Vision of the ‘Tactile Internet’ explored by latest ITU-T Technology Watch report

tactile-report-310x160Imagine connectivity so strong that an expert musician could connect with your senses to demonstrate how it feels to play an instrument, or that medical students in a range of locations could learn how it feels to perform advanced surgery through the eyes and hands of a surgeon at the top of their field.

ITU-T’s latest Technology Watch Report articulates a vision of the Tactile Internet, a future Internet characterized by latency so low – and availability, reliability and security so high – that ICT networks will connect people and things to an extent that completely nullifies the constraints of time and distance.

The report can be downloaded free of charge here.

In principle, all of our human senses can interact with machines, and technology’s potential in this respect is growing. The Tactile Internet will enable haptic interaction with visual feedback, with technical systems supporting not just audiovisual interaction, but also that involving robotic systems to be controlled with an imperceptible time-lag.

1-millisecond end-to-end latency is necessary in Tactile Internet applications. For technical systems to match humans’ interaction with their environment, our natural reaction times set the targets that technical specifications must meet.

The new Technology Watch report describes the Tactical Internet’s demands on future digital infrastructure and its expected impact on society.

The report explores the promise of the Tactile Internet in application fields ranging from industry automation and transport systems to healthcare, education and gaming, concluding with a brief discussion of the role to be played by the ITU framework.

More information on the Technology Watch series can be found here, and experts interested in authoring or contributing to future Technology Watch reports are encouraged to contact the TechWatch secretariat at

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