The Age of Wireless Streaming

Let me ask you something: how frequently do you use your USB port and disc drive present on your computing device?

Personally, I will find myself using the disc drive on my MacBook Pro 0 - 5 times over the course of a whole year... and the USB port? Well, I only use it for backing up my Mac or charging one of my Apple devices (syncing too). Even then, I don't necessarily have to utilize it. As a matter of fact, I could have survived since the beginning of 2012 without either. I have used my disc drive once thus far, and we are fast approaching the last quarter of this calendar year.

You might be wondering why on earth I am asking the above questions. The reason is simply this: I believe that we are only a few years away from streaming every form of data back and forth between our computing device of choice. How did I come to this conclusion?

It all started over 12 months ago. One day, I popped open my MacBook Pro to be faced with what I only recently pinpointed as being a broken LCD panel. Please don't ask how I have managed to cope with the impeded view, but I have. Prior to Christmas, I was pondering over the possibility of replacing my two-year-old MacBook Pro with a MacBook Air. Previously, I would have completely dismissed the notion as the lack of a disc drive would have irked me somewhat... but not anymore. The Air is more than sufficient to my computing requirements, with the lighter and thinner body form contributing to its appeal.

Couple this with the rapid expansion of cloud storage last year, and I began to wonder...

With our constant advancements in the world of technology, surely it is only a matter of time before EVERYTHING is streamed wirelessly?

Look around, you have Cloud storage everywhere you look. You can sync your Apple devices via the internet. You download your music and movies directly from the internet to your device... thus negating the need for a disc drive. You can display the movies held on your computer on your gaming console, which is hooked up to a glorious TV. The movie fanatics amongst us need not worry hoarding DVDs as almost any movie is present on one website or another.

Almost everything is instantly accessed on your computer and Apple's revolutionary venture in the tablet market has proven that we are closer to dismissing drives than some would think. People talk about it bridging the gap between your phone and computer, but it is - in my eyes - boosting the evolution of streaming and the structure of the web.

Although... the main issue with wireless streaming is the ability to uphold a good speed and produce the quality that is on par with other mediums.

However, BT has started to roll out its Infinity service, where their new fiber optic cables are capable of dishing out speeds of up to 100mb; a stagering 13x faster than the average UK speed. If you have a network of cables in place that can produce such fast speeds, then why settle for something you simply don't require?

As long as the speed on offer is more than is required, all it takes is for someone to acknowledge that wireless streaming takes one final push. No second guesses required for who can engineer this I'm sure.

If Apple can just finally transport everyone's iTunes base to their cloud-based service - the one they openly shower with praise - than I truly believe that they are within touching distance of pioneering the age of wireless streaming. With everything contained in one place, all they have to do is roll out an app that allows access to this window/app. iTunes is long due a new home after all! This will sever the need for your USB port - unless you require it for charging purposes - on your computer/laptop. Of course, this is assuming that wireless stability is ensured and that you have the speeds to handle the transfer of data rapidly.

The constant discussion of NFC in terms of every day-to-day business use (purchasing, selling, etc.) relies on a strong wireless foundation... and in all honesty, in an age where paper can be eradicated from every day use, I personally would welcome NFC. I picture it as such: you have a busy day planned ahead of you. You know that you will spend money regardless, and that you will require your phone to keep in contact with your partner, family member or friend. You're also not too keen on lugging around items you could do without - namely your wallet.

A simple swipe of your phone in view of a shop's sensor to pay for a good/service from your bank account of choice will please many I'm sure. No queues; no waiting for damned card approvals or receipts. In and out. I don't even carry cash on me, so what do I hold in my wallet? My driving license, debit/credit card and my business cards. As for receipts? I bin them in an instant. Wallets/Purses seem like a royal waste of space to me nowadays. The notion of only having to bring my phone and keys out for the day is a pleasant one at that - one which I imagine many will also be content with.

I really do apologise for prolonging the Apple-themed section here, but their Passbook function that will be rolled out on their iOS 6 update this month further attracts my attention and supports my wireless streaming theory. All your personal tickets/ID contained in one area, on your portable Apple device? Yes please. No paper, no hassle.

Indeed, there are many that openly detest the emergence of wireless streaming and all the cloud servers that have floated into existence in recent days (not quite), but you simply cannot deny that this is the next step in the technologic evolution. As I stated earlier, I feel that in little over three years, technology will have progressed to greater levels; so all the security doubts or speed issues many highlight with streaming should be well and truly banished.

Sure, speeds and the quality (linked to the speed) are still well below par, I won't deny that and nor will you. Yet the widespread growth of wireless streaming in recent years illustrates the desire for man to make the next step and turn the page for the chapter. In an ideal world, we would power on our device and have any form of data instantly accessible with little disruption in terms of speed or clarity. It just so happens that such a world is literally just around the corner...