Technological convergence is the integration of several technologies into a single device. Find out everything you need to know about it: definition, origins, examples, advantages, disadvantages…
Generally speaking, the term convergence refers to the meeting between two distinct entities. In the field of information and technology, the term “technological convergence” refers to the integration of several different technologies or functions within an integrated system or a single device.
The origins of technological convergence
Since the first tools appeared, each technology offers a specific function. The stone is for typing, the sheet for wiping, the knife for cutting…
Until a few years ago, that was still the case. For example, devices such as CD players, VCRs, televisions and corded telephones all had a specific function. Today, however, these different functions are combined in smartphones that allow you to make phone calls, listen to music, watch videos, play video games, take photos or even find your way around with GPS navigation.
Technological convergence is the result of disruptive innovation that has made it possible to combine the fields of telecommunications, IT and multimedia. We also sometimes talk about digital convergence.
This phenomenon has started with the first mobile phones in the 1990sbut continued with the democratization of the Internet. It is this democratization that has allowed the development of “network convergence”, which allows data, video and voice calls to be delivered over a single network. This is what now allows telecom operators to offer packages that include cable television, voice calls and Internet access.
Some examples of technological convergence
As examples of technological convergence, we have already mentioned the following smartphones which allow you to make phone calls, take pictures and many other tasks.
Other examples include connected televisions new-generation devices that not only allow you to watch TV, but also to browse the web or perform tasks usually associated with computers.
The Internet of Things and connected objects are also a relevant example of technological convergence. This is a Convergence between Bluetooth connected devices and networks data High-bandwidth WiFi to power intelligent sensors built into appliances, automobiles, thermostats and other everyday objects.
The autonomous electric vehiclesThese represent the convergence between electrical technology and the Internet, which allows them to analyse and transmit the data they collect. Similarly, chatbots and other voice assistants such as Siri or Alexa are the result of a convergence between Machine Learning and natural language processing algorithms.
Finally, we can mention the Data Centers that are increasingly turning to a converged or hyper-converged infrastructure. A data center with a hyperconverged infrastructure allows enterprises to simultaneously purchase computing power, networking and storage from a cloud provider.
Technological Convergence: Advantages and Disadvantages
Technological convergence has many advantages. First of all, by allowing multiple tasks to be performed on a single device, it makes it possible to to save space and energy.
In addition, technological convergence often makes it possible to simplifying the use of technology by the general public. For example, people who are unfamiliar with computers will be more likely to use the Internet and video-on-demand services if they can access these technologies through their televisions.
However, technological convergence also presents its own challenges and drawbacks. These include data collection underlying this convergence. It is sometimes difficult for users to fully understand when their data is collected, and how it is used to build their profiles.
Similarly, the proliferation of connected objects and other mobile devices has increased the number of opportunities for hackers and other cybercriminals in steal personal information. This is one of the reasons why the European Union decided to set up the DPMR in order to better protect citizens’ data.