Earlier today, I joined an online webinar by Synopsys introducing the new standards for USBs, USB 3.1, also known as Super Speed Plus (or SSP). It is absolutely fascinating to appreciate the technology investments being made in improving the velocity with which data can move through the humble USB port, and the importance of that velocity to the speed of commerce and the functional use of computing and mobile platforms.
Just yesterday, in my first class this semester at Georgetown, we talked about the velocity of commerce and the functional truth that the Internet is an entire global contract engine, with each transaction being a negotiation between and across devices, applications and data sets.
The new SSP protocol delivers an entirely new sense of speed and velocity, improving the rate of transfer to 10 Gb per second, and introducing transfer protocols and descriptive coding that appears to virtually eliminate the need for costly and expensive repeater sequences.
Perhaps most fascinating is the introduction into this simple interface of new arbitration and negotiation mechanisms that allow multiple devices operating at different speeds to transmit and move information with greater efficiency and velocity.
In class, we talked about the capabilities of products like Dataxu to enable automated negotiation. But the new capabilities of the USB standard provide an entirely new level of meaning for velocity of negotiation.
The standard and related protocols eliminate 20% overhead in the encoding and transfer process and introduce new header fields and characters that allow increased understanding between applications of the content of individual packets (and the subsequent routing, processing and follow-on activities). New traffic classes are introduced, and within those classes, multiple types of data can be labeled, enabling different transfer and buffering rules to be executed.
But these new elements also enable something more important, the ability for the negotiations and handshakes that precede data transfers to be accelerated and improved in their accuracy. New rules are also introduced and automated that allow the host to execute waiting and arbitration protocols that serve to maximize bandwidth usage, thereby reducing the overall time required to execute a transaction involving the transfer of data through the USB hub.
For a contract lawyer who has lived long enough to recall being taught the original concepts of offer, consideration, and acceptance as the cornerstones of contract law, the capacity of technology to execute negotiated transactions and handshakes at the speed contemplated by the new USB protocol is beyond exciting.
All of this technology capability can be leveraged to improve the communication and transfer of descriptive information beyond the individual packets, and the impact of those capabilities and resulting solutions on the mechanisms of contract formation and execution become intriguing.
One practical application of the new SSP protocol that was explained is that it will now allow a user to edit video content on a mobile laptop, where the video content is still actively stored and resident on a thumb drive.
The “block chaining” capabilities embedded within Bitcoin are another illustration of how contract negotiation, acceptance, and execution are being transformed by computational features.
What do these mean collectively for the ability of a company to create new wealth and be more successful? It all comes down to velocity. When information moves with greater speed, the increased mobility of the information comes at a price. No matter how fast the information moves in transit, the receiving system (or individual) must still make a determination whether to accept the information for whatever is going to happen inside its perimeter (or one’s brain). In other words, data in transit must stop while we make a determination as to its reliability and functional value.
So, while the humble USB is achieving new levels of unprecedented velocity for data in transit, the challenge that awaits is to leverage those capabilities to both transmit, process, arbitrate, and resolve inherent questions regarding the functional and reliable value of the information itself.
In my new book, a cornerstone of the strategies presented is the Velocity Principle, a business – driven insight into how those processes occur that will transform how success or failure in the Digital Age will be measured. It is all about speed and velocity, and preserving time units that can be invested in other activities.
An editor has now been secured, the book is moving toward publication and I look forward to its release (anticipated in May, 2015).