A Peek Inside the Wireless World *Chapter 2 from Joyce’s
CUTTING THE CORD BOOK) never published (cut for space)
written in 2001.
Wireless technology promises to unleash the power promised
by the Information Superhighway of the '90s. It's driving
that energy to the people, as going mobile becomes
increasingly affordable. The realization will be person to
person communication not point to point anywhere 24/7/365
Not so long ago, you could spot the big-shots who had car
phones by the boomerang-shaped antennas on their trunks.
Now gizmos, gadgets, and appliances galore transport us all
into a mobile millennium, morning, noon, or night.
What has this "future-talk" got to do with you? All too
often consumers and businesses just want to cut to the
chase and just name the best model and the best place to
buy. They say forget the adjectives and the anecdotes;
they've got places to go and people to see, right? Well,
that's why we urge you to stop before you shop. One size
doesn't fit all when it comes to going mobile. Just like
you buy your kids' shoes a half-size larger, you want a
phone with more features so it grows with you.
Cutting the cord is a process, not an event. To really go
mobile, you need a plan and plenty of perspective on your
communications needs for home, office, and travel. That's
why we're pleased to offer you a peek into the future to
see how the wireless world will weave together to change
the fabric of our lives. How we earn, learn, and live
continue to change as we connect cordlessly.
To Live and Die in Cyberspace
To live and die in cyberspace is both an opportunity and a
challenge. The Web gives us access to vast libraries,
museums, auctions, and databases globally. But it comes
with a lot of hardware and strings attached namely PC’s
and phone lines. As the Internet advances, consumer
electronics manufacturers are joining with Telco giants to
cut those umbilical cords and bring the worldwide access to
the mobile arena.
Untethered World “Always On.
An untethered world that's "always on" offers freedom but
demands responsibility. Our identities, privacy, and sanity
might be at risk in a universe that knows who we are, where
we are, and what we're doing.
Pervasive Computing Means Everywhere
Researchers at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science
working on a project called Oxygen say we'll soon enter an
era of pervasive computing, where the Internet is
wirelessly within reach not just from handheld devices but
from transceivers built into cars and walls and public
spaces. Wi-Fi and low frequency delivery systems will soon
WIRELESS WORK --- SCI-FACT NOT SCI-FI
Techno-thrillers such as Blade Runner predict dark, dreary
urban nightmares, where cyborgs and cybercops duel to the
death and the dregs of humanity huddle together in hiding
from Big Brother.
The best way to predict the future is to invent it, says
early PC pioneer Alan Kay. In the new consumer-centric
economy, you vote with your cash and credit cards. The more
you know, the wiser your decision-making is. You're not
just going mobile, you're starting to create a new life and
work style wirelessly.
The Yellow Brick Road to Oz
The wireless Oz of instant connection to work, school, and
play appears at an intersection of technology revolutions,
Global telecommunications networks. These feature-rich
digital systems are used for delivery of voice,
video, and data, paving the way to mobile commerce,
on-the-go banking, instant payment services, and
Ubiquitous Internet This brings the Web and e-mail to
airplanes, hotel rooms, and auto dashboards. Built-
in wireless modems link laptops, appliances, and TVs
together. Yes, you'll soon text your microwave to
start dinner while you're in your car on the way
home. Shopping malls are wirelessly leading the way
to swipe-and-go, cashless society. RFID Tags augment
tracking and marketing methods.
Nanotechnology This leads the way to atomic-scale
networks in which computers are no bigger than dust
particles. So technology becomes invisible as it's
embedded in clothes, eyeglasses, seatbacks, and
tabletops, and you carry wireless connectivity with
you everywhere. Technology will become "invisible"
rather than "transparent" – it will be so small you
don't see it, but you still can't see through it.
Voice recognition This lets you log on with words rather
than clicks. Smart devices listen to you, and
techno-toys and robots entertain you and do your
chores on demand or on schedule using IA
Smart machines These sport artificial intelligence and
learn your preferences.
Bots These anticipate your needs and desires as they shop,
plan, and organize your busy life, and maybe even
become your best pals. You'll control these machines
with wireless devices.
3D Internet and virtual reality system This offers
sports, travel, games, and shopping simulations
(wirelessly) and blurs the line between the bricks
and clicks of our offline and online lives.
Biomedicine advances These sensors and wireless devices
connect patients to doctors 24/7 and physicians to
hospitals seamlessly for updated house calls.
Disappearing Devices by 2010
In the next decade, your phone, portable device, or
wearable will unlock more and more wireless wonders. Beyond
2010, some futurists believe even the device might
disappear as the world around us becomes so connected that
we'll talk to smart walls, smart cars, and smart screens to
communicate one-to-one or one-to-many. Biometrics including
retina scans, thumbprints and embedded chips usher in new
opportunity for security and marketing systems but at the
same time may threaten personal privacy rights.
A Century of Change
At the start of the twentieth century, America changed from
a rural to an urban economy, and a gap opened between the
public world of men at work in offices or factories and the
private world of women at home. Who knew that the telephone
would lead the way to closing that gap? As we ended the
twentieth century, low-cost long distance service, two-way
pagers, cell phones, and the Internet became essential
tools to connect working men and women to their families.
And the boundaries between work, home, and school began to
What will your wireless world be like?
Look how going wireless is changing your home, car, office,
and children's school.
You won't have to wait a century for this to happen.
A Day Inside the Connected Home
Here's a scenario of how wireless technologies
will empower you and your family in the
connected home of tomorrow. Knowing how
powerful wireless will be may, give you a
better idea of what your current needs are for
a phone, PDA, or home networking system.
GOOD MORNING 2010:
Your wife wakes you with a kiss on the forehead while the
household robotic stands at the doorway bringing STARBUCKS
for-home VIP treatment, the delivery display screen enables
you to scan the enews &check unified messages (text &
video) still snuggled under the covers. You savor your café
latte being kept at just the right temperature because of a
special sensor embedded in the cup. Meanwhile the family
PIM blinks at the foot of the bed with a rolling scroll of
daily reminders and appointment times.
