Wireless Blogging
The integration of wireless with Weblogs By reiter@wirelessinternet.com


Wireless Blogging Site


  Sunday, June 09, 2002

Got an interesting use of WiFi at a conference?
Want to share it at 802.11 Planet?

As I wrote on Friday, I am going to be participating at the 802.11 Planet Conference and Expo in Philadelphia, Monday - Wednesday.  On  Monday, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.,  I'm going to be discussing how 802.11 is changing the dynamics of conferences and meetings (speaker and audience dynamics) and journalism.  The use of Weblogs certainly will be discussed. 

If you are attending the conference and have an interesting story to share or want to add your comments about using 802.11 at conferences or corporate meetings, please drop by.

11:00:30 AM    

  Friday, June 07, 2002

WiFi, Weblogs, Conferences and Journalism

I'm heading out on Sunday to attend the 802.11 Planet Conference and Expo in Philadelphia where I'll be doing two presentations.  One presentation will be on June 10, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., discussing how the combination of 802.11 and Weblogs are changing the dynamics of conferences and journalism. 

I was a journalist -- focusing on wireless -- for a long time until I became a full-time wireless data consultant in 1996.  There is simply no doubt that 802.11 is changing the dynamics of conferences and journalism.  At computer and wireless conferences, conference organizers are already getting grief from attendees if they don't have WiFi access.  Indeed, at the first 802.11 Planet conference in Santa Clara last year, some attendees were complaining because WiFi was available only in the exhibit hall, not in the meeting room. 

Many hotels and conference centers are looking at installing 802.11 in these facilities, but the business models can be difficult.  I'm involved in evaluating this and it's more difficult to craft the right business models than you might suspect.  I can't/won't reveal confidential information, but it's easy to discuss installing WiFi everywhere when you're not the one having to pay for it and generate revenues!  There are many business issues to consider and there aren't quick or assured solutions for some of them.

For a preview of what I'll be discussing, check out today's article about "WiFi Changes Meeting Dynamics," at 80211-planet.

WiFi and cellular

At last year's 802.11 Planet conference I did a two-hour presentation about the new realities of wireless in light of the September 11 attacks and also discussed in detail the entry -- potential entry -- of the cellular industry into the WiFi business.  I got good reviews, I believe, for the presentation, but some people wondered whether it was appropriate for me to discuss the mindset and strategies of cellular operators at an 802.11 conference.

Well, times have changed and no one anymore is wondering about the appropriateness!  Sprint PCS has invested in Boingo WirelessVoiceStream has purchased MobileStarBT [formerly British Telecom] is putting in hotspots around the U.K.  In Korea, two carriers are installing a total of 25,000 hotspots.  In Scandinavia there are hundreds of hotspots.  In Japan, NTT Communications, NTT DoCoMo and Softbank, among others, are installing hotspots.  There are many more examples.

My second presentation for 802.11 Planet on June 12, 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., is entitled "Carriers Get Into 802.11:  Will They Catalyze Your Business Or Crush It?"  The roundtable discussion will feature experts in the cellular industry who will discuss the impact of cellular operators on the WiFi business.  Representations from T-Mobile Wireless Broadband (MobileStar under VoiceStream), Telia HomeRun and GoAmerica will be participating.

If you're going to be at the 802.11 Planet event, please stop by to say hello.

11:05:18 AM    

  Thursday, May 16, 2002

Conference Weblog coverage and articles:  This is how to leverage communications!

O'Reilly gets it.  Well, of course they do.  This a terrific example of how a conference organizer can leverage articles about the speakers and coverage by Webloggers via WiFi as the conference is going on.  On one page O'Reilly has a couple of sentences and links to such Weblogs as boingboing, raelity bytes, megnut.com and many others.  It also has links to articles about the speakers and photos of the conference.

Conference organizers need to see and know about this.  It's not rocket science, but not many conferences are doing this.  I'm going to make sure the attendees at my WiFi conference for conference organizers know about this.  I'm also going to use it as an example in my other conference presentations and as part of my wireless consulting (and I speak around the world about this stuff).

Unfortunately, most conference organizers are clueless about the value of this sort of information.

6:43:28 PM    

  Thursday, May 09, 2002

Teaching conference organizers about WiFi...and Weblogs

There's no doubt that the most valuable -- and profitable -- locations for 802.11 access include hotels and conference centers.  And why are people at conference centers and why are they often at hotels?  Duh:  To attend meetings and conferences.  Who organizes these events?  Duh:  Event organizers.

That's why I'm working on developing a conference specifically for conference organizers to examine the basics of WiFi, the value of WiFi, how WiFi is going to change (and already is changing) the dynamics of meetings for speakers, attendees and journalists, and how to use the power of WiFi to improve conferences. 

The conference will be held in the Washington, D.C. area, which is the headquarters for more trade associations than any place in the world.  It's also the headquarters for associations that are established for association executives.

Duh:  Weblogs

What's one great way to use WiFi to improve the value of conferences?  Duh:  Weblogs.  Indeed, I have an index on my main Web site that links to all the entries I've posted using WiFi at conferences.  

