meal can be kept fresh and cooked in time for dinner.

 

Now I just need some willing provider to converge a smartphone and a payment card system. Then the weight will be really off my pockets.


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