Imagine making or receiving a call but without using a handset or transforming the handset into a device that can be worn on the wrist?
No, we are not writing this after watching Minority Report or reading some futuristic novel. It’s something that’s already either under development or something that’s been launched in the market.
The coming of the smartphone brought in a new era of mobility which was exploited for consumer benefits as well as enterprise applications and workflows. As phones became “smarter”, more capabilities moved to them. Enterprise applications started offering mobile interfaces and eventually moved to offer crucial capabilities that fully leveraged the capabilities of the mobile device. Think about the role of the mobile in enabling remote customer service and support, for example. But as this world starts becoming increasingly “software-defined” and the capabilities of the mobile start entering wearable and other devices, we are seeing the emergence of an evolved version of the mobility paradigm. Interesting applications are already becoming visible for the “virtual handset”. These applications use all the capabilities of a mobile phone, but without the need to have an actual phone in the hand.
In 2008, Nokia developed Nokia Morph along with the University of Cambridge. They demonstrated how handsets could be made into a stretchable and flexible device that users can use in any shape. Everyone quickly heralded it as the future of telecom.
While Nokia Morph’s progress got stalled due to wider issues with the company’s handset business, it set the precedence for new technologies such as connected devices, Internet of Things (IoT), voice assistants, virtual phone systems, etc. that have gained prominence among companies.
These emerging technologies coupled with 5G and network virtualization look set to change the landscape of telecom. Here are some trends that could lead to an incredible morphing handset revolution.
What’s Behind The Era Of Incredible Morphing Handset?
- Boundary-less technologies: Traditional handsets were geographically bound. They could not be used beyond a specific range. Communication with people from other countries was cumbersome and expensive. However, the rise of mobile technologies and the internet made it easier for people to keep in touch anywhere, any time. Even companies have become more flexible due to the absence of physical handsets. For example, a few years ago, it was impossible to imagine a remote working customer support service. They had to come to the office and use fixed devices such as traditional handsets and desktops for their jobs. Today, customer support can work from anywhere using mobile phones and virtual calling systems. The entire process is driven by software. Companies are also working towards improving enterprise security by bringing it to military-grade.
- Cloud technology: Take cloud telephony, for instance. It allows companies to interact with people from over 65+ countries with superior audio quality and zero interruptions. Users can make and receive a call using VoIP technology. It’s easy to set up, saves up to 65% of the total costs as compared to traditional phone systems, and can be accessed from any device such as desktop softphones or wireless VoIP phones.
- Connected devices: Another recent development is the emergence of connected devices, IoT, and wearable devices. Everything is connected in today’s times. It’s easy for a technical team to identify potential issues in machinery using sensors and take preventive measures to resolve them. It’s also easy to guide workers on critical worksites to complete a task or alert them when close to a danger zone. In fact, many people now prefer to use a wearable device to make payments, set reminders, answer calls, send texts, etc. If the last decade was about using an all-in-one smartphone, the current decade is about using wearable devices to communicate with others without removing the phone from the pocket. With the advent of 5G connections, IoT will become an $8 billion market by 2024, i.e., it will grow over 1400%. IoT is expected to generate over $1.8 billion in revenue for mobile operators. It will also urge the operators to revisit their current offerings and enhance them to keep pace with market changes.
- Thin and stretchable phones: Companies are now making thin, stretchable phones that could easily fit into the pockets and bridge the gap between laptops and mobile screens. So, the screens can be extended from 6 inches to 7.2 inches without impacting the screen’s resolution.
- Next-gen networking infrastructure: Whether it’s the rapid 5G penetration, setting up low-power, wide area networks (LPWAN) that are suitable for IoT technology, or offering private 5G networks to large enterprises, next-gen networking infrastructure are becoming a mainstay. Even the hardware of future phones would be 5G-enabled or have integrated SIM.
Years ago, very few of us imagined that a mobile phone would become a one-stop gadget for everything – right from checking emails, making calls, playing games, or shopping online. Companies are constantly innovating to create hands-free, immersive handsets.
As faster, lower latency, bandwidths come in with 5G, the promise of these virtual handsets looks set to become more tangible as users can launch the apps they need more easily. Could this be the new age of mobility, where you are free from the mobile handset also?
As Ivan Guzenko, the CEO and co-founder of SmartyAds, said, “The new phone won’t be a phone that we know anymore. Rather, it will be an augmented reality device that you perceive the world through.”
Currently, 5G and IoT technologies are paving the way for morphed handsets. Years later, it could be another disruptive technology shaping the future communication between people and companies.
Telecom companies need to stay nimble-footed to keep pace with these innovations. They must be ready to replace legacy technologies with modernized ones to grow their revenue and stay relevant in a competitive landscape. To ensure that they are on the right track, companies can work with reliable partners who can guide them to make the right decisions.