The meteoric rise of wireless will further accelerate in the new year, with expanded adoption of 4G, tablets, smartphones, and other technology in the consumer and enterprise markets.
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Slideshow: Microsoft's Windows 7 Phone Revealed
10. Mobile Payments (Finally!) Get Real
Making point-of-sale purchases with naught but a mobile phone has been a reality for years -- but not in the United States. In late 2010, a number of U.S. wireless network operators, along with banks such as Visa, agreed to work together to make mobile payments a reality. They formed a conglomerate called ISIS, which will use smartphones that have embedded near-field communications (NFC) chips inside in order to conduct contactless payments.
Google stepped into the fray with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which contains baked-in support for NFC. NFC takes advantage of a tiny radio embedded in a mobile device that only transmits when held in close proximity with another. They can be linked to credit card accounts to make instant payments with but a tap of the phone to an NFC reader.
Now that the large U.S. operators, Google, and Visa are fully behind making this happen, expect to see NFC readers show up in your local convenience store.
11. One Contract -- Many Devices
One problem with the growing number of connected devices is paying for those connections. Smartphone owners cough up a lot of money each year for their data connections. Why should they have to pay more to add connectivity to a second device. They may not have to.
Carriers, including Verizon Wireless and Sprint, have hinted that things may change. They are looking into the idea of selling network access to one person, who can use that network access from a number of different devices. Pricing models for this type of service haven't been suggested yet, but it would be a benefit to consumers and enterprises alike when it comes to managing the cost of telecommunications.
InformationWeek Elite 100Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
The UC Infrastructure TrapWorries about subpar networks tanking unified communications programs could be valid: Thirty-one percent of respondents have rolled capabilities out to less than 10% of users vs. 21% delivering UC to 76% or more. Is low uptake a result of strained infrastructures delivering poor performance?