Today Intel announced that it is developing a new connectivity standard called Light Peak. As its name suggests, Light Peak is an optical solution that uses light to transmit data between devices. Now, fibre-optic networking is nothing new - I can still remember installing an FDDI link between a Silicon Graphics Indigo 2 workstation and a Cray supercomputer in 1991 when I was still working in high performance computing - but Light Peak is more than just a networking interface.
According to Intel, Light Peak can be used for networking, storage connectivity and video transmission, all down a single cable at speeds up to 10gbps. Intel is also quoting a range of up to 100m for Light Peak, which makes it ideal for anyone who wants to setup direct, remote access to workstations or servers. So, you could have workers sitting at their desks using computers that are safely locked away in a fireproof room in the basement, for instance.
Of course there are devices on the market that create an environment like the one described above - the Matrox Extio that I reviewed a couple of years ago does just that - but Light Peak looks set to be far more versatile.
The possibilities for Light Peak go far beyond the IT arena, with there being no shortage of applications in the consumer electronics world - something that was borne out by the quote from Sony above. A PlayStation 4 with Light Peak connectivity anyone?