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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Experiments in the UnWired Future

VentureBlog: Ubiquity Breeds Utility

In the late 1980s, Dartmouth College was the most wired campus on the planet, running 10GB Ethernet into every dorm room. Today, Dartmouth is the most unwired campus on the planet, with 560 access points covering 200 acres....If you wanted to know where wired communications were headed in the late 1980s, all you had to do was go to the Dartmouth campus and look at their homegrown email application, Blitzmail. As any regular user of Blitzmail will tell you, it included a server-side address book and remote private and public folders before almost any other email application. Watching a regular user of Blitzmail, you could have predicted the rise of LDAP, IMAP, and most importantly Instant Messenger


So what is the future of unWired look like ? They have gained wireless ubiquity, and are completely re-thinking how they use cellphones, PDAs, computers, newspapers, instant messenger, printers, power outlets, and most importantly, their time. Here a summary with breif commets :

  • Instant Messenger for voice (Think a Star Trek like com badge); Portable & Connected devices dominate ( "Daddy, what's a desktop computer?")
  • Voice is just an app (VOIP); Location based services emerge (Calendar applications that alert them of their next appointment based on their current location and estimated travel time; "Print" means print at the nearest printer)
  • What is the Value Add for Newspapers (Laptop + Wifi + Goggle News + Blogs; Does professional news reporting surive without adversiting?)
  • Low battery life becomes a real drag (Allways connected means allways on batttery, the last wire is the power cord!)
  • People power (wi-fi adoption to date has been dominantly in the home, which bodes poorly for most of the recent crop of wi-fi startups, who are all aimed at the enterprise.)
  • People can multi-task too (Students check email and have analytical conversations about live news while playing frisbee!)
  • Prepare to be Googled! (With wireless PDAs people will Google-scan each other in realtime, as they meet them. Not only your corporate Bio's and blog postings, but everthing you every posted to usenet groups.)
  • Bandwidth matters! (People have allways found ways to fill up the available bandwidth. just wait for TV over IP. )



They say " "The Future is here, but unevenly distributed" and now I know where my share is going.


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