These days, it’s common knowledge that we carry around more computing power in our pocket than was used to put a man on the moon. Whether that’s literal or apocryphal, it’s a pretty clear indicator of how the growth of computing power allows modern culture to thrive.
But, each time technology on paper starts pushing toward mainstream, computer engineers have to discover a new way to create even more computing power. This was true when business computers became personal computers, and again through the laptop-to-smartphone-to-tablet evolution.
The New Generation of Technology
Now, when just about everyone in the tech sector sees self-driving cars and VR as the next generation of tech, another quantum leap in computing power must be made. R&D is one thing, but that requires funding. And funding requires buy-in … and that takes successful PR, whether it’s wooing investors or attracting public attention. And it also takes the equivalent of a virtual “village.”
In the end, it will take several different companies working together to create various parts of a technological system that simply doesn’t exist … at least not yet.
Recently, AT&T threw down the gauntlet when it announced plans to use what it calls “edge computing” as well as 5G speeds to transition data processing into the cloud, where the new tech would be better supported. In a statement, AT&T called edge computing, “like having a wireless super-computer follow you wherever you go…”
Augmented Reality Interfaces
While that sounds a bit Orwellian, even to the most dedicated tech consumer, it’s an apt description of a system that will eschew sending data to centers hundreds of miles away in order to bounce that data off towers and offices located much closer to end users. The idea here is to remove delays in experience, one of the biggest complaints – and barriers – to a true augmented reality interface.
Put simply, closer proximity means shorter relay times. Combined with faster processing, that could mean closing in on a nearly seamless interface between the user and the VR. At least, that’s the idea. Programmers dream of experiencing something like the Holodeck from Star Trek, the Next Generation.
While bringing this idea to fruition still sounds like only science fiction to many, consider that a lot of the equipment we now use on a daily basis looks a lot like the tech imagined in even earlier iterations of that show. And, while it’s pretty fair to say humanity won’t have Holodecks anytime soon, AT&T does expect to launch Edge Computing in rural areas in a few years.