“Shannon performed an inestimable service by giving us a definition of Information and a metric for Information as communicated from place to place. We have no theory however that gives us a metric for the Information embodied in structure...” This is what Frederick Brooks wrote here “The Great Challenges for Half Century Old Computer Science”.
This is a challenge which we still have today: the need of going beyond the traditional definition of information theory, which considers information in terms of exchanges of messages between end-points. Technology advances call for looking at new questions like, how information is embodied in the structure of the reality? In fact, when imagining the future of the environment around us, anywhere (at home, in the working areas, on the move...), we can easily foresee ultra-dense embedded processing, storage and communications resource; so we need looking at a new definition of embodied information, maybe more related to the cognition processes. Amazingly, this is how the brain-mind operates: neurons and their interconnections (the synapses) can store and process information in the same location !
So technology advances will bring in the long term to a new definition of networks beyond the client-server model and the paradigm of connecting end-points: the network become the "Nervous System" of the Digital Society and Digital Economy.
In fact, the number of terminals, devices, machines, smart things, cars connected to the Telecommunication networks is growing exponentially, and the so-called «machine intelligence» (e.g., computerization, automation, robotics, self-*) is entering already in the life-cycles of industries, agriculture, smart cities and eventually public institutions.
Advances and diffusion of ultra-broadband and Information Technologies (IT), tumbling hardware costs and availability of open source software are creating the conditions for a change of paradigm in designing and operating Telecommunications networks and services.
In this sense, I think that 5G (which is not just one step beyond 4G) will be the main “collector” of the Cloud/SDN/NFV waves of innovation, bringing such disruptions to maturation and socio-economic impact. Literally, the 5G will morph the space-time dimensions of the Digital Society and Economy...optimising processes, just like in Nature. IT will be the new tool. And this will determine a new economic growth more inclusive and sustainable.