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Subtopic 1: Introduction to Digital Convergence

For industry professionals, some of the most common examples of convergence include Video Conferencing and Internet Telephony.   In some theatres, movies are now transmitted digitally from the distributor over the Internet rather than being delivered on large reels of film.   For consumers, some examples of convergence include cell phones with built-in cameras and personal digital assistants (PDAs) with wireless Internet access. 

There is currently a plethora of television commercials touting such convergence technologies as phone service provided by cable companies and electronic voting for your favorite reality TV contestant.

Using convergence technology, devices and peripherals can now wirelessly sense other devices, configure themselves without human intervention, and begin communicating with each other.   Printers can locate digital cameras and print the images stored on them.   PDAs can synch their contents to a computer without connecting wires between the two devices.  The types of devices that can now be connected continue to grow. 

Several technologies have recently come together to make convergence possible.    The proliferation of high bandwidth networks has allowed large amounts of data to be transmitted quickly and easily.   High speed Internet access has allowed previously unconnected networks to share data on a global scale.  Software has been developed to compress large data streams and securely transmit them.  Finally, hardware has been developed that combines one or more technologies and takes advantage of new methods of connectivity. 

According to Ann Beheler, Dean/Executive Director of the Engineering Technology Division at Collin County Community College District (CCCCD), the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the career area that includes network systems analysts and data communications specialists is expected to grow by 57% between 2002 and 2012.  Included within these employment categories is the new career area of Convergence Technologist.   The importance of this job category is underscored by the creation of new industry certifications such as Convergence Technologies Professional (CTP) and Certified in Convergent Network Technologies (CCNT).  Colleges and universities have recently begun to develop degree/certificate programs in this area as well. 


Further reading and research can be found at the following links: