Twinning Is Key to Connected Devices

The world of connected devices continues to evolve rapidly, with new products, new concepts and new services coming forward at a breakneck pace. From 3G and 4G-equipped smartwatches, broadband-enabled cars, and carrier-offered services to connect them, there’s been a rash of new devices to add to our growing collections and more affordable mechanisms for doing so.

As the number of connected devices that people own goes up, however, there’s also the increasing recognition of the challenges associated with making them work together. Most people are eager to have their many devices work as a coherent whole so that services, messages, and other forms of communication are consistent and in-sync across all of them.

In fact, this is one of the key tenets of a digital identity: the ability to communicate, and access your media, documents or services, regardless of which device you happen to be using at the time. As I’ve argued before, I firmly believe digital identities are going to be an incredibly important issue moving forward. With more and more of the things we do, in both our personal and professional lives, becoming digitized, the ability to consistently access all of our digital “stuff” will soon be something we can’t imagine we lived without.

Right now, however, there are a few roadblocks preventing us from achieving that vision. One of them involves the concept of twinning, which basically means having multiple devices use the same phone number (really—the same SIM card access capabilities). With twinning, for example, you could send someone a text message and it would show up on both their smartphone and any other connected wearable, such as a connected smartwatch. More importantly, without twinning, the smartphone, and any other connected device with its own SIM card, would each have its own number. That means you’d have to remember to send a text to a friend or colleague’s smartwatch or other connected device number in the event they didn’t have their smartphone with them. Not exactly ideal. In fact, this is one of the key downsides I see to the otherwise intriguing MICA fashion-oriented smart bracelet from Intel and Opening Ceremony.[pullquote]Without twinning, the smartphone, and any other connected device with its own SIM card, would each have its own number. That means you’d have to remember to send a text to a friend or colleague’s smartwatch.”[/pullquote]

Many people are looking to simplify their lives and are already merging their personal phones and business phones into one, so the idea of adding yet another complication to communications via wearables, or other connected devices, is not going to be appealing to many. While not everyone is moving toward phone consolidation, the improved quality of virtualization tools and other “containerization” technologies is making the ability to separate a single device into two personalities—personal and work—a much more viable option. As a result, the desire to make connected wearables work more seamlessly with other devices is going to be critically important.

Now admittedly, there are plenty of other forms of communication that don’t rely on the phone number. For example, most web-based messaging tools, social networks, etc., simply require a user account name. That account name can be entered on multiple devices, thereby allowing a consistent experience across those devices. Additionally, a few wearables, like the Samsung Galaxy Gear S, use a form of call forwarding that can get around the multi-number issue to some degree, but not as completely and elegantly as twinning.

The problem with twinning is that right now no major US carrier supports it. AT&T has announced plans to add support for twinning to its network by the end of this year. Other carriers will likely follow suit, but that’s still a ways off. The challenge is that there are apparently a number of network upgrades that have to be made in order to offer the capability. In other words, it’s not as easy as you might think.

Given the momentum that’s occurring in the marketplace, both from a component and finished device perspective, I have no question that we will be seeing a lot more devices with integrated cellular broadband connectivity. With improvements in radios, battery life, and service plans already made and more on the way, it’s an easy prediction to make. However, limited support for twinning could make that reality a bit further off into the future than it might otherwise first appear.

Published by

Bob O'Donnell

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a technology consulting and market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

72 thoughts on “Twinning Is Key to Connected Devices”

  1. Twinning is important. Isn’t this what Apple has been doing for a while with iMessage, Facetime and now various continuity features where you can tell all your devices which of your several sub-identities can deliver messages and which one you send from.
    I can get messages via 2 phone numbers (US and UK) and 3 emails and send from an appropriate number depending on country/device. Macs can send and receive standard SMS via the phones etc. Mostly closed ecosystem I know but it is starting to include non-proprietary standards and points at what you are getting at.

    Not sure if this is a carrier solvable solution vs the OS/ecosystem provider.

