Convergence in Technology

Convergence.  The word draws a number of thoughts when people hear it.  But in the terms of technology, convergence has been a paradigm shift.

So what has converged in regards to technology?  Probably the biggest area is in the network world.  In the past, there were people who worked on the telephone systems and network people.  They had totally different skill sets which didn’t cross each other.  Telephony people used terms such as TDM, Tip/Ring and others.  Network folks dealt with ones and zeros.  They used terms such as Bandwidth, TCP/IP and others.

In today’s world, VoIP has changed the way telephony people and network people interact.  It has blurred the line between the technologies.  Now, telephony engineers are also network engineers.  Network engineers are not necessarily telephony engineers, but they have to know enough about telephony to understand what is traversing their network.

Now, add in video traversing the network and you really have changed how the network is supported.  In the past, the network engineer had to plan for enough bandwidth on the network to cover the needs of computers and users.  Today, the network engineer needs to plan for data and voice over the network.  And they also need to plan for video as well.  This has led to a major expansion of networks in many businesses.

So, back to convergence.  With the distinction of the network versus telephony engineer gone now, how has that affected training and certification?  It has put a larger burden on the network engineer to be able to understand how voice and video can affect network performance.  Now, instead of just talking data, the network engineer needs to be able to talk about voice and quality of service.  The breadth of knowledge required to be a network engineer has broadened dramatically.

Has this convergence been good for business?  Of course it has.  The business is able to utilize their infrastructure for much more than originally intended.  More utilization means less wasted resources.  This converged technology also has the ability to potentially save costs in the long run.  How?  Utilizing equipment that has already been purchased as well as utilizing personnel who already know networking.

As technology continues to converge, a workforce that can keep up with the changes is definitely required.  This will require training budgets to be maintained and keeping our workers up-to-date.  This will assist in building competitive advantage for your organization.