****************PIM (Personal Information Manager**********
PIM is the acronym for personal information manager, the
term used for software and hardware that keeps your
calendar, address book, and other reference information
close. British research service ARC Group projects that the
leading PIM will be the number-one mobile application until
2003, after which navigation and location systems will take
over the top spot. Its current top list of mobile
applications includes the following:
*email *entertainment, financial services, internet
browsing, navigation/location * m-commerce and *intranet
BZZZZZ U11 scrolls across the screen to a buzzing sound….
You have a busy day ahead; your personal messenger is
blinking and buzzing, reminding you today’s your 10th
anniversary. As your wife, leaves the room to deal with the
kids, your shopping bot senses you are alone and pops up
with a marketing-sponsored text suggesting you click to
order flowers NOW, NOW NOW…..
Another ping gets your attention. You say yes to the Mobile
Shopping Network's smiling rep offering an up-sell to your
order and add daily special an upgrade to 24 roses and
same-day delivery for half the usual price. How can she be
so cheery at this time of day? It's probably a 7th
generation avatar but that blond hair looks so real and the
voice sync is so perfect?
Less than five minutes have gone by since you woke up, but
your kids are yelling at you through the bedroom mirror
screen to help them in the kitchen.
Ham and Green Eggs on Demand
Both kids want pancakes. A quick request to the cutting
board screen and the recipe appears instantly. As you flip
the pancakes, you glance at the other wall and see the home
security system showing video of the family dog, Chip,
chasing your robotic pet, Aibo, into the street. With a
flick of the finger you activate the family intercom and
order Aibo and Chip back into the house. Puppy or ‘robo-
dog’which one is more trouble?
While you eat breakfast, the refrigerator's bar-code
scanner updates the inventory of what's inside and sends
food orders to the local grocer, who will deliver them. The
smart refrigerator also suggests its own menus and
downloads coupons for your favorite products.
Whirlpool North America is already testing Internet-enabled
appliances and will soon start delivering these products to
consumers' homes. A proposed community in west Los Angeles
called Playa Vista plans to feature 13,000 homes with such
21st Century features as these Web-enabled appliances and
broadband Internet access for full entertainment services.
The Whirlpool refrigerator-mounted Web tablet serves as the
kitchen-appliance control point, linking oven, dishwasher,
and microwave. It has an integrated Web browser that can
search for recipes and then even program the oven to ensure
proper cooking. Families can also use the Web tablet as a
home bulletin board to organize notes and schedules.
Whirlpool is not the only manufacturer of these new "smart
Good Wireless Morning to You
Where are those kids? Breakfast is done, and it's time to
leave for school and work. You glance at the intercom
screen and see your son is lying on his bed with the
Advanced Video Game Boy in hand. "Don't worry, Dad, I'm
practicing my French with my pal Jacques in Paris," he
says. Then it's "bonjour" into the wearable microphone.
Your daughter is searching through her jewelry drawer for a
bracelet-style computer that matches her T-shirt.
Meanwhile, she thumbs messages to pals on her two-way that
has an optional video screen always off in the early
mornings and 24 hours on “BAD HAIR DAYS” –why don’t you
remember to do that – especially now that your hair is
TRAFFIC 411 TO THE RESCUE
You glance at the hall monitor which shows heavy traffic on
the freeway, with a tap on the screen, it delivers
alternate route recommendations. Say “print” and a map to
the kids’ new school prints out from the networked wall
***Traffic 411 Is Real Now*****
Traffic 411.com is a Los Angeles based firm that offered
full-motion, wireless video traffic reports via Packet
Video's technology on the Cassiopeia back in the year
2000. The Packet-Video enabled full-motion video
construction updates serving the Las Vegas market, may have
been the first in the country to show videos of actual
helping motorists avoid traffic snarls. been the first in
the country to show actual intersections under construction
so drivers could avoid traffic snarls.
Finally…. everyone is ready to pile into the car…so you
head to the garage and the car ready, motion-sensitive door
locks open on your verbal command.
Remote greetings & all the songs you want…
Darn, you didn't leave a Happy Anniversary message for your
wife, who is already attending a videoconference in the
home office. You could run back upstairs, but you're
already late and it's the kids' first day at their new
school. Quickly you record an "I Love You" with your
wearable personal messenger and tell the bot to attach her
favorite love song so she can play it after she's out of
her meeting. Good thing you paid that famous songwriter’s
archive its annual copyright fee for unlimited use of that
tune –it sure keeps you out of trouble.
WIRELESS IS NOW:
Ben Mandel, co-host and producer of PBS's The New Home
Show, says that wireless technology already affects today's
homes. "After all, remember when your remote control was
attached to a long wire that ran between the control pad
and the TV or VCR?" And he reminds us that our garage door
openers have long been wireless.
Here are some other things to watch for:
A remote starter on your car that revs it up while
you're still inside
A smart defroster that turns on automatically, no
A remote thermostat control to turn on the air
conditioner before you walk into the house
Beam It Up to Me
Most digital homes will have a home gateway featuring a
central PC what the geeks call a server to connect all your
appliances, PCs, Web tablets and maybe your PC/TVs in a
wireless secure in-home network.
Your virtual private network will control all information
and entertainment and serve as your connection to not only
your immediate family but also to your friends, office,
retailers, and service providers.
Personal Family Networks:
Watch for a world of personal family networks that evolve
and customize to your family profiles, including the
Safety and security systems
Entertainment on demand
Networked gaming systems for kids and adults
Bill payment, savings, and investment programs
You soon might have your own personal concierge dedicated
to your family's lifestyle. This synthetic character with
artificial intelligence may become a very close pal who
knows your family's profiles and updates your systems.
