LIVE FROM CES ASIA, SHANGHAI: Advances in computing power and connectivity are starting to blur the distinction between peoples’ online and offline identities, with the smartphone bridging the shrinking gap between the two.
Kevin Ho (pictured below), president of Huawei’s handset group, said that as technology evolves and all devices become intelligent, “we’re moving to the point where we will have a parallel digital world that mirrors the analogue world”.
Ho, who gave the keynote address at CES Asia in Shanghai this morning, said the rate of technological change has accelerated to a level that our world today would be unrecognisable, and probably quite frightening, to a person living just 100 years ago.
The smartphone will bridge the gap between the physical and virtual worlds, and will enable integration across vertical industries, Ho said. “As computing power continues to increase, the digital world will learn from analytics and develop ubiquitous intelligence.”
Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research at event organiser Consumer Technology Association, echoed that belief in his presentation on tech trends to watch.
DuBravac said that as automation and immersive technologies improve and the computing environment becomes context aware, we’ll see a convergence of peoples’ digital and physical identities. “Historically, we were either online or offline, but those lines are blurring significantly. Over the next two to four years we’ll see much of that dissipate.”
Huawei’s Ho said it has been ramping up its investment not just to enhance device features but also to integrate the smartphone across vertical sectors, such as sports and health, smart homes, connected vehicles and the overall IoT space.
“Our goal is to deliver a holistic experience for consumers across our devices as well as our partners’.” But the move to the smart home, which has been talked about for years, he said, has been constrained and the speed of development is not fast enough due to the lack of an open environment.
Latency is the issue
Ho noted that real-time capability has always been the goal for mobile operators, but while download speeds have improved dramatically with the shift from 3G to 4G, latency is still a problem for many emerging applications.
Latency rates of up to 100ms won’t be able to support Internet of Things (IoT) applications such as autonomous vehicles and remote health care. “It needs to be pushed down to 1-2ms. Our target is to realise zero latency, and not just on handsets, but also across the network up to the cloud.”
Wang Jie, CEO of VR hardware maker 3glasses, noted in a panel discussion that VR is sensitive to latency, so it has to use a wire to connect the headset.