2007 Trend: Wi-Life
I haven’t written much about Wi-Life (“wireless living”) in a while, but seeing how the gang over at PSFK have identified it as a 2007 Trend, I thought I would share my thoughts (and theirs).
Bluetooth & WiFi technologies have been serving the professional world for a few years, allowing us to stay chained to our desks, even when we are not at the office. OK, more optimistly, they are freeing having to be in fixed locations to accomplish tasks. This has made us more mobile and has definately changed our behavior.
Many homes now have wireless routers and high-speed internet (although its still way overpriced in the US compared to other parts of the world). I started this post in the kitchen, but am finishing it at 12:13 am lying in bed. Back in the summer, I often wrote posts outside on the patio. The home office is no longer a dedicated room. You can take that spare bedroom back now and turn it into something else. Ours is a scrapbooking room.
PSFK points out that Wi-Life is much more than being able to connect to the web wherever you want and the implications for how we will spend our leisure time in the near-future are really big:
Wireless internet and Bluetooth drives web-telephony as people can make calls from where they want when they want – and the laptop on the sofa offers an alternative to the TV or music center. WiLife means streaming your entertainment however you want. With wireless distribution systems like the Apple iTV, people will be able to use their computers as a kind of entertainment mission control from where they can send video, audio and more through the air to their TVs, Huffs and even your picture frames. (what’s a huff??)
Look at your laptop in your home as your new cable box and your additional hard-drive as your Tivo. Download your entertainment media from the web, save to your drive and play to any Wife enabled electronic. In fact, the distribution of media from the home computer to dumb terminals like the TV is a critical factor in the rise of the HearMeSeeMe web.
Of course, WiLife is not just for the home. Ford and Avis have announced a system that will let drivers download directions as they drive and give passengers to download shows and swap files tirelessly in-car. One day the cars will tell you where in the city your WiFi enabled friends are too.
And WiLife continues when you leave your car. Once we’ve recharged our gadgets with electro-magnetic wireless chargers, we’ll walk around with our phones and pods and these will us wireless technology to download entertainment and information from a media hub in the sky (Ryan talks about how he’ll use the phone in his video here). We’ll take both our record and DD collection around with us once it’s digitized and uploaded to our virtual slate on the web. And where will we play our tunes? At the beaches, parks and streets that cities are busy covering with wireless networks.
The impact of this always-on life is going to be pretty huge. Many of us have already seen our professional life become all-but always-on, now our leisure and social life will undergo a similar revolution.