Virtually all aspects of the traditional computing environment are undergoing a great physical migration – your CPU, GPU, memory, data, applications, are all moving away from your person (your pockets, desktop, living room) to vast computing centers distributed all over the globe. The end result of this migration is the cloud, which is referred to by many people (I think far too glibly).
As a technologist/futurist, I have to ask myself, what does this imply? This is a question anyone in a technology role -product managers, entrepreneurs, investors, should be asking themselves. One important feature of this great migration is that display technologies (and broader interactive devices) will be left where they stand.
By their very nature, these devices interact with our senses and must stay proximate to us. Is this good or bad? Neither, but to not recognize what that means would be a mistake. Displays are arguably the most important I/O component for interacting with our computing environments of your brain is dedicated to visual processing (approximately 30 percent of your visual cortex is visual in nature versus only 8 percent for touch and 3 percent for hearing)- so they will remain very much anchored to our physical world, but, of course, will play a fundamentally different role as the technology landscape reshapes itself.
I was happy to see that the keynote address from Kinam Kim, president and ceo of Samsung Displays at this years SID kickoff was focused on the primacy of display for our mobile and computing devices. He even went so far as to claim the dominate component of smart devices in the cloud environment – well done! Matt Brennesholtz over at Display Central covers the talk well if you want a good summary.
If you consider the larger trend here – displays and how they present us with data – it will be the most important user-facing aspect of our technological space. Will you need more graphics processing power on your phone when GPU rendering farms can stream the result of tremendous rendering power to you at 30fps? Probably not, and Nvidia has already recognized this by focusing on pixel remoting and the GPU in the cloud. But you’ll still want/need an amazing visual experience and the display on your phone has plenty of room to improve. This holds true for the trillions of pixels we are hanging in our conference rooms and other display infrastructure.
By accepting these migratory patterns, it becomes clear that displays will act as windows into the cloud. Enabling new forms of collaboration, interaction, and creativity. I refer to this vision of how displays are no longer attached to the the content generation source but act as an infrastructure in their own, providing mobile and seamless connectivity to our deeper computing resources in the cloud as the pixel landscape. Once you realize that the pixel landscape is already being deployed and what becomes possible when it is – the idea of giving a presentation with a conference room projector has only a single cable for a single user (who has their data in the room) is like trying to open a window for fresh air and finding it is so old it’s been painted shut.