Omnirelevance | Long before 2076, wireless/networked consumer electronics will become so ubiquitous that they will no longer be marketed for their features, but for their omnirelevance—that is, how a brand impacts the lifestyle and longevity of the buyer. Omnirelevance is built around an understanding of the customers' 'journey to a brand' by maintaining relevance in the face of increasing brand competition. (Image source: Globant) What are your predictions for the future of wireless?
Artificial neural networks | Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are the only technology capable of solving tough multi-variable problems in nondeterministic polynomial time—called NP complete (although quantum computers too are said to be able to solve NP complete problems but have yet to fulfill that promise). ANNs, on the other hand, are easily constructed to solve NP complete problems with mixed-signal materials (such as memristors), as well as with emulating digital networks, such as IBM's True North. Deep learning, which merely means an ANN with many layers, is the latest catch phrase, but by 2076 superconducting ANNs, whether mixed signal, all digital, or quantum based, will be the smartest artificial intelligences in the universe. The good news is that they will not take over the jobs of humans, but will extend their capabilities by being in constant wireless contact with human implants, allowing them to turn even average intellectuals into Einsteins, and Einsteins into demigods.
Intrusion tolerant networks | In the future, networks will become 'intrusion tolerant' by adopting a message system that effectively oversees the underlying communications to prevent malicious software from executing. Illustrated above is the intrusion tolerant network designed by Johns Hopkins University to prove the concept of preventing sabotage from disrupting major infrastructure such as power grids and the cloud. Johns Hopkins, in collaboration with Northeastern and Purdue as well as Spread Concepts LLC and LTN Global Communications, developed this approach over the course of five years. Intrusion tolerance protects a network and keeps it running essential services even during an attack. Called the “first practical intrusion-tolerant network service,” this model will be deployed on a global scale long before 2076. As the first network service that can overcome sophisticated attacks and compromises, it has undergone evaluation and validation in tests that ran for nearly a year using the LTN Global Communications cloud. The test showed success, but the price will have to be reduced for vital infrastructure networks such as power grids and commercial clouds.
RFID tags | Wireless RF identification (RFID) tags began as espionage tools invented by Léon Theremin for the Soviet Union to retransmit incident audio—in other words as passive 'bugs.' In 1945 when they were invented, sound waves vibrated a diaphragm which altered the shape of a radio-frequency resonator thus modulated it. Even though this device was a covert listening device, it inspired the current generation of passive RFID tags that are proliferating wildly—from inventory tracking to finding lost pets. By 2076, every device manufactured will have a built-in RFID capability so that no piece of equipment will ever be lost again (of course also spawning a black-market industry of how to defeat them).
5G to 10G | If we assume that 5G bands and networks will begin replace 4G by 2020, and that the next generations beyond that will come along at roughly decade intervals, then by 2076 we will be at 10G. None of the analysts to whom I spoke would commit to predicting anything 60 years out from now, so I'm going out on a limb here; get ready for a wild ride. 5G's stated goals are to more efficiently manage the entire spectrum—from ultra-sonic to ultra-violet light—rather than continue concentrating on the 2.4-GHz band designed to cook meat in microwave ovens and already affecting the health of humans working too close to microwave towers. In addition to faster data rates (up to one gigahertz, 1-GHz), 5G also aims for lower battery consumption, lower outages, better coverage, lower latency, lower infrastructure costs, higher scalability, and more reliable communications. What could 6-to-10G add: connectivity with household devices (thus eliminating the tangle of wires behind every desk, TV, and home entertainment console), peer-to-peer communication (to reduce backbone congestion), compatible protocols among every band, integration with Li-Fi networks (that use LED signaling for communications), and low-orbit satellite integration for back-haul. (Image source: Xilinx and BEEcube)
Software-defined radio | Today smartphones and other wireless devices, such as machine-to-machine (M2M) IoT devices must cope with all the multiple bands used for the same functions in different countries (and sometimes in different regions of the same country). That means as many as a dozen RF front-ends in the same device. In the future, however, software-defined radios will lessen that burden by allowing a single radio to be tuned to a variety of bands, leaving multiple RF front-ends on for bands that must run simultaneously (such as LTE, Bluetooth, and WiFi). The world's first commercial software-defined radio is already here from Silicon Labs which supports FM, HD Radio, and Digital Audio Radio (DAB/DAB+) broadcasts. However, in the future any RF band will be available in a software-defined radio that allows the designer to build-in automatic changing of frequencies as people travel the globe.
Remote control | All remote controls will be voice controlled long before 2076, using technologies such as Texas Instruments' new voice control solutions for remotes. As part of its SimpleLink ultra-low power platform, it was specifically created to help developers easily add ultra-low power Bluetooth low energy, ZigBee RF4CE (radio frequencies for consumer electronics) or even combined multi-standard connectivity to voice controlled remotes for TVs, set-top boxes and other consumer electronics. Multi-standard devices can use TI's CC2650, which combines both RF transmitters or use the same boards for multiple products using only one of the RF transmitters. Voice-activated RF commands such as search, gesturing and pointing also save power compared to the infrared remotes used today. (Image source: Texas Instruments)
Wearables | Today, according to a national survey on wearable technology devices, consumers concider accuracy the most important feature of wearables. More than half of those who do not own a wearable, however, will consider buying one in the future when accuracy is improved. Look for wearables to take over every wireless and networking application as accuracy improves every year, according to Valencell—the biometric data sensor technology company. (Image source: Valencell)
Graphene transistors | IBM's three-stage graphene RF receiver integrated circuit shows (in the top box) the enlarged scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of an integrated circuit. Look closely to see the successful integration of all key RF components (inductor, capacitor, and graphene field-effect transistor—FET). Note (in the bottom box) a single chip which contains a dozen graphene RF integrated circuits per chip, allowing wireless devices, like smartphones, to require only a single 2-by-2 centimetre RF front-end. (Image source: IBM)
Flexible smartphones | Flexibility will be an option on all components in the future so that devices can be shaped for different purposes. The Nokia flexible, transparent smartphone shown above can be shaped into a wrist bracelet or be flattened out for desktop use. The small insert ring allows the user to view functions, such as who is calling, without taking the entire phone out of ones briefcase, backpack, or handbag. The white ring can be worn on the wrist or clipped to a carry-bag strap or another convenient wearable. (Photo source: Nokia)