is a word that’s floated around the vernacular of the mobile industry for as
long as I can remember. To be honest, I’m guilty of dismissing it. More times
than not when people use the term I relegate it to the pile of meaningless
buzzwords nobody can quite define along with the likes of “synergy”
the frequency with which I hear this word in recent times has become somewhat
alarming. Leaving me to wonder… when people say “convergence” what do they
actually mean? What does this word mean to me?
Some Thoughts on Convergence
think of convergence, shapeshifting comes to mind. Just like the Wonder Twins
transforming into “the form of” a convenient animal/water configuration that
will save the day, convergence is what enables experiences to shapeshift
between different devices and environments. Instead of being siloed and trapped,
experiences can move fluidly through multiple devices.
thinking of late is that convergence actually occurs on three levels that are
separate but interrelated:
Technology convergence is when
a set of devices contain a similar technology, which enables experiences to
move across multiple devices. Examples: Wireless Internet or a software
platform like Android.
Media convergence is when
content/information is prismed through multiple devices or touchpoints. The
content and interactions often responds appropriately to the context
(smartphone vs. big screen TV, etc) – but the focus is on the throughline of
the content through the ecosystem of devices. Examples: Pandora, Netflix
Activity convergence enables
user to perform an activity regardless of the device. The key to this type of
convergence is figuring out how allow users to complete a task or achieve their
goal in a way that is intuitive given the high degree of variance between types
of devices and vast number of use contexts. Examples: Email, browsing the
Internet, looking up a restaurant on Yelp.
asked some friends at work what convergence meant to them, they referred me to
the video below.
What does convergence mean to you?
Please let me know in the comments below!