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More Predictions on the Future of Mobile/Wireless Computing

By Mitch Betts
December 16, 2002 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Our call for predictions about the future of mobile/wireless computing elicited dozens of prognostications. Here's the best of the rest of the collection:

With the notable exception of the i-mode service in Japan, the most significant mobile/wireless applications have been in the enterprise market rather than the consumer market, and this situation is likely to persist through 2004. The existing enterprise applications have largely been used by "field-force" employees (salespeople, service technicians, delivery people). During the next two years, these will be supplemented by applications used by a wider variety of professionals and by more horizontal applications. Tablet PCs will make mobile access to conventional desktop applications more attractive and could lead to mobile computing being used as much in the office as it is out in the field. -- Eric M. Berg, technology forecaster, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Menlo Park, Calif.

By the year 2020, the use of mobile computing in health care will extend average life spans by 20 to 25 years. Implanted wireless devices will continuously monitor our health, enabling the medical profession to treat most diseases in their absolute infancy. Mobile computing will also be used to monitor our diet and its effects on our health, control unhealthy habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption, and enable us to maximize the effects of exercise. Diseases such as diabetes will be virtually controlled through wireless monitoring and corrective-action devices, which will automatically adjust insulin levels without the patient even knowing. -- Phil Asmundson, deputy managing director of the Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Stamford, Conn., office

By 2004, more than 1 million remote and mobile devices will be integrated with enterprise applications. Early adopters will include industrial, oil and gas, manufacturing, and utilities. Typical applications will include homeland defense sensors, monitoring flow and pressure of petroleum production, meter readings, and field communications. -- Bob Ross, WebSphere integration program director, IBM Software Group, Somers, N.Y.

Mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs will merge and become indistinguishable. The device itself may even take the place of all credit cards and physical money, and become an automatic transmitter for recorded personal preferences such as room temperature, favorite TV programs and food preferences. Wherever we go, this information will be with us; for example, when you check into a hotel room, your device will automatically set the temperature, TV and dinner menu choices. -- Brian Terr, director of advanced products, Inc., Santa Monica, Calif.

The forthcoming 802.11i wireless security standard will make 2003 the year that wireless is finally taken seriously at

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