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Convergence Trends

Applied IT (Year 12) - Impacts of Technology (U3)

Christian Bien

What is Digital Convergence?

Digital convergence refers to combining two or more technologies into one device.

Examples of Digital Convergence includes:

  • Smartphone: Functions include communications device, camera, internet messenger, portable gaming device, email communicator and web browser.

  • Smart Television: Functions include television, web browser and media streamer.

  • Smartwatch: Functions include watch, fitness tracker, notifications reader and camera.

What are the impacts of convergence trends?

  1. Lower volume of household devices: As a single device takes on more features, there is a reduced need to hold onto to multiple devices. For example, smartphones reduce the need to have seperate digital cameras, phones, portable gaming device and GPS.

  2. Increased rate of obsolescence: Rate of digital convergence has posed older devices with less functions as obsolete, increasing volumes of environmental waste. Think about how many models of iPhones have been released over the past 10 years and how those features and capabilities have changed overtime. As users want newer features, older models either get recycled or go to landfill.

  3. Cost savings: Households do not have to purchase multiple devices and can purchase one device for all, usually at a lower cost.

  4. Increased dependency on a single device: The smartphone's ability to perform multiple functions has led to increased dependency on the single device for our digital lives. Our dependence on our smartphone has actually led to the urban term 'low battery anxiety' for when a user gets nervous when their battery falls below 20%.

  5. Greater connectivity (Internet of Things): Convergence has generally seen devices get smarter with internet connectivity. Greater connectivity of devices has seen smarter homes and workplaces with automated and smart functions, improving standards of living.

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