A social network is defined as a software-based community that shares common interests or activities. Services like MySpace and Facebook have proven the strong appeal of social networks, particularly among hip, tech-savvy young people.
“Over the next 10 years, as mobile devices like smart phones become the primary channel for viewing content or accessing the Internet, social networking will move largely into the wireless realm, providing the type of ubiquitous connection that consumers are demanding,” said Derek Lidow, president and chief executive officer at iSuppli. “This event will accompany the creation of a new generation of applications that will greatly expand the appeal and utility of social networking, and will finally generate profits for the social networking industry.
“Within 10 years, the social-networking business, primarily driven by wireless devices, will transform into ‘must-have’ applications and products, both for consumers and for businesses. New intuitive applications enabled by innovative technologies introduced in the timeframe from 2009 to 2015 will spur the adoption of social networking and lead to major revenue growth in this area.”
Hitting the social networking bulls eye
iSuppli’s analysis of the social networking space indicates there are three levels of interaction associated with the space that surrounds each individual: immediate family and intimate friends, extended friends and shared interest groups, as presented in the attached figure.
At the center of each of the levels is the individual, who needs answers to personal questions, including:
How can I make things happen the way I want?
What should I know about?
Where is it?
The immediate family and intimate friends level involves answering questions and engaging in interactions including:
Where are you?
How are you doing?
Giving permission to access personal content
The extended friends level includes sporadic—but intense-interactions, such as sharing of games, avatars, general updates and information.
The shared interest group level includes communication and sharing in areas of common concern. These interactions extend into the world of business, as social networking begins to replace marketplaces and creates effective trading platforms-and as companies use the technology to establish collaborative work platforms and to conduct virtual meetings.
The proliferation of wireless social networking applications into these diverse areas will accompany the development of a new generation of mobile devices designed to support wireless social-networking activities, including communications, sharing and viewing of content. This will cause such wireless devices to become the primary communication, content and application access devices for consumers and businesses around the world by the year 2018, iSuppli predicts.
This will have a profound impact on key enabling technologies for such devices, including displays, semiconductors and storage and memory.
The variety of different applications for social networking, from collaborative games to work groups, will place increasing emphasis on display technologies for mobile platforms. New and emerging technologies, including touch screens, flexible displays and displays that integrate motion sensors, will be employed to serve the input/output needs of these varying platforms and applications.
“Because of this increased emphasis and surge in technological advancement, displays will emerge as the most valuable portion of the mobile-device value chain, with makers of portable wireless devices stressing differentiation via superior display technology,” Lidow said.
The semiconductor industry also will face fundamental changes as it strives to deliver the chips that will enable wireless social networking. Such chips will require a level of complexity that scales beyond the limitations of Moore’s Law. Thus, semiconductor companies will be compelled to deliver highly integrated processors that combine numerous high-performance, multi-threaded special purpose cores.
Successful suppliers of core silicon for wireless social networking devices will be very large companies that have many hardware engineers-but many more software engineers. These companies will need such extensive hardware and software engineering resources to develop chips with dozens of dedicated cores and significant parallel processing capabilities that are tuned to specific social-networking applications, iSuppli believes. [June 6, 2008]
Send this IT news to a friend