Digital convergence: meaning, technologies, examples
The term "Digital Convergence" refers to the ability to view the same multimedia content from different types devices and thanks to the digitisation of content (movies, pictures, music, voice, text) and the development of connections methods. Read emails on your TV via a connected smartphone, stream a movie and play it on your home theatre. Whatever your need, digital convergence can simplify and diversify your entertainment experience.
Previously, each device operated independently and networks were not interconnected. Today, information flows on the same network and are stored, read, viewed or listened via same types of equipment. Networks, technologies and content converge on a single device. Result: it saves time and simplifies life. Thus, Digital Interconnection is a technological solution when several technologies that were previously separate are combined in a new technology and due to their integration give a higher result.
What are the types of digital convergence?
Digital Convergence can be also called Technological Convergence when one wants to emphasize its relationship with the other two components that make up all existing and developing converged technologies:
Media convergence is digitized content available in a variety of formats and access points. For example, a magazine, newspaper or radio broadcast is now available not only on paper or on an FM radio, but also on websites on the Internet and through mobile applications, and can even be integrated into social networks.
Network convergence is a digital network through which a variety of content arrives on a variety of device types. First of all, these are mobile cellular networks and cable optical fiber networks, which offer the most diverse content to users.
In practice, Digital Convergence, Network convergence and Network convergence are closely interconnected and intertwined.
What are the examples of digital convergence?
The most illustrative example is a Smartphone, which includes the functions of a telephone, a photo and video camera, a music player, a navigation tool and a mobile computer that works both autonomously and with Internet access.
Now your Smart TV can provide access to all information on a single screen. For example, a LED TV easily connects to a game console, a computer, Blu-ray players and also Internet router, allowing you to access your mail directly from your living room! Even your Smartphone can be connected to your screen. This is the case of Apple, with the iCloud application that connects TV-PC-Smartphone. You can share videos, photos and applications wirelessly, and almost simultaneously. For example, you can write a note on your iPhone, and if you have iCloud enabled, the note will automatically appear on other connected devices, like your MacBook, iMac or iPad. In the case of Google, the function of such an integrating platform is performed by Google Apps service that includes Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Cloud Connect and other solutions.
Many of the smart devices that are being included in the broader Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon are also examples of converged technologies. For example, your home digital assistant Echo can be connected wirelessly to speakers, TV and other home devices.
The smart devices and sensors that make up the Internet of Things can collect and analyze a huge amount and variety of data using Artificial Intelligence (AI), and therefore represent the most complex example of Digital Convergence. IoT can be divided into areas, depending on the industry in which it is used. For example, the already mentioned smart home devices, Smart City infrastructure, or the Internet of Medical Things or the Industrial Internet of Things.