Over the past twenty years, the information age has developed at a rapid pace, and various technological transformations and applications have grown in both scope and variety. Today, the exponential growth of digitized information, combined with the skyrocketing popularity of mobile networks, has led to a surge in the sheer volume of digital content. Concurrently, as the digital divide has become smaller, people around the world are now able to freely share information and communicate with each other with fewer barriers.
This new digital era is marked by an important new factor: user experience. Users have the ultimate say in steering the development of the industry so it is vitally important that they are equipped with the means with which to quickly and easily access mobile networks. This in turn drives current and future industry development, which will result in a flourishing information age.
In today’s world, millions of services and applications are close at hand, enabling a constant, 24-hour online digital life. While the underlying network infrastructure is at the heart of this ubiquitous connectivity, user experience is limited to a few points of interface. Since user experience and the demand for continuous service drives technological development, it is therefore of utmost importance to provide users with optimal experiences.
The following factors best illustrate what comprises an optimal user experience.
- Speed that counts: Zero wait time redefines network speed
- Quality that counts: Ensuring the availability of video and other media presentation forms powered by augmented reality technologies
- Freedom that counts: Access the ubiquitous Internet easily and instantaneously
- Simplicity that counts: Optimal ergonomic function
- Sharing that counts: Community-like experiences elevate user experience
In telecommunications, increases in speed are often measured exponentially. Due to rapidly advancing technologies that have taken us from dial-up to fiber to the home (FTTH), it has taken a mere 20 years to increase bandwidth by 1,000 times. Despite this extraordinary pace of development, people are still clamoring for additional bandwidth.
Despite the current fixation on bandwidth, in the future, network speed will no longer be measured by the bandwidth a service needs, but determined instead by the wait time experienced by users waiting for networks to respond. Zero wait time for users is the new paradigm that will shape Internet development.
The development of the Internet has witnessed the transformation of web content from mere text, images and sounds into high-definition videos and other next-generation forms of media presentation, such as 3D technologies, ultra high-definition technologies, and augmented reality technologies. These vivid media presentation forms will become more widely available and will increasingly be used across various applications such as e-commerce, social networking, and broadcast media.
It took twenty years to bring the number of fixed Internet users to two billion, but only five years to bring the number of mobile Internet users to one billion, two times faster than the fixed Internet. Today people are enabled to be online anywhere and anytime because the mobile Internet sets users free from fixed lines as well as the popularization of the smart phones.
Similarly, à la carte services will continue to be provided on-demand, television programming in particular, since people will have the ability to watch programs at any time much more freely than they do today. Key to this provision of on-demand services is a freely available mobile Internet, which will enable users to easily access services and applications around the clock and in any location.
The history of man-machine interaction, during which the input method has transformed from keyboard and mouse to touchpad to motion sensing input, demonstrates a return from complicated input devices to intuitive and natural ones that tap into natural human function and form. In the future, even more natural ergonomics will further the user experience by leveraging people’s natural abilities like speaking, making gestures, and conveying emotions.
Google introduced mathematical logic to its search services, providing improved access to massive amounts of information. Google does this merely at the tool layer, while Facebook transcends the tool layer and deals with the social nature of humans. By emphasizing the social aspects of the Internet, Facebook addresses users’ emotional needs to some extent as well as satisfying their desire for sharing. The Facebook phenomenon indicates that a community-like experience will be a basic feature for both consumer-oriented services and enterprise-targeted applications.
The pursuit of a better user experience is a major driver in the further development of the telecom industry. A better user experience equates to higher speed, better quality, more freedom, greater simplicity, and easier sharing—in some ways, these factors reflect our fundamental human nature.
Although the concept of an information society has been bandied about for years, actual information-based development has just begun. The ongoing pursuit of better user experiences will continuously drive the transformation of information services. The development of telecom networks and technologies will also enter a new development phase. The combination of optimizing user experiences and network technologies will undoubtedly drive information services into stronger synergies and promote new applications and technologies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jeff Liu Jiangfeng is currently the Southern Pacific Region and Vice Present of Asia Pacific Region of Huawei. In this role, Mr. Jiangfeng Liu is responsible for telecommunication including marketing strategy, planning and operations as well as product promotion and sales of wireless, wire line and data communication networks in the Southern Pacific Region. Jiangfeng has persistently dedicated to implementing the customer-centric culture to achieve a sound and prosperous business development in the Asia Pacific Region, one of the fastest growing regions in the global scale.
Jiangfeng brings more than 15 years solid technical and management experience and expertise to the role and has held senior product and business development positions within Huawei since 2000. Originally joined the company in 1996, Mr. Jiangfeng Liu has contributed and witnessed the makeover of Huawei from a small local enterprise to a global giant.