So, part of the conference will include discussing -- and demonstrating during my presentation -- how Weblogs can be used to report conferences, how speakers can take advantage of Weblogs and how conference organizers can leverage the power of Weblogs.  The conference just isn't about Weblogs, but attendees certainly will understand their value.

The conference is still a work-in-progress.  I'm developing it conjunction with WirelessWednesdays, which puts on great wireless events in the Washington, D.C. and Boston areas.  WirelessWednesdays is handling many of the logistics.

The conference is scheduled for June 19 at the Hilton McLean (Tysons Corner), Va., not far from Washington, D.C.  So far, it's half a day, but it might be expanded to a full day, depending upon interest.

Free WiFi, low registration fee

Of course there will be free WiFi access for attendees.  It also will be modestly priced ($199 if you register beforehand) because, frankly, I'm sick of conferences that charge high prices for low value.  I hope to reverse that.

There'll be much more information on the WirelessWednesdays site in the weeks to come.


Apple, Jaguar, Rendezvous and WiFi:
Glenn's analysis

I knew Apple's "Rendezvous" capabilities (see previous entry) would intrigue Glenn Fleishman.  I asked Glenn, in the previous entry, what he thought about it since he's the maven about Apple and WiFi.  "My opinion," Glenn writes, "[is] a whole new world of discovery awaits us."

Rendezvous searches for (i.e., "discovers") TCP/IP devices using wireless and wired networks, such as Ethernet, WiFi or Bluetooth, to facilitate easy connections.

"Apple's proposal, thus, is trying to bring to networked devices an entirely new layer of support that's more akin to directly connected peripherals, like hard drives and USB or parallel printers," Glenn writes.  "It wants you, as a user, to not have to make decisions about how to connect to things as they become available.  Rather, the system recognizes and makes those resources available, and you choose how or if you want to interact with them."

There are lots of debates and blathering about whether Weblogs are "journalism" and whether Weblogs provide information that's valuable.  Well, all you have to do is read Glenn's complete report about Rendezvous and its value to wireless and wired networking.  The analysis is as good as anything you'd see from, for example, an expert technology journalist who writes a column in a newspaper.  Uh, wait a minute:  Glenn is an expert technology journalist who writes a column in a newspaper.

9:28:00 PM    

  Monday, May 06, 2002

Conferences, information, wireless and what attendees want

While I was attending Technologic Partners' excellent Wireless Ventures conference in Burlingame, Calif. last week, I spoke several times about wireless and Weblogs to Richard Shaffer, the founder of the company.  Dick is a smart guy and he's been analyzing computers and wireless for a long time.

The conference, which I wrote up here on April 30, May 1 and May 2, included free WiFi access and loaner PC Cards.  Dick also provided power strips in three rows for laptop computer users.  As more conferences offer 802.11 access, I suspect that more attendees will be requesting power strips for their laptops and PDAs.  Power strips -- another way WiFi will affect conferences!

When it comes to technology, Dick "gets it."  He certainly understands the value of WiFi and he's now pondering how to effectively integrate WiFi into his conferences.  Weblogs could be a part of that.

When we talked during the conference, Dick said something like, referring to Weblogs, "people don't want transcriptions, they want analysis."  I've been pondering that, and today I sent Dick an e-mail about what I think people at conferences want.

Information from conferences

1.  Traditional reporting.  The operative word is "reporting" -- no analysis, just the facts with as little bias as humanly possible.  You typically read traditional reporting the day after (at best) a conference.  With the Web, you can read a journalist's reports the day of a conference, and it's often published in the print edition the next day or next week. 

Detailed, solid reporting isn't going to go away.  Weblogs enhance and supplement reporting; they don't replace it.

2.  Analysis.  What does this all mean?  Analysis from columnists who are experts (one hopes) in the subject area or from non-journalists who also are experts.  I specifically switched from being a "reporter" to an "analyst" (and then "consultant") many years ago.

3.  Transcriptions?  Maybe.  What if you could get a transcription -- done by a professional -- after each conference panel?  It might not be edited, but it would be fresh.  No analysis, no reporting -- just the exact (more or less) quotes.  Perhaps it could be "cleaned up" (check for typos, grammar, etc.) and available the next morning.

What if the transcription was posted as a Weblog?  Would it be useful?  After all, lots of people purchase tapes of conferences; I wonder how many people listen to all or even some of the tapes they purchase.  Would attendees be more inclined to at least skim a transcript?  I think so -- especially if they have WiFi access and could read the transcript while listening to other (boring!) speakers.  It's certainly easier to skim through a written report than to skip through a tape recording.

Would you pay for a transcription that was viewable on the Web?  What would be a reasonable price?

There are business and security issues, of course.  Conference organizers wouldn't want non-attendees to see the transcript, unless they paid for it.  This involves password protection.  But even with passwords, there's a good chance bootleg copies would be available.  Would this be a deal-killer for conference organizers?