    1. Yes, your comments on Continuity are valid ones and things I had thought about as I wrote the piece, but as you point out, right now it is a closed system. Still, they reflect how companies are trying to synchronize all these services (from messaging to documents to media, etc.) across multiple devices.

      1. Bob,
        Let’s not forget the reason it hasn’t happened yet is because the telecoms tech issues but more importantly their monetization issues.

        Att and Verizon aspire to be ad companies like Google.

        All these companies want to charge consumers for the convenience and twinning allows them to consolidate user data from two or more devices.

        It’s a profit maker from both sides.

    2. Looks to me like an OS/ecosystem problem. Carriers are not always involved, and at this stage of the game a user only cares that they are connected to the internet, whatever the technical means (WiFi, LTE). Apple’s Continuity is a good example of a current solution, still in its infancy, that leverages an ecosystem to deliver some benefits of a digital ID. Other, less complete examples are IMAP email, Gmail. Google Docs, and OneDrive – they each contain elements of Continuity, but cannot deliver at the device level.

      The idea of a “phone number” is becoming increasingly arcane, tied to an electro-mechanical world view. An internet-based ID feels inevitable, but must that be email?

  2. I think there 2 aspects to the issue:
    1- a low-level network connectivity aspect. Wifi is cool that way: as long as you can supply credentials, any device can connect. 3G/4G isn’t cool: access doesn’t rely only on a user account, but on a physical hard-coded SIM.
    2- a high-level cloud service issue, where once I’m physically connected to the network, I can access the services I’m subscribed to from the device I’m currently on. That requires a level of abstraction that phone calls and texts don’t offer, while messaging apps, Skype et al., email, VOIP, … do.
    I’m unsure why mobile carriers are reluctant to decouple network access from physical device (they could price per traffic and/or number of devices), and also services from device (ditto, they could price per service and/or number of devices). There might be a technical complexity factor: mobile network need to be more reliable than your typical wifi network. There’s certainly a lock-in issue -carriers *want* your phone calls and texts to be dependent on them- and probably an innovation+presentation issue – it’s harder to figure out how to price, sell and explain that new paradigm than to stick with the old way-.
    I think Google Voice provided (still provides ?) that one extra level of abstraction for phone calls and texts. It never got to my shores though, so not sure.

    1. Yes, my sense is there are some challenges to making twinning work in the network–hence the delays in rolling it out. As you point out, the carriers are keen to keep services tied to your number and while the IP-based web services break that bond, voice and text are important enough that they need to be part of a solution as well.

  3. This future we are heading towards, where your authenticated digital identity allows you to access and manage significant aspects of your day-to-day life is a future that poses an incredibly complex coordination problem between and among the devices, platforms and apps that will make such a future possible. Your belief on how complex this problem will be should dictate which business model you think will best deliver this future, integrated or modular? Monolith or coalition?

    1. Well, frankly, I think we’re going to see a number of experiments with regard to business model here because it is a whole new world. In fact, it wouldn’t shock at some point if there was some level of governmental regulation because of how important and elemental it will eventual be. Near term I think we will see some efforts that are more monolithic (e.g., from Apple) and some that are a bit more coalition-like. Because of the existing (and likely increasing) diversity of the device and platform eco-system, I think long term it’s going to take a more platform-agnostic approach.

  4. Sight Care is a daily supplement proven in clinical trials and conclusive science to improve vision by nourishing the body from within. The Sight Care formula claims to reverse issues in eyesight, and every ingredient is completely natural.

  5. Cortexi is a completely natural product that promotes healthy hearing, improves memory, and sharpens mental clarity. Cortexi hearing support formula is a combination of high-quality natural components that work together to offer you with a variety of health advantages, particularly for persons in their middle and late years. Cortex not only improves hearing but also decreases inflammation, eliminates brain fog, and gives natural memory protection.