Your Onscreen Virtual Assistant
In the romance novel Keeper of the Heart by Johanna Lindsey
(Avon Books), the heroine has a personal android who serves
as a protector. She also has an always-on virtual personal
assistant. "Martha" is part secretary, part motivational
coach, part psychologist, and mostly friend. Martha is
available 24 hours a day via screen.
What else can a connected wireless home offer you?
How close can you come to tomorrow today and re-create the
connected home scenario you just read about? Three home
networking technologies are already competing.
HomeRF achieves top data rates of around l.6Mbps (megabits
per second), which works great for carrying audio and
relatively low-quality video. In the interest of neighborly
harmony, HomeRF wireless network connections can be
restricted to cover just your home and backyard.
The next generation of HomeRF is expected to offer data
rates of 10Mbps and support home entertainment, such as
whole house audio (no wires for speakers) and wireless
distribution of DVD-quality video to monitors around the
house. Also, it will support roaming. HomeRF 3.0 will
feature data rates as high as 20Mbps.
The Home Radio Frequency Working Group (an organization
comprised of Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel,
Microsoft, and other industry giants) says that HomeRF will
maintain backward compatibility so that newer and older
products will work with one another.
Wireless Ethernet (802.llb) & beyond…….
802.11b, the current form of wireless Ethernet,
offers data rates as high as 11Mbps. The next
generation, 802.11a, will reach 20Mbps. The
signals can be used to maintain connection
while you roam around your house.
Bluetooth technology, lauded as a replacement for cables
that carry information from one device to another (such as
between a PDA and a PC using a synchronization cradle),
continues to develop. Palm plans to add Bluetooth to its
operating system next year. Bluetooth promises that you
will get your own personal area network (PAN) and that the
devices will know whether you've carried them into the
kitchen and can then download recipes for you. In addition,
Bluetooth devices work without going through an access
Screenshot – www.bluetooth.com
More than 200 million Bluetooth-enabled devices will be
sold by 2003 increasing to 670 million by 2005 according to
market research firm Cahners-in-Stat Group.
***End STREETBUZZ******End STREETBUZZ***
Home Networking Doesn't Mean Wireless
You can set up a home networking system using power and
phone lines. You'll see many devices that promise to
connect your computers, but that doesn't mean they are
wireless. If you want to use devices such as notebook
computers or PDAs, wireless is the way to go.
Pulling the plug can be costly, however. As you add new PCs
and electronic systems to your house, you can increase your
electric bill. The connected home does not automatically
mean conservation, although you can apply the technology to
saving energy costs (such as by having it turn down the
heater when you're not home). And you won't be able to go
totally wireless today; you'll still probably need to get
some cables and install new electrical outlets to
accommodate the new hardware.
Before you spend a lot of time and money connecting your
home, consider that installing and learning how to use all
the hardware and software can take time. Costs can also add
up quickly when trying to connect your existing home.
Broadband access alone costs at least $40 to $100 per
month. Home automation software, service equipment, and
installation costs can run into the thousands of dollars.
You might want to wait until you build your next home to
truly go cordless throughout the whole house.
If you're not ready to go completely wireless yet, here are
two other systems you can use to connect your PCs.
HomePlug Powerline Networking
The HomePlug Powerline Alliance is a group working to turn
your home's electrical wiring into the backbone that
connects devices for computing, communications, and home
entertainment. HomePlug products could be on store shelves
soon. HomePlug works at speeds as high as 10Mbps, fast
enough for streaming audio and video. Plug each PC into a
wall jack and data races between them through the existing
In field trials now, HomePlug's technology is in 500 homes
worldwide, and specs for powerline networking standards are
being finalized. Watch for adapters for linking PCs and
peripherals for sharing high-speed Internet connections in
a powerline-based local area network (LAN). In the future,
look for HomePlug appliances with built-in Web browsers and
More than 75 companies make up the HomePlug alliance,
including Compaq, Intel, and 3Com.
HomePlug vs HomePNA
Don't confuse HomePlug Networking with HomePNA
phone line networking. One uses electrical
wiring as a basis for home networking, and the
other uses telephone wiring.
HomePNA Phone Line Networking
HomePNA is an organization formed by 10 companies (Compaq,
IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lucent, and AT&T Wireless
among them) that introduced the first phone line networking
in 1998. Today, HomePNA works at speeds as high as 10Mbps,
and the next generation will get rates of 100Mbps.
PAN (Personal Area Network)
The ultimate PAN is the human body. MIT Media Lab
researcher Tom Zimmerman designed a low-frequency wireless
networking technology in the early '90s that passes through
the body and has a range of about 1 meter. Today, he's
focusing the technology for security purposes in business,
industrial, and consumer high-risk areas.
The majority of HomePNA products already on the market are
low-cost and include add-in cards and USB adapters for PCs
which themselves would cost $30 - $50 and home gateways
that distribute high-speed Internet access across multiple
computers. Ethernet-to-HomePNA adapters also are available
for about $100.
What About Webcams?
One of the main benefits of the connected home is safety
and security. Webcams can help you keep an eye on things.
In our scenario of the future, Webcams and cameras are
built into the house as it is constructed. To simulate the
same scene today, you can get wireless Webcams and cameras
and add them to complete your home network.
Why use a webcam? Here are some reasons:
To keep an eye on your babysitter while you're at
To check that the bird is back in its cage
To make sure the storm didn't flood the basement
To see whether the blinds were left open or closed
To make sure the dog is still in the yard
Security is certainly a benefit of the new connected home,
but while you're retrofitting your current house, you need
to take all measures to stop invasions of your family's
personal privacy (see Chapter 8 for more information). You
don't want hackers gaining access to your home through
Webcams or garage door openers.
A Webcam is not big enough to provide security for your
front door or keep tabs on a sleeping baby. Other camera
monitors are available for those purposes, most of which
offer access to their views from any screen in the house or
Portable Web Devices
You can carry these devices from house to yard or even to
the office. And all the time you've got the Internet with
you and access to word processing programs or
entertainment. A popular form of portable Web device is the
Honeywell WebPad, which provides high-speed wireless
connections to the Internet.