Weblogs, WiFi and changing dynamics

Weblogs are a great tool for transcriptions of conferences.  Posting is fast, date and time is automatic and headlines and subheads are no-brainers to enter.  With Weblogs, it would be possible for attendees to read the transcript in almost real-time as the speaker was presenting; as soon as the transcriber clicked on "publish" you'd be able to read the quotes.

How many times have you missed an important point by a speaker?  Wouldn't it be nice to have a back up?

As any Weblogger who has used WiFi to post reports knows, interesting dynamics can occur when you post a report (good, bad or incorrect!) when the speaker reads your Weblog.  During Wireless Ventures, the chairman and CEO of SkyPilot read my posting about his presentation and sent me a clarification.  I got the e-mail -- a copy forwarded to my pager (I really like wireless!) -- and posted a correction within minutes of receiving it.  With WiFi access and Weblog software, I can do that.

Perhaps Dave Winer can help

I like the idea of transcriptions.  I'd pay for this service and I think a fair number of corporate attendees would, too.  Perhaps Dave Winer of Userland Software and Weblogger extraordinaire might be able to offer Dick some interesting suggestions about the mechanics and logistics of conference-based blogging. 

I, too, am interested in this.  Not only would I want such a service but I also am involved in conferences.  I help conduct a day-long tutorial, Wireless Data University, before the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association's Wireless and Wireless I.T. and Internet conferences.  I'm also starting to develop a presentation and a mini-conference about how WiFi will dramatically change the dynamics of conferences.

1:46:26 PM    

  Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Live from Wireless Strategy 2002

I'm attending the Wireless Strategy 2002 conference in the Washington, D.C. area and there's WiFi coverage.  Tim Krauskopf, vice president of product management at Motorola, is the keynote speaker.  He said it's often difficult to justify the return on investment for wireless data, but it's easier to justify a "return on mobility."  For example, how important is it to obtain the latest changes to your calendar to ensure you don't miss an appointment?

"M-commerce -- it's going to continue to be a challenge," he says.  Motorola thought they had solved the problems, and then they tried to actually purchase a book on Amazon.com.  Too many clicks!

Motorola is now working with Food.com with pizza stores.  The bottleneck is the person taking the order over the phone.

The technological limitations of wireless data are less challenging than getting people to actually try it.  Well, I'd say there are still some significant challenges, but the wireless industry also has been inept in providing sufficient -- and honest -- customer education.


Jeff Lee, a director of Proteus, a Washington, D.C. Web developer with wireless experience, is talking about "the multi-modal experience."  That means using voice and data to obtain information.  The problem is the early implementations of 2.5G networks offer only single mode -- data or voice.  If you are using GPRS for a data transmission, you can't switch to voice and maintain the data connection.  Pick one, not both.

Proteus is working on creating applications where you would umake a voice call to request information, and the information is transmitted to your phone via SMS.  That might make sense.  It's more convenient to read directions, for example, on a cellular phone rather than trying to remember voice directions or writing them down while driving.


Listening to a presentation about wireless security and just surfing the Net via WiFi.  I found a very good article from Scientific American about ultrawideband.

Free WiFi in suburban Maryland

During my panel on WiFi, Bluetooth , and cellular, Greg Messitt, the CEO of Spectrum Access, said the company would soon announce free WiFi access points in suburban Maryland, such as Chevy Chase (where I live and work) and Bethesda.  Spectrum Access put in the WiFi network at the Center for Innovation in Herndon, Va., where I'm now typing this.

The announcement about free hot spots is supposed to be next month.  I have been lusting for free WiFi around my neighborhood, a few miles north of Washington, D.C., and envious of the more WiFi-friendly environs of Portland, Ore., Seattle, San Francisco and even, gasp, New York.  Spectrum Access could make me happier!  Eventually, Spectrum Access will charge for this, but at the outset, WiFi access will be free.

I'll make sure to provide details when they're available.

Demonstrating wireless blogging

During my presentation I switched between my PowerPoint slides and the Web.  I opened the presentation by showing the headline and text of this entry to demonstrate the value of wireless + Weblogs.  I also discussed and showed via WiFi how journalists, such as Dan Gillmor and Doc Searls have been pioneering the use of wireless Weblogs and journalism.

9:29:48 PM    

  Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Wireless Strategy 2002 Conference

Tomorrow I'll be speaking about 802.11, Bluetooth and the cellular operators entering both arenas during the
Wireless Strategy 2002 conference in Herndon, Va. (near Washington's Dulles Airport).  I think the fee at the door is $150 for the day-long conference.  (I don't get any of it!)

The conference will be at the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology and there will be WiFi access.  Alas, my IBM ThinkPad is in bad shape (time to get it fixed and buy another ThinkPad this month) so I'm borrowing a Compaq for my presentation.  If I can easily configure my WiFi PC Card (it should be a cinch, but I've had too many little "gotchas" with anything wireless) I'll post some comments on my other wireless data Weblog about the conference.

5:48:31 PM    

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