The Next Chapter: Mobile/Wireless Computing
Predictions: The wireless life will include cellular refrigerators, privacy masking and roll-up displays.
Computerworld - Peer-to-Peer Wireless
By 2005, the typical cell phone will be indistinguishable from a PDA, and at least one U.S. carrier will support both 802.11 and 2.5G or 3G on the same devices.
As an unexpected consequence of this dual-band support, we'll see some instances of bottom-up networks, where devices connect directly with each other on a peer-to-peer basis. This will be a viable alternative to the current monopoly of carriers' antennas.
-- John Jordan, principal, office of the chief technologist, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young U.S. LLC, Cambridge, Mass.
"Can I get it with side-by-side doors, an ice dispenser and a GSM connection in harvest gold?"
There's always been a lot of talk about networking home appliances, but little action due to the difficulties of pulling wire or making networking run over power lines. But inexpensive networking running over public cellular networks will finally make possible next-generation applications, like a refrigerator that hosts a Web site listing what groceries a family needs and accepts bids from the local stores that want their business.
And, of course, a screen on a refrigerator represents an amazing advertising opportunity for Duncan Hines, Kraft and every other food company. Retailer Fry's Electronics already has a refrigerator with an RJ45 jack installed. Cellular is just around the corner.
-- Sheldon Laube, chairman, CenterBeam Inc., Santa Clara, Calif.
Within two years, one of the major PDA manufacturers will be out of business; Nokia will win the software battle with Microsoft for dominance of the mobile platform; and the monopolistic U.S. carriers will try very hard to squash 802.11 (but a couple of large technology companies will come to its rescue).
-- Amy Francetic, wireless analyst and producer of DemoMobile, IDG Executive Forums, San Mateo, Calif.
As location-based services proliferate across the wireless infrastructure, the hot software play will be "masking" services that hide who you are unless the ping is from a recognized source.
-- John Parkinson, chief technologist, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young U.S. LLC, Rosemont, Ill.
Disaster Recovery Via PDA
Wireless devices will revolutionize how companies build, distribute and invoke their business continuity and disaster recovery plans. For years, those plans have been immobile, existing in hard-copy form or on PCs. Now, with the ability to download status and individual action plans to handheld devices such as PDAs or cell phones, recovery teams will be more proactive and in better touch, wherever they are.
-- John Jackson, partner, Tatum CIO Partners LLP, Chicago
This Data Will Self-Destruct
Wireless devices developed over the next two to four years will include technologies such as GPS that will allow them to report their location when lost or stolen and provide an account of their current condition - what mode they are operating in and/or if they are damaged in some way. They'll also give the device owner the option to remotely secure or delete sensitive information.
-- David K. Black, senior manager of security technologies, Accenture Ltd., Washington
Walk Around, Or Sit Down?
In the next few years, I see largely separate roles for two distinct wireless technologies. 3G cellular services will emerge to provide the coverage for walk-around applications on a 3G cell phone or wireless PDA terminal - for example, text messages, checking e-mail and downloading location-specific information.
For sit-down applications at an airport, library or cafe, 802.11b wireless LAN technology provides greater data bandwidth and economy than cellular data services for more robust Web usage on wireless PDAs and notebook computers. Users will have the advantage of using the same 802.11b-enabled device in the wireless office, at home and at outside locations.
-- Howard Blum, professor of computer science, Pace University, New York
The shrinking size of cell-phone handsets and their tiny displays will make it difficult for them to be used to access Web content. If Bluetooth is successful, it will enable handsets to act as wireless modems for other mobile computing devices such as PDAs. Eventually, new display technologies such as organic LEDs will make it possible to carry around larger displays in a convenient size.
For example, displays might roll up into something the size of a ballpoint pen when not in use, but they aren't likely to be in widespread use until mid-decade at the earliest.
-- Eric M. Berg, technology forecaster, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Menlo Park, Calif.
- Tiny Gadgets, Huge Costs
- The Story So Far: Mobile & Wireless Computing
- The High Cost of Handhelds
- Opinion: The problem with wireless interoperability
- The Almanac: Mobile/Wireless
- How to manage cell phone rate plans
- Tech Check: The Office Goes Wireless
- Radio Frequency Identification
- New hospital goes wireless
- Wireless ROI will come from pragmatic applications
- How your career can thrive in the wireless market
- The Next Chapter: Mobile/Wireless Computing
- Will Location-Based Services Pay Off?
- Three questions for IBM on 'pervasive computing'
- Attachments in Hand
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
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As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more