Home versus Office--- 137 Million Users…
Dataquest, a research firm, predicts that by 2003, more
than 137 million users worldwide will split their time
between a traditional office and a home office.
Most people believe they will have different devices at
home than in the office. A home device could be a handheld
computer, a smart wireless phone, or a truly universal
remote controller. All those might merge in the future, too.
If you get a call on your wireless phone while you're
listening to your MP3 player through your headphones, the
songs will soon pause by themselves and send through the
call so you don't have to pull the phone out of your purse.
Back to the Future
As you pull the car out of the garage, the car doors
automatically lock and the OnStar Virtual Advisor says
hello. Your son John pipes up and asks the service to find
a dinner reservations for mom and dad for tonight—knowing
you probably forgot.
Virtual Advisor launched in spring 2001 and gives drivers
access to headlines; stock quotes, and sports scores, as
well as a personal concierge service for making restaurant
reservations and buying event tickets. Plus, drivers using
Virtual Advisor can receive real-time, location-based
traffic information thanks to content deals signed with
such major U.S. traffic systems as Etak and Metro Networks.
However, Virtual Advisor prices can be steep for a family.
One year of service is included with the cost of the
vehicle; renewals cost $199 per year for safety and
security and $399 for the premium service. Unless you're in
your car a lot or use it for business, you might not want
to pay $400 for information or concierge services.
As you pull away from the house, you see Anna, your
housekeeper, walking up to the house and open the door for
her by telling your home controller "open front door."
The OnStar system tells you it's going to be cold outside
today. The personal concierge then pops up with an offer
for a quick trip to sunny Los Cabos, Mexico because on your
personal profile you requested special vacation offers
during fall and winter for warm resorts. Just the thought
that the sun is out somewhere makes you happier. Your
daughter, of course, encourages you to order the trip as an
anniversary present and to take the whole family.
Telematics is the term used for two-way communications
tools in the car and has been around since the '90s.
According to forecasters UBS Warburg, the business is set
to explode and become a $47 billion global market by 2010.
You refuse the vacation offer but secretly wish you and
your wife could go perhaps next month it will be possible.
You can probably find the offer in your electronic storage
system and retrieve it later. But better offers might come
in by then as the snow starts to pile up in the Midwest.
You ask the kids whether they have their lunch money, and
both of them say no they don't like to carry cash anymore
because cash isn't "cool." So, you arrange with the
virtual; concierge to transfer some electronic cash to
their wearable devices so they can have lunch at school.
While you're at it, you add their weekly allowances.
Mobile banking is here already. Bank of America alone had
served 2.4 million wireless customers via the wireless Web
by May 2001. Additionally, Bank of America is in the midst
of rolling out wireless offerings in the Dallas/Fort Worth
and Baltimore/Washington, D.C. markets and will soon offer
a national wireless service.
Bank of America offers special services called alerting. An
alert can tell you when your stock hits a certain price,
when your checking account balance drops below a certain
figure, or that a check has cleared. For most people,
banking alerts can eliminate the need to go online to the
bank's Web site to determine whether an electronic check
for gas and electric cleared last night or whether a big
incoming draft from a client cleared. Plus, no more lengthy
calls with the bank's voice services are necessary with
You son John is nervous about his first day at school and
fears he's going to be late because he was told to show up
for an optional orientation session at 7:30 a.m. You try to
explain what optional is and even begin to look it up in
the car dictionary. He complains, and you relent, dictating
him a note explaining that you made him late. You transfer
that directly to his wearable computer, and he'll beam the
note to his teacher's WebPad.
After the kids are dropped off, you check your office
calendar from the screen on what used to be called the
glove compartment. You think, "Did I ever put gloves in
It's nice that your new car PC connects to your office
network. You're tempted to review your PowerPoint
presentation, but it won't work unless the car is stopped a
safety feature introduced last year. Instead, you turn on
some soothing CD music and leave another message for your
wife, reminding her about your date. As you do that, you
send her an electronic greeting card because you didn't
include one with the flower delivery.
Microsoft is said to be working on developing prototype in-
car computing communications and entertainment systems
based on WinCE for Automotive. It's apparently testing them
in a fleet of its own cars, according to Microsoft's
Automotive Business Unit. One of the prototypes is a car PC
that uses 802.11b technology to become part of a nearby
home or office computer network just like any other PC in
You can learn more about car computers and telematics in
Chapter 7, "The Web on Wheels: Telematics."
PC ON WHEELS
Cars of the future are likely to come equipped or be
capable of being upgraded to include the following devices:
*MP3 music playback *DVD video playback * Normal radio
functions *Navigation systems *Wireless information
services Safety and security (to notify 911
automatically) Diagnostics to notify drivers
about equipment status
What about satellite radio?
Telematics systems available today include the following:
OnStar From General Motors (www.onstar.com)
RESCU From Lincoln
Tele Aid From Mercedes (www.mbusa.com)
ASSIST From BMW but in Germany only (www.bmw.com)
Telematics to go…
Before buying your next car, check to see
what's available in the telematics area as an
upgrade or standard issue. You might want to
wait for the next model the telematics
applications and systems that will be available
soon are pretty awesome.
Your car concierge warns you that you're low on gas and
tells you that the next gas station is at the corner of 9th
and Vine. You vow that your next car will be a hybrid
electric/gas car. Didn't that Honda dealer tell you he went
all the way across the country for $78? You remember when
gas was $1 per gallon in the good old days.
