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Wireless Wonders and Waterfall Watches!

by Mike Banks Valentine

Let's see, I have my pager, my cell phone, my Blackberry, my Palm Pilot, my laptop, my desktop PC, my e-book reader, my digital camera and what else? Oh! Then there's the MP3 and the DVD and my local phone company has now gone digital?

Now the laptop can talk with the desktop, but the PDA can not talk to the laptop. The e-book reader can talk with the desktop and the MP3 player can talk with the laptop but not the desktop. The phone company was just purchased by the cable company with the phone company name and my Blackberry requires service that can't talk to any of the other services, or can it?

Welcome to the wonderful world of wireless communications! What's the hottest prospect for growing businesses in this gloomy economy? Cross-platform communications enablers. I can't believe I even uttered those ridiculously tech-y words! But the near future will be all about getting all of our computing, our communications and entertainment devices to talk with each other seamlessly and wirelessly.

One might think this is a massive task with hopeless barriers to overcome if it weren't for the simple fact that it is being done by hundreds of companies. Many of them start-ups and up-starts with an eye on digital convergence until we get to the magic of that one-single-do-everything-device.

One of my friends once wondered if my digital watch with the calculator, barometer, altimeter and chronograph had a water- fall. Clearly, he was poking fun at my love of tech gadgets. But I've adopted the term "Waterfall Watch" to apply to that wild dream of the single do-everything-device.

There has been plenty of discussion about those wonderful Hewlett-Packard television commercials offering us futuristic visions of unheard-of conveniences such as cars that tell us they are in need of a visit to the mechanic before they break down - then call ahead to the nearest garage and arrange a cab to deliver us to an important scheduled meeting at the office without missing a beat. If you haven't seen it, visit:

http://www.cooltown.com/vision-safety.htm (Discontinued by HP)

Click on the "View the vision" button and see what is already possible with existing technology - now, today.

Although I find it fascinating, I hadn't stopped to ponder how complex this idea is. The car must talk to you, check your schedule, contact the nearest garage, verify parts availability, confirm arrival time, call a cab, communicate your destination, arrange pick-up of the repaired vehicle and literally dozens of additional steps to complete this seemingly simple diversion without your participation.

Voice recognition, wireless communication among dozens of "devices" and scheduling-perfection itself must be present. Clearly, the complexities are all cast aside in this vision to illustrate how easy our life might be made soon. Maybe.

The vision is compelling and Hewlett-Packard is quite serious in promoting the possibilities. They've launched what they're calling "The Mobile e-Services Bazaar" at http://hpbazaar.com

In their own words:

To help fuel the creation of innovative mobile e-services, HP has established the mobile e-services bazaar. Combining an online community with a number of regional centers of innovation, the mobile e-services bazaar is an eco-system of participants: application and service providers, mobile operators, and enterprises who collaborate to fuel the rapid development of innovative new e-services.

Located around the world, the e-services bazaar is designed specifically to support the growth of your e-service business. (Discontinued by HP)

This concept is actually an incubator for small business offering serious clout for participants and networking opportunities nearly undreamt-of by smaller companies. HP is on a quest for my "Waterfall Watch" and although I don't often gush about monstrous corporations, I'll make this one exception -- and wish them the best of luck and thank them for supporting the little guy.

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Copyright 2000 Mike Valentine
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ISSN: 1527-5094
Mike Valentine
WebSite 101
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