5. From Infrastructure to Fabric
In the coming years the number of local network, both deployed by a variety of owners (residential, shops, malls, municipalities …) will keep growing and in addition we will see a variety of objects creating networks, smart phones, computers but also cars, light poles, appliances, implants embedded in human and animals bodies …
This will result, particularly in urban environments, in very dense and overlapping networks, A device, a terminal, an objects needing to communicate will find itself immerse in a variety of networks and will be able to choose the most appropriate one (which means the one that can provide the cheapest connection, or the one requiring less energy budget, or the one offering most bandwidth or lower delay…).
The Network Operator will be one network provider among many, and competition on quality/price will increase.
Owning the customer (object) identity and providing the authentication will be a competitive advantage, and many will come up to provide these services, not just the Telecom Operators.
Big pipes will get bigger and the number of global (regional) providers will sharply decrease. Regulation will be slowing or accelerating this evolution but I have no doubt that the infrastructures as we know them today will be morphing from a perceptual standpoint into communications fabric.
As today we are concerned with handover capabilities among access points owned by the same Operator and working with the same protocol (eg 3G) in the next decade the handover will take place across access points owned by different players and will make use of different technologies/protocols still keeping the integrity of the transaction.