Introducing the Telephony Interactive Feature

Today we’re introducing a new concept on The interactive feature. We are going to be asking you, our readers, to participate in the research we are conducting for major upcoming Web and print stories. We want to get your input, and in many cases, to make that input a central element our feature coverage.

We’re very proud of our feature coverage — Telephony is one of the few publications in an increasingly online world that can devote the space in print to explore topics in depth. But we also want to use our online resources to publish information in a timely fashion, and find out what you want or need to read. Today’s print cover features are both the beginning and the culmination of our coverage on a topic—many weeks of interviews, research and exploration summed up in a 2000-to-5000 word piece. And then it’s onto the next feature.

The interactive feature will be different. We’re still going to deliver the final in-depth piece, but we want you to see and participate in the process. As we gather information, we’ll be posting stories and tidbits online. Sometimes they’ll be news stories or Q&A’s; other times they’ll be blog entries or columns;iIn some cases, they’ll be miniature features in their own right. The idea is to let our readers see the story’s progression. Who were interviewing, the themes we’re exploring. And we want you to comment. We want you to tell us what you think of the direction we’re taking, your own opinion of the topic on hand and suggestions on whom we should be talking to.

As you might have guessed, I’m the guinea pig for this new experiment. My cover story for the April issue of Telephony will be the kick-off of the new interactive feature, and I’m hoping you can help me make it a success. As April is the month of CTIA Wireless, we’ve decided to pursue an ambitious wireless topic: The future of the wireless network. A lot of stories I already write about LTE and 4G are about future networks, but this time we’re looking much further into the future to the year 2025. It’s an arbitrary date, certainly, but it’s also one distant enough to allow experts in this industry to explore the nuances of a wireless world beyond the business and technology decisions they’re making today. It’s also a date reasonably close enough to produce answers that aren’t pure science fiction.

My research into this piece is informed by two assumptions:

a) More of our communications will move to wireless links. Not just a phones and laptops, but major aspects or our lifestyles will grow to depend on a radio communicating with the network.

b) The concepts of a fixed versus a mobile Internet and fixed versus mobile application will disappear. We will approach true convergence, and there will no longer be a distinction between what we can do in our living room/offices and in the open air

Those two assumptions, however, produce a quandary. We will place enormous demands on the wireless network of the future, demands that technology can’t solve entirely. At some point we’ll be battling physics: There is only so much spectrum out there and only so much capacity we can theoretically pack onto it. What this series of stories will seek to answer is how wireless will be used in multi-faceted ways in our daily lives in 2025, as well as explore some of the specific means, technological and otherwise, we’ll achieve that world.

In the coming days I’ll let you know some of the other themes of the piece, and I’ll be seeking your input on those themes. We’ve set up a special page which you can find here for the ongoing feature, and in the coming days we hope add more stories and more interactive elements to the site. Bear with us; we’re just starting out.

I’ve also posted the first in what will be many pieces leading up to the main feature. The kick-off article features Ericsson CTO HÃ¥kan Eriksson and his vision of the future wireless network architecture. Tell me what you think, not just on this specific story but on the theme of the overall feature. What do you imagine the wireless future to be in 2025? What are the technologies that will power it? Who should we talk to? Suggest academics, vendors, futurists, operators or general visionaries you think have something add. But most importantly add something yourself.

We hope to have a main commentary engine on the site soon enough, but for now posts your comments anywhere. Respond to this column or on the Ericsson story or on any of the numerous other blog entries and articles that follow. We hope to hear from you soon.

Related Links:

Telephony’s Interactive Feature: Wireless 2025

Shrinking Cells and Narrowing beams: an interview with Ericsson’s CTO

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