In the 2002 film, Minority Report, one of the many futuristic scenes places Tom Cruise in a shopping mall while being assailed by targeted 3 dimensional ads as he passes a barrage of malevolent, big brother like, retina scanning CCTV cameras. It’s always tempting to wonder about the likelihood of such a scenario considering the phenomenal pace of technological change over the last 10 years since the movie was shot. How near are we to that imagined future? The answer is, probably closer than you think. If that seems far-fetched, then consider the dramatic global expansion of broadband penetration (and its projected reach) and the seemingly exponential increase in data traffic over these networks.
The communications industry watchdog, Ofcom recently announced the beginning of the auction process for the new 4G mobile spectrum that will bring mobile data speeds inline with those available from landline ADSL and cable networks. The action takes place next year with 4G services likely to roll out in 2013. Placed in context, we can see this as part of a huge global expansion in broadband connectivity, with an estimated 3.8 billion mobile broadband subscribers worldwide projected by 2015.