Seybold's Take: The future of wireless

Over the past few months, I have given a number of speeches to organizations and groups within various companies. One of the topics I am asked to cover, over and over again, is the future of wireless, starting with today and going out five to 10 years. I always protest when I am asked to include this in my presentations simply because there is no one in the world who knows for sure where we are heading or how we will get there.

There are some givens, for sure. LTE is the future of wireless broadband, but even then many people have expectations, planted by various companies, that LTE will provide about 50 Mbps data services. Guess what? It WON'T! It will be a lot faster than 3G services, and certainly much faster than what Clearwire is offering, but get the 50 Mbps idea out of your head as this will not happen except for in a lab where there is a 20 MHz wide LTE system and you are the only user.

But I always do end up putting in some slides about the future as I see it, and the good news is that in five years no one will remember if my predictions were right or wrong. Some of the future is easy to predict: We will have greater than 300 percent penetration of wireless devices because we will all have wireless devices for various functions including voice, broadband, perhaps an ebook reader, a personal navigation system, an MP3 player, a game console, and even collars for our dogs that will enable us to know where they are and command them to return home (as if they will listen).

But I also like to think about other types of devices such as a wireless router in our car. We can buy a portable device today but I envision a router built into the car that will not only can provide information access to those who are riding in the car, but will also provide diagnostics to the repair shop, and unfortunately, provide us with ads about things we simply cannot live without as we pass them on the highway. But when we get into our car--any car--our phone will be recognized and it will contain information about our mirror and seat settings, our favored temperature, music selection, and more. If it is the beginning of our commute time, the phone will talk to the navigation system in the vehicle and provide it with the best route, including our stop at Starbucks, and monitor weather and traffic as we travel to work...Continued

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