In the near future, experts say the average Internet connection speeds will be a lot faster: a gigabit per second. That's equal to 1,000 megabits. But we aren't there yet. Pew Research reported:
"Globally, cloud service provider Akamai reports that the average global connection speed in quarter one of 2014 was 3.9 Mbps, with South Korea reporting the highest average connection speed, 23.6 Mbps and the US at 10.5 Mbps."
In the United States, only selected areas have super-fast connections:
"... Google ran a competition in 2010 for communities to pitch themselves for the construction of the first Google Fiber network running at 1 gigabit per second... Kansas City was chosen among 1,100 entrants and residents are now signing up for the service. The firm has announced plans to build a gigabit network in Austin, Texas, and perhaps 34 other communities. In response, AT&T has said it expects to begin building gigabit networks in up to 100 US cities.The cities of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Lafayette, Louisiana; and Bristol, Virginia, have super speedy networks, and pockets of gigabit connectivity are in use in parts of Las Vegas, Omaha, Santa Monica, and several Vermont communities..."
Of course, the scientific and military communities are already using super-fast connections. How might consumers use this faster speeds? And, the Internet of Things (ioT) will suck up some of this faster bandwidth as more Internet-connected homes and appliances -- often referred to as smart homes -- along with connected cities.
Pew Research polled 1,464 experts in private industry and academia, and asked them what they thought that the coming killer apps would be between now and 2025. The experts' predictions were grouped into several themes:
"1. People’s basic interactions and their ability to ‘be together’ and collaborate will change in the age of vivid telepresence—enabling people to instantly ‘meet face-to-face’ in cyberspace with no travel necessary.
2. Augmented reality will extend people’s sense and understanding of their real-life surroundings and virtual reality will make some spaces, such as gaming worlds and other simulated environments, even more compelling places to hang out.
3. The connection between humans and technology will tighten as machines gather, assess, and display real-time personalized information in an ‘always-on’ environment. This integration will affect many activities—including thinking, the documentation of life events (‘life-logging’), and coordination of daily schedules.
4. Specific economic and social sectors will be especially impacted; health/medicine and education were mentioned often.
5. New digital divides may open as people gain opportunities on different timelines and with different tools.
6. Who knows? ‘I have no idea due to rapid change.’ ‘The best Internet apps are yet to emerge.’ ‘If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you, I would invest in it!’
7. Advances will be gradual for various reasons: Bandwidth is not the issue. The US will lag because a widespread gigabit network is not easily achieved."
Some high-level predictions:
"Massive change is likely to impact cities, and 3D video and printing will advance... Sensors will be everywhere, contributing to information visualizations... ‘Cloud immigrants’ will appear as holograms and compete for jobs... People will learn more about themselves and ‘avoid coercive marketing’... Bye-bye phones: Devices will manage things machine-to-machine... "Apps" Will Be So Over By 2025... Machines will have ‘more-complex intelligence’ and decision-making capability"
If history is to be a guide, look to military, advertising, porn, and gambling sectors for emerging "killer apps" and underlying technologies. Expect to see a lot more augmented reality and more robust holograms in a lot more places besides advertisements. Sadly, none of the themes directly addressed the high cost of Internet connections in the USA compared to other countries. And, number five is a troubling prediction. Several experts commented that not only will the poor be left behind, but also other groups.
How would you like to use faster Internet connection speeds?