There’s still one major hurdle for technology, and it’s an unintended side-effect of the rapid pace of innovation, combined with the opportunities presented in a free marketplace: fragmentation.
Pretend that you need a new computer. You hop into your car and head to Best Buy, or load up your browser and navigate to Amazon. First, you need to choose an operating system: probably Apple’s MacOS or Microsoft’s Windows 10, but you could choose Linux.
If your choice is an Apple product, do you want a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or an iMac? Three options with minor configuration choices.
If your choice is a computer running Windows, you’re entering a sea of hardware decisions, powered by a pack of competing for hardware manufacturers – including Microsoft.
This is just the hardware and operating system, so far. You eventually run into software choices for the tasks you perform every day. If you thought the hardware and OS choices were challenging, buckle up for a whole new sea of solutions.
With so many choices, where do we find common ground?
Web-based platforms are fast becoming the area where tech users with different preferences can come together to collaborate and get work done, with a relatively uniform end-user experience.
Examples of this include Google’s G Suite, Microsoft’s Office 365 and online media creation tools like LightMV, Moovly or Video Editor Online by Movavi that allow us to get outside of our self-inflicted ecosystem prison. No matter which device you use, you’ll have similar capabilities and experiences.
These solutions have been embraced by enterprise users – alleviating countless headaches in the BYOD era.
2020 could be the year we leap forward towards universal computing.
Everyone’s heard of the cloud, but few truly grasp its potential. Now, as we move into the era of the multi-cloud, end-users are going to continue to feel more and more like their experiences with their chosen hardware matches up with everyone else’s.
This is because the individual’s choice of a device is far less important than the organization’s decision to embrace cloud-based collaboration tools that unlock the potential of their teams.
Universal computing does not mean universal hardware.
In 2014 there were 3-million datacenters in the United States. Today there are far, far more and they’re getting larger as large companies dig underground to build terrestrially cooled server bunkers. This helps lower the cost to cool a building full of server racks throwing off enough heat to warm a large home in the dead of winter.
Thanks to the telecom boom there are billions of miles of fiber optic cables connecting these data centers. Checkout this really cool data network visualization produced by the University of Wisconsin after four years of painstaking research.
The computer of the future is going to shrink and become virtually irrelevant, compared to your ability to plug into the net and stream, browse or do work. The devices we touch and hold are becoming little more than displays, with the heavy-lifting happening behind the scenes, potentially hundreds or thousands of miles away.
And this, ladies and gentleman, is the key to unlocking universal computing – making the existing fragmentation of end-users virtually irrelevant.