Technalysis Research
Previous Blogs

December 2, 2014
The Next Performance Challenge: The Battle for the Burst

November 25, 2014
Rediscovering High Resolution AV

November 18, 2014
Making Makers Mainstream

November 11, 2014
Going Vertical

November 4, 2014
A New Wearables Forecast

October 28, 2014
The Next Evolution for Wearables: Business

October 21, 2014
Size Does Matter...When it Comes to Screens

October 14, 2014
Insider Extra: Does Windows Stand a Chance With Enterprise Mobile Apps?

October 14, 2014
Does Big Data Equal Big Brother?

October 7, 2014
Is Windows Still Relevant?

September 30, 2014
Tablet and Smartphone Futures: Specialization

September 23, 2014
Is the App Ecosystem Sustainable?

September 16, 2014
The Wearable-Identity Connection

September 9, 2014
The Password Dilemma

September 8, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk--Driving Flash Forward

September 2, 2014
Smart Connected Devices: A New Forecast

August 26, 2014
Phablets—aka Pocket Computers—Drive New World Order

August 19, 2014
Device Usage Diversity

August 12, 2014
New Life for the PC

August 5, 2014
Hot Items for the Holidays: Large Phones, Notebooks and Smart TVs

July 29, 2014
Smartphones: Life's Remote Control

July 22, 2014
The Joy of Vintage Tech

July 15, 2014
Digital Generation Gap

July 8, 2014
Virtualization Reborn

July 1, 2014
Portable Digital Identities

June 24, 2014
The Future of UI: Contextual Intelligence

June 17, 2014
Moving to Markets of One

June 16, 2014
Insider Extra: Dell and the Battle for Business

June 10, 2014
Screen Overload to Drive Screen-less Devices

June 3, 2014
Apple Drives Vision of Seamless Multi-Device Computing

May 27, 2014
Surface Pro 3: The Future of PCs?

May 22, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk: The Many Faces of Flash

May 20, 2014
The Technological Divining Rod

May 13, 2014
Computing in the Cloud

May 6, 2014
Device Usage a Question of Degree

April 29, 2014
The Next Smartphone Battleground: Durability

April 22, 2014
BYOD: A Work in Progress

April 18, 2014
Insider Extra: AMD Back in the Groove

April 15, 2014
The Mobility Myth

April 9, 2014
BYOD Dilemma: Devices vs. Data

April 8, 2014
Insider Extra: Qualcomm's Evolving Story

April 1, 2014
A Wearables Forecast

March 25, 2014
Measuring Success in Wearables? It's Thousands of Thousands

March 24, 2014
Insider Extra: Intel Strategy Moves Forward

March 18, 2014
IOT: Islands of Isolated Things?

March 11, 2014
Wearables Cautionary Tale

March 4, 2014
The New Platform Battle

February 25, 2014
Watch What Happens

February 18, 2014
Talkin' 'bout Touchpads

February 11, 2014
The MultiOS Conundrum

February 4, 2014
Computing Redefined

January 28, 2014
The Apple Problem

January 21, 2014
The 2-in-1s People Might Want

January 14, 2014
The Post Tablet Era

January 7, 2014
The Innovation Asymptote

December 31, 2013
Top 5 2014 Predictions

December 17, 2013
Holiday Shoppers Gifting Themselves

December 10, 2013
Companion Apps

December 3, 2013
Aisle Check

TECHnalysis Research Blog

December 9, 2014

Given all the focus recently on mobile computing and mobile devices, it’s easy to forget that many computing problems and many important tasks are still best suited for a larger computing canvas. Not just a large display—although that is certainly a key element—but a larger, more powerful compute engine as well.

Computer workstations have traditionally been the devices that offer this more powerful computing experience. Workstations get the highest performing CPUs and graphics engines, the fastest storage and memory subsystems, and they’re linked with the largest, highest-resolution displays. As a result, workstations continue to play an important role in the overall computing ecosystem, and though the absolute numbers remain small, they are still a growing category.

But if you look back over a decade or so, the kinds of things that were once relegated to workstations are now being done on personal computers. High resolution image editing, 3D modeling, in-depth data analysis and more are actually at the heart of many relatively mainstream PC applications, including photo editing of HDR (High Dynamic Range) and other high-quality images coming from high-resolution cameras (which, ironically, are sometimes found on mobile devices). In addition, rendering the high-quality, real-time graphics necessary for today's PC games is another task previously relegated only to workstations.

Two other key areas that are just coming into their own are data analytics and true life-quality communications and collaboration tools. Given the enormous amount of “big data” sources that are becoming available to people in all walks of life—from website traffic trends to sensor-driven data sources—the need to be able to visualize, analyze and otherwise work with this data is going to drive new demands around a bigger computing experience.

Similarly, there’s growing interest in better tools to communicate and collaborate with co-workers or partners around the company or even the world. There have been some noticeable improvements in traditional videoconferencing tools over the last few years, but we still don’t have great real-time collaboration tools that combine high-resolution audio and video with real-time file editing, “whiteboarding” and other types of teamwork-focused capabilities.

Both of these types of applications, as well as things like design, architecture, or any other kind of brainstorming or creative effort, are headed towards a more intensive type of computing experience that I’m calling teracomputing. At the core of the teracomputing concept is a very large, high-resolution touch-screen display (think “Minority Report”) and more intuitive ways to interact with the content (or people) shown on that display. In the case of data visualization or design, it’s about the ability to work at a pace and a scale that even current large-screen monitors don’t allow. This is about turning your entire desk or workspace (your personal “terra”) into an interactive display that you can manipulate with both hands simultaneously. The computer industry has talked about the metaphor of a digital canvas in the past, but in a teracomputing world, you would literally have a digital canvas on which to create and work.

In the case of collaboration, the model would be different as the device at the heart of the experience would likely sit in a meeting room and be viewed simultaneously by multiple people. But conceptually, the idea of breaking through traditional barriers by working at a visual (and resolution) scale that’s well beyond what we have today makes this another type of teracomputing. The goal here, of course, would be to re-envision how people hold collaborative meetings. You could achieve this by being able to clearly see and hear other meeting members as if they were in the room, and communally work on digital whiteboards, shared files or whatever the focus of the meeting happened to be.

Of course, to achieve any type of teracomputing model, it’s going to take improvements in both hardware and software beyond what’s commonly available today. Software, in particular, needs additional efforts to leverage not just multi-finger but multi-hand touch and gesture support. We’ll also likely need some refinements to existing user interface design. Once some of these efforts are made, however, it’s not difficult to imagine people starting to get reinvigorated about computing on a grander scale.

Here's a link to the original column:

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