10 vendors that could power Star Trek

star trek

Last month, we took a look at some of the technologies featured in Star Trek that may not be that far from reality. That got me thinking about the vendors behind that technology – if Star Trek technology were to become reality, surely the IT vendors of today would do everything they could to capture the market.

RELATED: Ten Star Trek technologies that are almost here

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Sprint

The original Star Trek communicators were push to talk (PTT) devices that, when flipped open, created an open line to the recipient. "Kirk to Enterprise," for example. Later on, these devices were wearable technology that when "tapped" would open up the same connection. Given the fact that Verizon never got CDMA-based PTT to work quite right, it’s safe to assume that Sprint's iDen-based service lived on to power the communicators.

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Polycom

The use of immersive video was rampant on all versions of Star Trek and a key component of real-time negotiations with alien species. Much of the tech industry is predicting that video conferencing moves exclusively to small handheld devices, but clearly the large, immersive systems lived on. Contrary to what people think now, Polycom does not get acquired and becomes "the official video supplier for Starfleet." It also appears that the video interoperability problems get solved, as it’s unlikely that Klingons, Romulans, the Borg and Humans all adopt the same systems.

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Nuance

It appears that speech input improves by leaps and bounds over the next few hundred years. Nuance's Naturally Speaking becomes a much more common input interface than a traditional keyboard and mouse. In the movie "Search for Spock," Mr. Scott picked up a mouse and tried to talking to it. Clearly, Speech Input becomes the norm in that era.

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Yahoo

Given the ups and downs of the company, this may be a bit of a surprise. However, it turns out that acquisition of Tumblr was quite the astute purchase, as Tumblr with Naturally Speaking's voice recognition front end becomes the way the Captains input their "Captain's Logs" and then post them to a common Starfleet Wiki for everyone to see, read and listen to later on.

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Google

Ever see Kirk take the clipboard from one of the short-skirted females that run around the Enterprise? Turns out those are Android-based tablets that have a light pen used for Kirk to sign off on orders and other Captain-ish duties. Apple's locked-in approach limits applications to Earth-bound developers. Once Google launches "Google Universe View," Android development explodes and Google wins the tablet wars.

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Cisco

There's no better example of data center orchestration than the flexibility that Mr. Scott has in moving resources around the Enterprise. The Cisco UCS – Nexus-based data center allows Mr. Scott to move power from life support to forward shields from a centralized console. Older star ships required engineering to run down to the data center and manually re-cable network devices and servers, which is far too slow to withstand photon torpedoes.

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F5 Networks

Withstanding phaser beams from other ships on a singular point can be quite damaging. Remember in the Wrath of Khan when the Enterprise was damaged after it was caught off guard with its shields down? The shields used to protect the ships use a continually modulating frequency to absorb the impact and spread it out, or load balance, over the entire shield. The shields are powered by dilithium crystals, but are routed through an F5 Application Delivery Controller to balance the traffic, encrypting it so enemies can't shut the shields down. 

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Microsoft

The big battle in unified communications today is the fight for presence. It turns out Lync wins the presence wars, and through the Lync 2450 interface (actually launched in 2455) with two service packs, the crew on the bridge can track the status of people and devices. It's clear that presence federation becomes a reality, probably closer to 2450 than today.  

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Aruba Networks

Communicators, tricorders, phasers, you name it, they seem to be connected. How can that be, you ask? Well, Aruba Networks provides best-in-class 802.11Z-based Wi-Fi and YottaBit wireless speeds, making conversations and communications seamless.

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SAP

The amount of analysis done on the Enterprise is far beyond the capabilities of today’s traditional IT department. Calculating how to move across the universe at light-speed or plotting how to rescue Kirk from the penal colony, Rura Penthe requires a best-in-class big data platform, such as SAP Hana, to analyze galactic data. Sure, Spock can do it in his head, but when his brain is stolen, the crew will need to rely on good old-fashion big data analysis.