2007 Trend: Wi-Life

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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.

RFID Your Life

<via Springwise.com>

The Loc8tor is a combination of radio-frequency emitting tags and a cellphone-sized signal decoder. Both tags and handheld transmit and receive radio signals. Each handheld device can monitor up to 24 tags, which can be attached to keys, kids, pets and anything else of value that has a tendency to get lost. When registering new tags, users can specify what they will be attached to: ‘Wallet’, ‘Favourite child’, ‘Prize-winning Poodle’, etc.

The system has a maximum range of 183 meters/600 feet, and the handheld will guide its holder to within 2.5 cm/1 inch of the lost possession, using fully directional signals: left, right, up and down. (Particularly useful when kitty-cat is hiding in the attic.)

Not just for finding things, Loc8tor’s alert mode also makes it easy to prevent them from becoming lost. Attach a tag to a child, and then set a safety zone. If the child strays beyond a specified distance, the Loc8tor sounds an alarm. The panic tag also acts as an alarm button that a tagged child can press to activate an alert on the Loc8tor. Obviously, as stated by Loc8tor, this isn’t a replacement for parental supervision. 😉

Is This Your Next Mobile Phone???

SamsungSamsung Electronics presented their new three-way foldable combination of phone, personal computer and music player tailored for an emerging wireless broadband technology the company is pushing as a global standard.

The new device was unveiled at a Samsung-sponsored industry conference on Mobile Wi-Max – a new technology delivering faster remote broadband connections.

Its called MITs, which stands for Mobile Intelligent Terminal by Samsung.   It weights about a pound and contains a fold out keyboard, 5-inch screen, 30GB hard drive, and Windows software. 

It is scheduled to be released in South Korea in early 2007 with Intel, Sprint Nextel and Motorola all looking to commercialize it in the States soon thereafter.

Samsung Electronics unveils new communication device tailored for WiMax

Cingular Integrates XM into it’s Music Service

cingular_xm.jpgCingular announced it’s Music Service yesterday. Gizmodo covered it and conducted a poll to get reader’s perspective on the value of Sprint & Verizon’s music services. I personally don’t understand why people would pay the overly inflated prices that the carriers charge and apparently, Gizmodo’s readers are in my camp. The results (here) say that only 1.2% of responders use the service frequently or all the time. So what makes Cingular thing their service will be more attractive? How about XM Satellite Radio.

Cingular will also be teaming up with XM satellite radio to offer streaming satellite radio content on mobile phones beginning November 6.  Now that’s cool!  I have a Pioneer Inno portable and I love it, but I hate having to carry multiple devices around. Bear in mind that the Cingular service will be a condensed version of XM (no Fred), for $8.99 per month.  Not sure if you can get a lower rate is part of an XM family plan.  The PAD data will be available on the phone, so users will be able to see what songs they are listening to.

<image via Gizmodo>

Because avatars need phones, too

<via Springwise>

In what seems like a weekly occurence, another brand has popped up in Second Life. This time it’s Telus, Canada’s second largest telco, who opened a virtual store last week.  Telus is both the first major Canadian corporation, and the first major telecommunications company to enter SL. Unlike Aloft Hotel and American Apparel‘s store, which are both located on privately owned islands, Telus set up shop in a downtown area on SL’s mainland (visit location).

According to 3pointD, the telco’s foray into Second Life was initiated by a Telus advertising manager. Sparkle Dale, as she’s known in Second Life, has a personal passion for gaming and metaverses and saw an opportunity to extend her employer’s brand into a new realm.

The store was designed along the lines of flagship stores in Toronto and Montreal and features phones that are modelled and named after actual Samsung and Motorola models. While integration with Skype, other voice over IP systems and real life mobile phones would of course be an exciting way to merge virtual and real worlds, Telus’s SL phones currently only let users shoot off busy messages to other citizens. The phones are on sale for a few hundred Linden Dollars, which is the equivalent of a few US dollars.

Website: http://www.telus.ca and http://secondlife.com

Sony, Matsushita and others plan to create standard for Internet TVs

Just saw this story on Engadget, that says Sony, Matsushita, Sharp, Toshiba, and Hitachi have joined forces to create a standard for Internet-connected televisions. The alliance has come together under the TV Portal Service Corp banner which is apparently as stealth organization. Sony and Matsushita look to be the major players in the new consortium, with a 35% share each. Engadget says that the Internet TVs will be Linux-based and will be operated just with a remote control instead of a keyboard. Despite the lack of details, it appears that things are progressing pretty quickly, with the first Internet TVs expected to go on sale as early as next year, and with sales projected to reach 10 to 20 million units by the year 2011. All of this is in Japan only, of course — hope you didn’t get your hopes up too much…. 

Telecom Wars: Sprint Nextel Launches first WiMax salvo

Sprint Nextel Corp will use WiMax technology to build a broadband wireless network in the United States. Sprint will work with Motorola and Samsung according to the announcement (webcast and news release), as well as with chipmaker Intel. The network will be built from 2007 to 2009.

At Monday’s press conference, Sprint said it will invest $1 billion in 2007 and $1.5-$2 billion, in 2008 (not including investments by its partners). The Sprint Nextel 4G mobility network will use the company’s extensive 2.5GHz spectrum holdings, which cover 85 percent of the households in the top 100 U.S. markets.

Implementation of this network will introduce some significant competition markets that are currently dominated by Cable (ISP, Video). Look’s like cable’s free ride may be over.

Many more details on this story at dailywireless.org