At the station, you get out and send a beam to the premium
pump with your hand controller. You indicate you want $20
worth of gas and hope that gets you through the weekend. As
you're filling up, a coupon on your hand controller offers
you a free mocha cappuccino at the nearby Starbucks buy
one, get one free. Mmm, that sounds good, but you're
already late. You tell the coupon to "store" itself for
later retrieval in your personal m-locker; maybe this
afternoon you'll take a break and buy one for yourself and
your pal Joe and reminisce about back when you first met
SPEED PASS --- transponders transmitting…
Mobile speed pass was one of the first devices to allow you
to "gas and go." A quick flash to the mobile reader on the
pump, and Mobile Oil bills your credit card account and
invoices you monthly. This has become the prototype for
many "buy-and-go" systems mobile commerce systems.
As you store the coffee coupon, an offer is displayed for
free Lotto. You hit Delete because you've been on a losing
streak. Your wife doesn't like getting all these offers
because she thinks they're just spam, but you're a
Capricorn and like deals. You feel if you opt in to get
these goodies, they are valuable, and heck you do drink
coffee and play Lotto anyway.
About a mile from the office, on a whim, you make a left
turn instead of a right, overriding the car mapping system.
You decide that you want to work from home, too, today.
Managers at your firm get a choice of two days a week when
they can work remotely, and you've been in the office all
week so far.
AVATAR IS STAR
To be truthful, they might not even miss you because your
face will be available to them on your desktop screen. You
switch on the screen and record a good-morning message for
your personal avatar it's almost as good as having a clone.
L-Commerce at the Mall
As you near the mall, the communicator offers you today's
specials, including free alterations at your favorite
specialty store. Then, the store manager comes onscreen to
wish you "Happy Anniversary" and offer you a $50
anniversary discount coupon on the purchase of a new sports
coat. How does he know? Your personal profile lists special
dates in your life for which you might need new clothes
This is an example of location commerce (l-commerce), which
is being deployed. Early systems don't need fancy GPS
locators and can work from your roaming position. They can
pinpoint your current cell site and make you a target for
provider promotional marketing. Other systems rely on the
name of a city; a ZIP code; or the designation of a
highway, a freeway exit, or a geographical feature to
localize a user.
You print out the clothes discount coupon on your car-puter
and at the same time order a strawberry mango smoothie for
pickup as you head to the mall. Chances are that your mall
has installed new payment systems by now, so you'll be able
to just scan and buy things using a bar code and your
electronic debit system no more credit cards to carry
Inside the mall, the large video screens feature daily
specials at most of the stores. It has been a while since
you've been to the mall; most of the time you shop from
your Mobile Shopping Service. After all, it's customized to
know your preferences, offer you deals, and update your
files, so you always know the last time you bought shoes
and the brand of wine you prefer.
M-Commerce Call to Action
The ubiquity of the telephone and enhanced interfaces for
commerce and special applications will help mobile commerce
(m-commerce) evolve quickly.
Soon inside malls, merchants will send "calls to action" to pagers and mobile phone
customers. A must-use-today coupon might go to all those entering a mall. A sign posted
at the mall door might read, "By entering this mall, you provide your permission for us to
beam you coupons, specials, and discounts; be assured, your identity is safe and no
beams are sent to children under the age of 18." Is that spam? Many people think it is, but
when spam becomes useful, it ceases to be a bother and becomes a special deal for you or
Redeeming electronic coupons can be as easy as going to the
point of sale, calling up the message on the device
display, and showing it to a person or an electronic reader
no complex tech is required.
One company offering deals today is PlanetHopper in New
York (www.planethopper.com), which offers such daily
digital deals as Tower Records $5-off coupons. All you do
to redeem the coupon is turn the corner and flash your
wireless device to the salesperson. Most of these specials
are time based, meaning they must be used in the next eight
hours or so.
PlanetHopper has deals with General Cinema, Atlantic
Records, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays baseball team. To get
these types of offers, you don't even have to be on the
wireless Web, which is a premium service with most service
providers. And you don't need a fancy phone, either. It's
simple and cheap for the consumer. PlanetHopper makes money
in three ways: *Set-up fees * Monthly subscriptions *
Commission fees on anything sold
But the corporate clients of PlanetHopper pay for the
service, not you.
Text Messaging $$$$$
Most of these deals require text messaging,
which on many carriers costs an additional $10
or more per month. But, of course, you don't
pay for the incoming phone call offer nor your
response to it.
The Brand Finds You: BrandFinder
As you walk down the mall, your BrandFinder service pops up
on your mobile device. You use it to remind yourself where
the menswear shop is located. It also notes that the
store's new competitor has moved into a building close to
your office. You might check that out next time, but for
now you head to the shop whose manager you like; besides,
you have that coupon to redeem right now.
BrandFinder is a service of Vicinity Corporation, one of
the many firms that provide l-commerce (see Figure 2.?). Go
to www.vicinity.com to find out more.
Bricks to Mobile Clicks:
BrandFinder uses wireless Internet access technology to
enable mobile users to search on a product name or category
and quickly find the brick-and-mortar stores nearest their
current locations that carry the item or provide the
desired service they're looking for Brandfinder isn’t the
only shopping service available for mobile customers others
include go2systems.com, and ipal.com. AT&T’s PocketNet
service can also use mobile comparisons from Barpoint.com
where you can either search for a product or type in a
product’s UPC (universal product code).
MOBILE IMAGING – next generation imaging 2 go…..
As you head into the menswear store, you remember just how
nice it is to see real clothes, not just the virtual
pictures your wife sends you to show you what she'd like
you to buy and wear to work. Speaking of pictures, you ask
the manager about his son's graduation, which you saw
mentioned in this morning's m-newspaper. He's pleased to
show you via the wireless picture frame on the counter not
just the graduation picture with the mortarboard, but the
whole graduation, including the party and the new car he
bought for his son.
3 Way Imaging & More
You start to select a new tie and then realize your wife
doesn't usually like your choices, so you call her in her
home office and ask whether she wants to look at the tie
you're thinking of buying. Because you don't want her to
know you're there, you set up a three-way conversation with
you, your wife, and the store manager. The manager displays
the tie to the store's wireless camera, and no one knows
you didn't go to the office today.