  6. Boostaro increases blood flow to the reproductive organs, leading to stronger and more vibrant erections. It provides a powerful boost that can make you feel like you’ve unlocked the secret to firm erections

  7. Prostadine is a dietary supplement meticulously formulated to support prostate health, enhance bladder function, and promote overall urinary system well-being. Crafted from a blend of entirely natural ingredients, Prostadine draws upon a recent groundbreaking discovery by Harvard scientists. This discovery identified toxic minerals present in hard water as a key contributor to prostate issues.

  8. Puravive introduced an innovative approach to weight loss and management that set it apart from other supplements. It enhances the production and storage of brown fat in the body, a stark contrast to the unhealthy white fat that contributes to obesity.

  9. Neotonics is an essential probiotic supplement that works to support the microbiome in the gut and also works as an anti-aging formula. The formula targets the cause of the aging of the skin.

  10. FitSpresso stands out as a remarkable dietary supplement designed to facilitate effective weight loss. Its unique blend incorporates a selection of natural elements including green tea extract, milk thistle, and other components with presumed weight loss benefits.

  11. The Quietum Plus supplement promotes healthy ears, enables clearer hearing, and combats tinnitus by utilizing only the purest natural ingredients. Supplements are widely used for various reasons, including boosting energy, lowering blood pressure, and boosting metabolism.

  12. GlucoBerry is one of the biggest all-natural dietary and biggest scientific breakthrough formulas ever in the health industry today. This is all because of its amazing high-quality cutting-edge formula that helps treat high blood sugar levels very naturally and effectively.

  13. Dentitox Pro is a liquid dietary solution created as a serum to support healthy gums and teeth. Dentitox Pro formula is made in the best natural way with unique, powerful botanical ingredients that can support healthy teeth.

  14. Endo Pump Male Enhancement is a dietary supplement designed to assist men improve their sexual performance. This natural formula contains a potent blend of herbs and nutrients that work together to improve blood flow

  15. SonoVive™ is an all-natural supplement made to address the root cause of tinnitus and other inflammatory effects on the brain and promises to reduce tinnitus, improve hearing, and provide peace of mind.

  16. Nervogen Pro, A Cutting-Edge Supplement Dedicated To Enhancing Nerve Health And Providing Natural Relief From Discomfort. Our Mission Is To Empower You To Lead A Life Free From The Limitations Of Nerve-Related Challenges. With A Focus On Premium Ingredients And Scientific Expertise.

  17. Gorilla Flow is a non-toxic supplement that was developed by experts to boost prostate health for men. It’s a blend of all-natural nutrients, including Pumpkin Seed Extract Stinging Nettle Extract, Gorilla Cherry and Saw Palmetto, Boron, and Lycopene.

  18. TropiSlim is a unique dietary supplement designed to address specific health concerns, primarily focusing on weight management and related issues in women, particularly those over the age of 40. TropiSlim targets a unique concept it refers to as the “menopause parasite” or K-40 compound, which is purported to be the root cause of several health problems, including unexplained weight gain, slow metabolism, and hormonal imbalances in this demographic.

  19. Cortexi is an effective hearing health support formula that has gained positive user feedback for its ability to improve hearing ability and memory. This supplement contains natural ingredients and has undergone evaluation to ensure its efficacy and safety. Manufactured in an FDA-registered and GMP-certified facility, Cortexi promotes healthy hearing, enhances mental acuity, and sharpens memory.

  20. ProDentim is an innovative dental health supplement that boasts of a unique blend of 3.5 billion probiotics and essential nutrients, all of which have been clinically proven to support the health of teeth and gums.

  21. Your best source for free and live chat with adults in a sexually charged environment. Over the years and even more recently, sex chat usage has increased significantly. Users are in search of a platform that allows adults to gather together in one common setting. There, they can make new friends or satisfy their deepest sexual fantasies. Are you tired of the typical adult chat rooms you see on internet? Are you looking for something more unique with hundreds of people logged in at all times? Enjoy your free time here : https://bit.ly/Free-Adult-Webcams

  22. What makes Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic even more unique is its inspiration from the beautiful Indonesian island of Sumatra. This supplement incorporates ingredients that are indigenous to this stunning island, including the exotic blue spirulina. How amazing is that? By harnessing the power of these rare and natural ingredients, Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic provides you with a weight loss solution that is both effective and enchanting.

