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ESPOO, Finland – Free bandwidth is shrinking fast. With more and more of us bagging smartphones, it’ll soon become a bit of a bun fight to watch videos, send emails and make calls everywhere and anywhere. According to a recent study by Informa, mobile internet traffic handled by mobile operators will grow from seven billion megabytes worldwide (in 2008) into 63 billion megabytes in 2013. The answer? Cognitive radio, according to Nokia Research Center. No idea what cognitive radio is? Neither did we, till yesterday. Read on to find out more.

NRC, famed for their skill to look into the future, has foreseen that we need to avoid our mobile data traffic turning into a total gridlock. Cognitive radio will make using data-intensive services much quicker. So, watching videos from web, finding where you are in the world, sending a Tweet about a celebrity spotting or updating your Facebook status will be a cinch; even if you’re surrounded by the Tweetaholics of this world.

So, what exactly is it? Here’s the skinny: cognitive radio can sense and understand its environment and use that knowledge to serve users better. Meaning, if you’re in an area saturated with intense mobile users and you fancy catching up on some HD video goodness, cognitive radio will look for additional bandwidth, or provide optimal service continuity for mobile users.

Nokia Research Center has been beavering away on projects concerning cognitive radio and it hopes, in the future, it’ll form the basis for communication technology. A couple of months ago, at the Open Innovation event in Tampere, we saw the first example of an app using the tech in the form of Nokia Instant Community. But there’s so much more to come, and I for one am excited. Along with Nokia Instant Community, NRC is also working on spectrum sensing and software defined radio. All the research is clearly a step towards solving the problems that we’ll face in the future as we go smartphone mad.

All sound a bit technical? Well, that’s because it is. But luckily, NRC has created the handy video below to explain the tech wizardry.

Will we see a difference in our phones? Nope, it’ll just nuzzle in the phones we already have, and happily work away to make our phone experience better. 
Sounds good to us. What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below. For more information head over to the Nokia Research Center website.