The manager wishes her a happy anniversary, and you know
that you're busted. She thanks you for the lovely roses and
says how excited she is to be going to Spago tonight.
Apparently, the restaurant concierge called to confirm the
reservation and asked her to pick a menu in advance.
Obviously, your son forgot to mention that dinner should be
a surprise when he made the mobile reservation in the car.
Oh well, you can almost taste the broiled swordfish and
creamed spinach deluxe, which is the special of the day. No
coupons for the restaurant, though.
Bricks Change to Clicks
Experts are predicting that around 2005, online purchases
will reach 10 to 15 percent of total sales in most
categories, which will wipe out the profit of most
retailers. By 2010, online shopping may grab as much as 31
percent of retail sales, percent if you exclude the
automobile and education categories. Imagine the impact on
local malls, national retailers and mass marketers.
Mobile Payment Systems
You pay for your purchases with your mobile wearable
scanner and decide to go to the office after all. Your new
desk is arriving, and you want to make sure it's arranged
properly in the corner area in the large open office space.
Of course, cubicles went out long ago, and now one large
space is divided by wireless ‘sound muffling’ systems that
muffle sounds and provide private ‘cocoon’ sections.
You turn on your work-area camera and look at the desk
remotely. Real wood, real people, real cash, but no sense
reminiscing about the last millennium. Good thing you have
a ‘feely’mouse attachment on your tele-puter---it is good
to remember what real wood felt like.
On the way home from the office, you download a mobile
book and listen to How to Keep the Romance Alive. As you
listen to the audio book, your mobile concierge overhears
it and offers to hook you up to a "love doctor" who will
give you personalized tips based on how long you've been
married. The romance psychiatrist is available at 2 p.m. If
you want to have a session with her, it can be billed to
your m-commerce bill, included with your OnStar invoice
sent each month to your home billing system.
Love Doc2 Go…
"No, pass on the romance doc," you say. That's all you need
for your wife to see that you've lost the Don Juan moves
she married you for. And how stupid can they be, billing
you at home when you know that kind of thing should go to
your personal m-locker bill? The m-locker bill arrives in
your personal Web tablet and can be opened only with your
thumbprint, using the latest in mobile biometrics.
On the Road Again
As you drive up to the traffic light, your car hits its
auto-brakes. Your mobile communicator buzzes, and you see
an alert that says, "Look out your window." There, next to
you is your wife, probably coming home from the same
shopping center you visited earlier. You instant message
her a quick "I love you" and hope that she didn't see you
come to that abrupt stop when your mind was wandering about
the love doc.
Your wife's voice and image come on the car-puter, and you
chuckle as she hums a love song, karaoke style, to the tune
of an old MP3 you both used to download on something called
Napster in college. Whatever happened to that peer-2-peer
system? Guess mobile instant messaging (MIM) replaced it.
After the dot.com crash of 2000, you stopped following the
tech market and shifted your stocks to biomed.
Thinking of biomed, you take a moment to check your stock
portfolio; it turns out you're just in time to listen to a
live annual report from Dr. Gulav, head of the Russian cell
regeneration company you invested in last month. You decide
not to just listen because if you had the video on, you’d
have to pull over into the ‘listening lane’
It was so much easier when the video played in the car
instantly, but now, if you don't have someone sitting in
the passenger seat, the video won't play for more than 10
seconds because of that car safety legislation. There are
ways to beat the system, though. Your concierge had a
special on virtual mobile "passengers" just last week. But
the things looked like celluloid flour sacks, and if the
cybercops catch you with one of them, the fine is high. At
one time, you were able to outwit the passenger seat sensor
by taking your old PC out of storage and bringing it home
for decoration in the family den. That thing was so heavy,
it was big enough to simulate a passenger's weight.
UMAIL – Universal mail
That reminds you: Your local congresswoman is fighting to
get that law repealed, so you send her a U-mail encouraging
her with the fight. The U-mail locates her universally,
anywhere she is. Because you're a donor to her campaigns,
she'll probably retrieve it immediately and get back to
you. You use U-mail only to impress someone because most
people communicate via instant messenger systems nowadays,
and if you're not on a person's profile list, you don't get
access. It's worse than the old days of caller ID but with
As you head down your street, you think that maybe the
roses aren't enough of a gift, after all, it is your tenth
anniversary. How about something more personal? Your thumb
automatically hits a button that brings you to a version of
your family home page on the mobile Web.
You and your wife had a personal home page you built in
college together. Is it still up on the old WWW? You
connect to the Web wirelessly and see the page, looking
very outdated now. But it does feature a photo of you and
your wife on your first date.
If you only remembered how to do a screengrab from the old
Internet. Your son is savvy about that type of retro-Web
stuff, so you instantly message him. His face comes up on
the car-puter screen for the requisite 10-second maximum,
and you ask him to download the photo for you and to please
print holographically so it will be preserved forever. He
tells you it's going to cost $50 because the only place he
can get the holographically treated paper from Kodak is in
the science lab, and he has to pay his lab fee for the
You memo his homeroom teacher after your concierge quickly
looks up her name. She'll tell you why the lab fee wasn't
taken directly out of your family bank statement. Your
guess is that your son canceled the science lab and signed
up for the VR driving lessons because it's more fun. At his
age, you might have done that, too.
An autoreply arrives from the teacher; she's swamped today
because it's the first day of school and will get back to
you tomorrow. Can you imagine how many messages a teacher
must get? Your family gets about 500 mobile messages a
week, not including the countless alerts and instant chat
messages your kids do. Your daughter alone must send almost
a hundred messages a day to her pals, rock star fan clubs,
and kids in her teen MIM (mobile instant messaging) group.
An alert arrives on your communicator. You can tell it's
from the office, not a friend, because of the special audio
-tone and the blue blinking light. You check the code and
find out it's from Human Resources; press a button and your
memory file shows it's Jessica James.
