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Tera-play is the next generation of connectivity supported by communications service providers. While triple play and quadruple play describe multiple communications services offered by the same company, Tera-play describes support for communications services between people and between machines when a trillion devices are connected to the telecommunications network (“Tera-” means trillion). This includes not only phones and personal electronics, but things like cars, TVs, refrigerators and medical devices.
The number of devices connected to the network is predicted to reach 7 trillion by 2017. This has the potential to affect every aspect of daily life, including communication, home, healthcare, education, entertainment, and transportation. Many enabling technologies already exist, and usage is expanding. Tera-play providers will not only connect billions of people to each other but also people to machines and machines to machines. The connection of objects to the network is sometimes referred to as the Internet of Things.
A connected world
The increase in connectivity, smart devices, content, applications, and services will enable a more connected world, which has the potential to revolutionize markets, communities, and entire industries. For example, emerging markets are now receiving access to critical services as result of connected networks and devices. Through m-health initiatives, people in rural areas lacking in healthcare infrastructure can receive medical support. In developed markets, patients will be able to access connected health or telehealth services via remote monitoring systems and “virtual doctor visits” supported in Canada by TELUS and in Germany by Deutsche Telekom. In regions of Africa where banking services are scarce, network connection allows consumers to pay using mobile payment services or m-commerce transactions that support microfinance such as Vodafone’s m-pesa services.
In September 2008, Yankee Group analysts estimated that one out of seven people worldwide were plugged into what they call the “Anywhere Network,” where people are always connected no matter where they are. They have since forecasted that consumer spending on anywhere access and service will total more than $972 billion in 2013.