Here’s what a connectivity gap looks like through the eyes of my 7-year-old son as we drive through the Portland hillside.
SON: Dad, is there connection here?
ME: Mmmm, not sure, why?
SON: Well, I can’t connect to MineCraft and I need some birchwood. When will we have connection?
ME: I dunno, why don’t you look out the window instead?
What strikes me about this conversation (besides the apparent fact that birchwood is super important and how I sound like a quintessential parent) is that to my son, it doesn’t compute that he can’t have a connection to his games or shows whenever or anywhere he wants. And I’m sure all the second-graders ask the same thing. But truth is, don’t we all expect to have connection all the time?
How many times have you really, really needed to find a connection so you can get to your adult-version of “birchwood” and you can’t access it? And what happens when your birchwood is a 20MB file?
Our expectation is digital connectivity should be ever present, and our relationship to our digital things—our games, photos, social feeds and files— are something we don’t want to spend a lot of time away from. Anyone attending CES last week and their colossal power outage would know what I’m talking about.
The truth is connectivity is not always present and in fact, it’s a lot less present than we realize. “The Cloud” only exists with a solid Wi-Fi connection and is then only valuable if the WiFi is actually fast.
Connectivity is only going to become more critical as we emerge into The Connected Age of the IOT and need to link to our smart blenders, tupperware or whatever. Also, last time I noticed, files sizes and better in-phone cameras are only making file sizes larger, which calls for more bandwidth.
So what are some solutions to solving our connectivity gaps until we get cell-tower chips installed in our heads?
Cellular services like XFINITY Mobile and Google’s Project Fi are pitching “a new kind of network” by piggybacking on to their existing Internet subscribers’ Wi-Fi signals to bring an incredible amount of hot-spots to their customers. The concept is great and surely will improve, but for now it’s not fully realized with speeds at varying locations are not fast, or don’t work at all. As a customer of one of these services, I have to frequently turn Wi-Fi off to opt for a faster (and pricier) connection through LTE.
Another solution would be to carry an external drive with you, which gives you access to your files, but doesn’t give you connectivity to the Internet or the ability to easily share with others. Also, the form factors for drives are not small enough and you’d have to carry a Fanny Pack to have it on your person (really, it’s NOT okay if you wear a fanny pack).
But if we had ultra-portable storage that also had connectivity? Now we might have a solution that could help keep us close to our precious birchwood at all times.
LINK is an ultra-portable computer that comes with a dual-band Wi-Fi capability. The dual-band Wi-Fi allows LINK to connect to any existing Wi-Fi signal and also create a Wi-Fi network locally. Multiple devices can stream movie files from a LINK, so, if you and 5 of your friends all want to download and binge-watch a season’s worth of your favorite show on Amazon Prime or Netflix, then with LINK, you can.
The current form factor of LINK is just over the size of a matchbox (2” x 2.5” x .25”), making it practically unnoticeable and can even fit within an integrated smartphone case. So all your birchwoods and redstones can be easily accessed and carried with you on either cloud-filled or cloudless days.
Until broadband connections become truly ubiquitous, we will always discover the gaps in our connectivity and access to our digital stuff. Meanwhile, the rest of us will just have to wait and just stare at the clouds out the window.
To find out more about the ultra-portable computer that is LINK and it’s current capabilities, visit CES.LINK.