She wants to know where your time sheet is for payroll. The
one on the office vortal (virtual private network) is not
up-to-date and payday is tomorrow. You quickly transmit
your update to your office Web tablet and give her a code
to pull it off of there, as if you had it complete the
whole time. The wonders of wireless.
As you drive into the industrial park, you see that the big
boss has flown in from Seattle because his private
helicopter is on the pad. You mobile message his human
assistant Carol and she confirms that he has time to see
you later this afternoon to discuss your new plans for the
robot trainer you've been working on with Honda Motors in
You message the Tokyo office, and your note is forwarded to
a gym in the suburbs where your colleague, Tonsu, is on an
old-fashioned stairclimber or so you assume from his
labored breathing. He speaks from his mobile microphone but
seems to be mumbling, so the universal translator can't
catch his words. After you've said hello for the seventh
time, his voice comes on, instantly translated into English.
Yes, he has the new drawings and can send them to your
workstation or directly to your boss's assistant if you
want. He doesn't have a handheld with him, but he can
access the file via his head-mounted eyeglass display,
which offers a VR filing system he can access by blinking.
You feel so outdated by the rest of the world's
You ask him to send the files as you access your private
parking space by activating the sensor to open the
electronic laser gates. Every time you do that, it reminds
you of that old film where the thief has to steel the
jewels by tiptoeing through the laser security system in
What was the name of that movie? You ask your car concierge
to check on it later for you and forward a clip of it to
your colleague in Tokyo. He'll enjoy it now that videos are
as easy to access as MP3s once were. Of course, it will
cost you a rights fee, but you signed up for a Hollywood
Gold Pass that allows you access to 10 minutes of movie
clips per month to send to your wireless devices. In
addition, the access is free if you and your family agree
to watch at least 10 minutes of new digital film previews.
Nothing is truly free anymore when you're m-charge is only
a few digits away from the salespeople.
Public Spaces and Office Buildings
You walk through the lobby of the work/public space that
was once your office building. It's now converted into a
multipurpose electronic training center, shared with a
couple of local colleges and an MIT Media Lab contingent.
They've set up a virtual reality facility to test equipment
in cold weather environments before they send it to
Antarctica, so you're glad the building is climate-
If it weren't, you could activate the neckwarmer in your
coat jacket to up your internal temperature a few degrees
or so; however, you never liked being hot, and sometimes
those sensors malfunction. You remember the time you got
your ears burned from the electronic earmuffs, and your
pals called you "Dumbo" for weeks.
Another beep and you see it's Starbucks reminding you about
that special coupon you got this morning. You decide to
stop at the shop because it's a great place to update
yourself on your boss's messages before you head into your
building. Starbucks has been totally wired, or should you
say wireless, since 2000.
Starbucks' founder, Harold Schultz, has long talked about
the importance of the "third space" in our lives not home,
not work, but someplace in between that offers us a
physical place to relax.
You order the mocha cappuccino and instant message your co-
worker Joe to see what he wants to drink (it's a two-for-
one coupon). You eye the chocolate brownies longingly, but
the biomed meter on your belt shows that you're four pounds
over your target weight. And there's still that anniversary
Where is that restaurant, anyway? You always pass it by
unless you turn on the GPS. As Joe walks up, you beep your
car concierge to download the map to Spago and arrange for
the valet parking in advance. Last time, you didn't have
parking reservations, so you had to walk 200 yards in the
pouring rain; that won't do for tonight's big event.
It's good to see Joe in person. He's one of the few
managers who comes into the office on the same days you do.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 12
million out of 131 million workers in the United States
have "alternative arrangements" of job-sharing or
telecommuting. Telework is becoming more and more common at
least part of the time for most companies. Watch for
telework centers, also called hoteling, to be set up in
suburbs where desks, office equipment, and screens make new
offices look more like airline club lounges than work
centers. Jay Chiat,the late,founder of video syndicators
Screaming Media, started this trend when he was head of
Chiat/Day advertising in Venice, California and built a
25,000-square foot open interior workspace designed to be a
second home and social club for its staffers.
Hoteling is a term used for working in a joint-space area
where workers can call up an automated concierge at the
office to book a workspace. You arrive at the designated
time for a conference room meeting or for a video seminar.
Hoteliers often offer wall-mounted cabinets, privacy
panels, desks, team desks, and a mobile storage trolley.
Most office hotel spaces offer three features:
Transparency to open the space up
Surface and mobility to overcome territorial issues
Absence of physical connections so workers can bring
their own mobile equipment and not have to learn to
run new systems on-the-
Joe shows you a cool researcher workstation you can place
as an adjunct to your wooden desk. It's from Red Rocket and
was featured in the Museum of Modern Art Workspheres
exhibit in Spring 2001. Inspired by film and camera
equipment, the Red Rocket looks like a tripod for
computers. It ships and stores flat and opens up to a tri-
legged structure that supports a portable monitor. In
addition, it has a peanut-shaped work station. The canopy
and butterfly work screens on the back provide a sense of
individual workspace. It only ways 5 lbs so it’s great for
setting up an office anywhere.. or office2go
Mobile Virtual Catalog:
You look at Joe's m-catalog so you can outfit the rest of
your corner workspace to match the snazzy desk being
delivered. As you glance at the screen on his telepad, you
think that most of the gadgets look like something from
that ancient television series The Jetsons.
JETSONS: Rosie the Robot
The Jetsons was an animated TV series produced by Joe
Barbera and his team at Hanna-Barbera. In 24 episodes
during 1962 and 1963, viewers saw early visions of what the
future might hold. You can still catch episodes on the
Cartoon Network. George Jetson worked at the factory
Spacely Sprockets, pushing buttons all day and arguing with
his domineering boss. His family lived in a skypad, and his
commute was via personal aircraft. Rosie the Robot did the
cleaning, and everything in the show was automated.