  23. Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic takes pride in its manufacturing process, ensuring that every batch is produced in FDA-approved and GMP-certified facilities. This means that each and every bottle of Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic meets the highest standards of quality and safety. You can trust that you are getting a product that has undergone strict quality control measures and is backed by scientific research.

  24. Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic is a unique weight loss supplement that sets itself apart from others in the market. Unlike other supplements that rely on caffeine and stimulants to boost energy levels, Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic takes a different approach. It utilizes a blend of eight natural ingredients to address the root causes of weight gain. By targeting inflammation and improving sleep quality, Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic provides a holistic solution to weight loss. These natural ingredients not only support healthy inflammation but also promote better sleep, which are crucial factors in achieving weight loss goals. By addressing these underlying issues, Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic helps individuals achieve sustainable weight loss results.

  25. Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic is a unique weight loss supplement that sets itself apart from others in the market. Unlike other supplements that rely on caffeine and stimulants to boost energy levels, Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic takes a different approach. It utilizes a blend of eight natural ingredients to address the root causes of weight gain. By targeting inflammation and improving sleep quality, Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic provides a holistic solution to weight loss. These natural ingredients not only support healthy inflammation but also promote better sleep, which are crucial factors in achieving weight loss goals. By addressing these underlying issues, Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic helps individuals achieve sustainable weight loss results.

  26. Prostadine helps clear out inflammation in the prostate.Prostadine claims the root cause of most prostate issues is due to the accumulation of toxic mineral buildup due to hard water. When unchecked, this toxic buildup leads to inflammation in the prostate and the rest of your urinary tract. This impairs your ability to urinate, ejaculate, and produce hormones needed for your overall health.

  27. I am absolutely thrilled to introduce you to the incredible Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic! This powdered weight loss formula is like no other, featuring a powerful blend of eight natural ingredients that are scientifically linked to fat burning, weight management, and overall weight loss. Just imagine the possibilities! With Sumatra Slim Belly Tonic, you have the opportunity to finally achieve your weight loss goals and transform your body into the best version of yourself.

  28. Glucotrust is a revolutionary nutritional supplement that is designed to support healthy blood sugar levels in the body. It is made from a blend of essential nutrients and powerful antioxidants that work together to promote optimal health and wellness.

  29. Sugar Defender orchestrates a reduction in blood sugar levels through multifaceted pathways. Its initial impact revolves around enhancing insulin sensitivity, optimizing the body’s efficient use of insulin, ultimately leading to a decrease in blood sugar levels. This proactive strategy works to prevent the storage of glucose as fat, mitigating the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

  30. The ability of Alpilean to target both subcutaneous and visceral fat distinguishes it from other weight loss products. Subcutaneous fat is visible beneath the skin, whereas visceral fat is harmful fat that accumulates around the organs, increasing the risk of heart disease and other health problems. Alpilean ensures that you not only look better, but also feel better by attacking both types of fat.

  31. Fluxactive Complete’s formulation contains only organic ingredients that have been shown to improve prostate health. These ingredients work together to provide your body with the nutrients it requires. Your overall health improves once your body receives a healthy dose of these nutrients.

  32. Sugar Defender stands as a beacon of natural, side-effect-free blood sugar support. Crafted from a blend of pure, plant-based ingredients, this formula not only helps regulate blood sugar levels but also empowers you on your journey to weight loss, increased vitality, and overall life improvement.

  33. Sugar Defender stands as a beacon of natural, side-effect-free blood sugar support. Crafted from a blend of pure, plant-based ingredients, this formula not only helps regulate blood sugar levels but also empowers you on your journey to weight loss, increased vitality, and overall life improvement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *