Of course, if we were still on dial up and not broadband, things wouldn’t have changed quite so much! But with speeds still increasing at an amazing rate, what can we expect from broadband by 2020?
1) The multimedia experience
As broadband continues to improve in speed, the quality of the multimedia home experience will keep improving. HD quality 3D and internet TVs are already in the stores – expect these to become staples of our homes in the near future, with televisions connecting directly to the internet to bring you on demand and catch up content in 1080p HD and 3D. The possibilities here are endless, with social networking and apps for TVs becoming a huge growth area in the next few years.
More bandwidth also means more smaller signals working at once without interruption, meaning more and more devices hooking up to your Wi-Fi to offer a variety of services all over the home. No room will be safe from a screen and the ability to get onto your social networking platforms, internet radio and television, you name it. And sharing content around the home will become second nature too, giving a new lease of life to your MP3 collection.
2) Super-fast broadband on the move
With 4G mobile broadband spreading fast as spectrum becomes available for it across the globe, mobile broadband will become a direct competitor to fixed-line – especially in rural and tough to reach areas. With 20+Mb average speeds a reality, all current broadband tasks will be within reach of mobile broadband users. It’s unlikely the kind of content we see now is going to press forward enough in the next decade to make these speeds inappropriate for all but the most intense broadband activities.
3) Broadband security
Many are put off of home security systems due to cost, set up and the rest. But what if you could set up the cameras yourself, access them from anywhere and view the feeds on your smartphone, while paying next to nothing – if anything at all – for the privilege? Suddenly it sounds like a much brighter proposition. The technology is already in place, with the first broadband ISPs starting to roll out these systems on a small scale now. The first service providers are using broadband security to differentiate themselves from the competition, but as always these new innovations will become par for the course as they gain popularity.
4) Healthcare and getting green at home
Another two key buzz phrases when talking about the connected home of the future are smart power and e-health. Smart power technology is also starting to seep into homes now, with take-up set to soar as the utility companies and broadband companies get together to offer ever improving products for lower and lower prices. I mean, what’s the point of having those cameras at home if you can’t let the cleaner in while you’re on holiday when they come to the front door? Or check whether you’ve turned the lights off – and if not, do it while you’re on the train? As for healthcare, you name it and it can be monitored, meaning more people will be able to get home from hospital quicker.
5) The growth of the cloud
What all this means is that the cloud will take on more and more relevance. While storing data is one basic advantage (albeit one many people aren’t too comfortable with), moving more advanced hardware jobs onto dedicated servers will change everything going forward. Google is already touting its Chrome operating system, which takes much of the thinking power of its software online so that your home kit doesn’t have to take the strain. Expect this to be a growing trend, giving the likes of smartphones and tablets a growing relevance in the broadband home of the future.
This guest post is written by Joe Linford who writes on behalf of Broadband Genie, the online advice portal for broadband and mobile broadband