Weird Lingo Roundup
Usually, the International CES serves up at least a few new buzzwords – last year, Samsung coined the “phablet,” to describe a device that’s half phone, half tablet. The “superphone” entered the tech lexicon, briefly, but never really stuck. Apparently it’s better to be “smart” than “super.”
This year, only one new term popped out of CES — but there’s plenty venturing out from the world of Wi-Fi. This week’s translation is a round-up of weird, overworked, and new tech lingo.
The new one from CES: “Ten-finger touch,” to describe large-scale tablets upon which you can use all 10 digits. (Not sure what happens if an 11th finger ventures onto the screen.)
At CES, “ten finger touch” talk involved tablets the size of a coffee table.
The latest in overworked lingo: “Curation.” This one seems to show up as a classier twist on “aggregation.” Think of it in terms of news websites (industrial and mainstream), which populate themselves with summaries of stories researched and written by other news sites — often without attribution.
We used to call this plagiarism. Now, it’s “curated content.”
The new WiFi lingo: “SON,” which has nothing to do with male offspring (although it’s pronounced as such), and everything to do with “self organizing networks.” (Some also call them “self-optimizing networks.”)
Here’s why at some point we’ll need SONs: Because WiFi spectrum is largely unlicensed, meaning unmanaged, and more and more of our dumb stuff will want to jump onto it, to get smart.
SON is part of “the Internet of Things,” which affixes sensors to our stuff, thus making it “smart.” At CES, the “Internet of Things” showed up big time at the Zigbee Alliance, which serves the industry segment making low-power, low-cost radios (“the Clapper” is an early example; most of today’s home security systems use Zigbee.)
One Zigbee participant (and heavily Kickstarter-funded) outfit, “Smart Things,” characterized today’s times as the third phase of the Internet. Phase one was knowledge/search. Phase two was social. Now, we’re entering the physical Internet, which controls our formerly dumb stuff.
But back to “SON,” a cousin of machine-to-machine (“M2M”) computing and near field communications (“NFC”). It exists to coordinate between multiple radios, so that, say, your Skype call doesn’t get stepped on by your smart house. Because it turns out that Zigbee-based gear, WiFi, and lots of other stuff runs in the 2.4 GHz range. SON keeps WiFi’s many occupants clear of each other.
For me, any mention of “self organizing” is alluring. Like maybe a physical Internet with sensors to self-organize closets and junk drawers. That’d be good.
This column originally appeared in the Platforms section of Multichannel News.