Friday, August 04, 2006

Wireless Enterprise--Part III

Blog #6 by Martin Cooper, Executive Chairman
and Co-Founder of ArrayComm LLC

Wireless Enterprise
Part III

The Applications Will Change Our Lives
Once the technology of low-cost ubiquitous broadband is available and systems are deployed, we’ll be ready for the meaningful step in the mobilization of broadband. Applications that use this ubiquitous wireless broadband will change our lives dramatically, not the technology.

Bandwidth is awareness. If there is sufficient, untethered bandwidth at low enough cost, the need to travel, the requirement to go somewhere to experience other people and other places will be significantly reduced. The earliest of these applications are easy to predict; the really profound applications will take much longer. When people have lots of untethered bandwidth at low cost, they will change how they deal with each other and with the world. Why would you ever hold a face-to-face physical meeting if you had super hi-fidelity, three-dimensional views of the other conversants?

The photographic industry is rapidly transitioning from film, a truly primitive way of recording and storing images, to digital photography. Digital photography is not much better than film. Moving digital photographs from cameras to their ultimate destination is still awkward and complex. The camera of the future need only have two buttons, one to take the picture and the second to transmit that picture, virtually instantaneously, to the person who is intended to view the picture. Whether it’s my son sending a picture of my granddaughter to my television set for viewing an instant after he took it, a newspaper reporter sending a picture to his editor from the field, a marketing person updating a website with new pictorials, or a police officer sending a picture of a suspect into a pattern recognition data-base, a large amount of “middle man” awkwardness and inefficiency can be eliminated.

Consider music delivery. We are already replacing the CD (can you imagine buying a piece of plastic in a cardboard box when all we want is the music itself?) with downloaded music. But even that process is awkward and complex. The consumer of the future will make a music selection and download the music wirelessly and instantaneously for her listening pleasure.

Game playing is already in the process of revolution but the ability for people to play games with each other with no boundaries of geography, language, or politics will be even more revolutionary. But games are just strategic interactions by people seeking to achieve a competitive objective in a conflict. The application technology of game playing lends itself to public safety encounters as well as business competition.

The whole concept of marketing will change when it becomes possible to reach segments of the market with personalized, customized content wherever these constituencies are located. The concept of the business meeting will change when hi-fidelity sound and three dimensional images of meeting participants can be delivered to other participants, along with charts, videos, and other content.

The way in which medicine is practiced is going to change dramatically. It’s possible to measure virtually everything in your physiological system simply and unobtrusively today. It’s not inconceivable that this kind of information can be delivered directly from an individual to a doctor, or perhaps to a computer, for analysis instantaneously. This can happen when a person is sick and not when that person can get an appointment to visit a doctor. The doctor (or the computer) can then diagnose and prescribe immediately.

Public Safety
To a large degree, the ability of our public safety organizations to perform their duties is dependent upon the kinds of awareness that low-cost untethered broadband can provide. If the commander of a public safety unit, for example, can have visual and audio presentations coming from every officer in his unit for his immediate analysis, there is no question that he will be more effective and will do things differently. The commander, and each of the people in his unit, will have access to databases, from NCIC to the full extent of the Internet. It will take excessive development of new systems to make this information useful but it is inevitable that, once low-cost bandwidth is available, these systems will evolve.

We have had a taste of the productivity improvement, the convenience, and the freedom that wireless broadband can offer us. But new technology, enlightened regulation, and focused applications will lay before us a cornucopia, endlessly growing, of tools that will educate us, make us safer, and better our lives.


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