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The Future of Computing – the Consumer Side

Instead of focusing on the fundamentals behind computing, this article will be exploring how computers will change for consumers due to the rapid progressions in data networks.

In the past decade, the capability of computers has grown immensely. In the 1980s, Apple released its first computer: the mac. At the same time, Microsoft was slowly building up its own personal computer. Soon afterward, windows became one of the most popular operating systems in the world, running on everything from the ATMs, industrial machines, and personal computers. Today, computers are able to conduct extraordinary things like driving cars, flying airplanes, and even simulating life itself. With all of this development, what is next for computers? Instead of focusing on the fundamentals behind computing, this article will be exploring how computers will change for consumers due to the rapid progressions in data networks.

As machines get more computing power, having each person owning their own computer is inefficient. Rather, it is more efficient, as computers have more capacity to host multiple users, to have one single computer per household, with workstations – access points to the computer. Although some may shy away from sharing computers with others, these central computers can be divided with privacy in mind. This technology technically already exists in companies, schools, and government organizations. For instance, many users have Google accounts. In Google’s Californian data centers, users data is stored there, with all processing done in the data center itself. To the user, the device used to access the account serves as an access point or terminal. With that in mind, it’s also inefficient to have laptops that we bring around us. Instead, consumers can use remote desktop tools to connect to our computers at home. All a person needs to bring around is a portable device that has a network connection. This network connection would have to be strong in order allow for up to date processes on the home computer. For the consumer, he or she would no longer need to carry around a large computer. Instead, the consumer can carry around a slim device such as a phone. This technology is already out there. For instance, Google offered a program called Chrome Remote desktop. This application enables users to connect to their PC via smart phone, tablet, or other mobile platforms. Any work could be done on a mobile platform without hauling around a computer.  However, if this technology sounds so promising, why don’t people use this more often? There are two factors. First, our current cellular infrastructure isn’t capable of sustaining vast amounts of data. Second, data is currently expensive. Remote desktops demand severe amounts of data. Even if a consumer uses wifi, sometimes the data connection may be slow, preventing a steady stream of data. However, there is one signifigant drawback to this technology: energy. In order for the home computer to be accessed at any time, the computer constantly needs to be on, even if the computer isn’t in use. Another potential concern for this technology is the risk of having ones data intercepted and information stolen. Although the obvious solution would be to encrypt data, encrypting and decypting data takes time, potentially causing a delay for thc consumer.

As technology progresses, there are more innovative ways to use computers. In recent years, the data connection has went from 3G, to 5G, allowing us to stream HD videos on cellular networks. Using networks will open a new channel for technologies to develop.


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