In the era of plug-and-play, everyone yearns for an
intelligent workspace. WirelessPlug workspaces offer these
Individual comfort and climate control systems
STEVE MANN – MIT2Go
The ultimate nomadic worker of the early millennium might
be Steve Mann. He is said to be the first person that put
his life on the Internet, which he did during his student
days at MIT. His portable apparatus includes a helmet with
camera, a private-eye lens that displays all information
directly to his right eye, a few cables, wire, backpacks,
and a glove with keys. This "keyer" worked as an input
device. His office was basically his right eye, so in the
morning he put on his office and off he went.
Joe puts in an order for the butterfly unit via the
office's mobile ordering system and keys in the code for
the budget it goes under. The firm's virtual purchasing
concierge comes online and confirms that the order will be
delivered next Tuesday.
The Unwired Starbucks
As you sit at Starbucks, you marvel at the new style
"second skins" most of the junior staffers are wearing. One
gal even has a scarf equipped with a built-in communication
interface, including what looks like a hands-free phone,
screen, keyboard, and what might be a camera. The scarf is
great because it muffles her conversation and protects the
tele-puter from the elements. Wonder what that thing cost?
While you're staring at the gal with the techno-scarf, Joe
prints out a custom-designed anniversary card for you and
your wife. He takes out his e-quill (wirelessly-connected
pen) and signs it with his own signature (Not many people
would take the time to print out a paper card and sign it
with a real pen. In fact, most people don't even carry
writing instruments anymore since the mobile signature laws
went into effect last year.
Your communicator buzzes, and you see that your meeting
with the boss is in three minutes. You hustle across the
campus and wonder what new wireless techno-gear he brought
with him from his trip to Scandinavia.
Back at Home
Your wife is napping in her soft office bed that doubles as
a couch during the day. She can adjust its corners to
upright and reclining positions, in addition to horizontal
orientation. Two of the sides are equipped with computer
screens; plus, a wireless keyboard and mouse are embedded
in smart pillows that use touch-sensor technology.
She's also fond of the Power Patch, a cushion that
encourages you to lounge comfortably while working on the
floor. You can move it easily to the living room, den, or
kitchen, and its gel filling molds to fit the contours of
the body. Or, you can turn off the computer and let it
double as a plain, old-fashioned pillow under your head or
to prop up your legs.
The insta-buzz on the kids' mobiles wakes your wife from
dreamland. By the time she heads to the kitchen, your
daughter has chosen the Alice in Wonderland menu of tea
sandwiches, and your son has chosen the Gladiator menu of
broiled chicken to be delivered by a take-out service.
The Power Patch lights up, and your wife presses the Buy
button to approve the purchases because the children's
household spending limit is only $20.
She heads to the vanity area in the bedroom, where a
virtual beauty advisor offers to demonstrate new makeup
tricks. She agrees but turns off the mobile shopping
advisor because she already has a stock of allergy free
makeup on her table. A video image of her face comes
onscreen with an animated wand that shows how to apply
luminescent lipstick and eyeliner. It's reminiscent of the
paper clip flash demo that used to annoy Microsoft Word
AUTO BIOMED READING
Her biomed device shows that her cholesterol level is just
perfect today. Guess the last tele-medical visit with that
dietician is working. She schedules another visit for next
month by pressing a button, and the family medical
concierge confirms it verbally within 30 seconds.
Wireless Restrooms on the Horizon
The Japanese have invented a health-monitoring toilet that
examines human wastes for medical purposes. The toilet also
weighs you, takes your body temperature and blood pressure,
and sends the information wirelessly over a secure home
network to your doctor or dietician's office. We might all
soon carry biomed devices that link to the toilet or to our
refrigerators and that tell the smart fridge to lock up the
ice cream until we've lost a few pounds.
OLD-FASHIONED DOOR BELL
The chauffeur rings the doorbell nostalgic touch you asked
him to use instead of his biometric ID system. You imagine
your wife checking it out on the kitchen tele-screen. You
can hear both dogs barking and figure Aibo's camera was
switched to alert mode.
In less than a minute, you're sitting in the back of a
stretch limousine. You're enjoying the nonalcoholic bubbly
your kids ordered as their present to both of you and are
watching videos of your first date on an in-car system that
includes audio comments by your kids. Your daughter must
have edited this tape on her computer and sent it
wirelessly to the limo service to surprise both of you.
The restaurant concierge confirms that you're expected at 8
p.m. and that salads and appetizers are already at your
table. At least that's what you think he said; his phony
French accent doesn't translate via the car mobile
communicator system very well.
After a luxurious dinner, you reach for your communicator
to pay the bill, but it turns out that your sister-in-law
has already paid as her gift to you and your wife. On the
drive home, a college pal locates you on the mobile.
Because his face is in your mobile album, he's allowed to
leave a video message, but he can't get through live until
you okay his live transmissions. He attempts to sing "happy
anniversary" to the tune of "Happy Birthday” he should have
composed a musical theme using needlepoint copyright-free
You vow tomorrow to check the family monitor to see how
your son's doing in that virtual driving class. The school
sends over the weekly videos recapping the kids'
accomplishments, and you can always tune in to the school-
cam to see what's up yourself.
Good Wireless Night to You
Upstairs in the privacy of your own bedroom, you give your
wife the holograph of the first date photo, which brings
tears to her eyes. She gives you a key chain with a musical
symbol on it containing a duplicate of your whole college
MP3 collection, downloaded from the Web page still
archived. The whole collection of more than 1000 CDs fits
on a small flashcard for your mobile communicator or office
You've come a long way in 10 years, you agree, as you
wirelessly shut off the lights, lock the doors, and open a
bookmarked song from the wireless bedroom music network. As
you do, your family tele-puter deducts 50 cents for each
time you hit the repeat play button on the bedpost control
panel. You know you should have bought a subscription to
that “all u-can-hear” music service.
Living Tomorrow Today
The assortment of wireless devices that will be available
in the next decade would fill a convention center and it
usually does during the Consumer Electronics Show each