Techno Vision  
Technological fantasies (of sorts)..
 
             

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Techno Vision


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Wednesday, February 09, 2005
 

@ If you're still reading this....

...you shouldn't be. Your browser should have been redirected to my new blog

http://wirelesswonders.blogspot.com/

11:55:34 AM      

Wednesday, July 07, 2004
 

:: Nokia Visual Radio ::

Recently on the Mobile Applications Club at Ecademy there was a group discussion about device types. Barbara Ballard states:

.. I foresee (and intend to make happen) a plethora of devices that step outside the current phone/PDA/pager/game device taxonomy. I envision a future in which everybody has a general purpose "communications and control" device (exact feature set and design varies per segment), a general purpose computing/work device (again, exact feature set varies), and an "entertainment" device.

The taxonomies suggested could be argued, but I think the idea is valid. The current mobile industry is voice-centric and devices have evolved accordingly. Text messaging has not impacted device evolution at all - it is an additional feature of what remains a telephone. Notwithstanding a variety of service issues (including price) the fact that MMS is struggling suggests that it is possibly the wrong service for a communications device. Perhaps the better use for MMS is within an entertainment framework, which brings me to the entertainment device category.

Nokia are promoting their visual radio platform, which allows visual and interactive content to be received by special devices that receive FM radio. Nokia call these devices "media devices". This seems a clear attempt to create a new device family and certainly seems to confirm Barbara's thinking that the future of user interface design will be affected by the emergence of classes of devices leading to design strategies per class, rather than per device.

Of course, there is the issue of adoption. Without enough radio stations signing up to provide content into the parallel visual channels, the adoption rate might be problematic. However, this assumes that the only possibility is augmented FM radio. There is nothing to stop niche channels being created that are entirely digital. For example, I would propose that the in-store "Blockbuster TV" in Blockbuster video stores might make an ideal channel. A whole range of products could be offered: postal DVD rentals, retail DVD sales, film-related ringtones, wallpaper etc.

There is also no reason why visual-shopping services can't be so niche as to allow retailers to provide services for device users actually visiting a shop. I can't interact with the Blockbuster TV in the store, but with a suitable device, I could. The same goes for any other shop, whether they currently run in-store channels or not. Technologies like Cell Broadcast could be used to allow users to quickly "tune in" to nearby stores. Regardless of such enhancements, what's important is a device type design for this type of service and that any content provider can confidently design for.

It is currently my view that the emergence of entertainment devices will be the most likely business evolution for operators. Last on their list will be support for a general-purpose mobile computing industry.


5:21:03 PM      

:: Nokia Visual Radio ::

Recently on the Mobile Applications Club at Ecademy there was a group discussion about device types. Barbara Ballard states:

.. I foresee (and intend to make happen) a plethora of devices that step outside the current phone/PDA/pager/game device taxonomy. I envision a future in which everybody has a general purpose "communications and control" device (exact feature set and design varies per segment), a general purpose computing/work device (again, exact feature set varies), and an "entertainment" device.

The taxonomies suggested could be argued, but I think the idea is valid. The current mobile industry is voice-centric and devices have evolved accordingly. Text messaging has not impacted device evolution at all - it is an additional feature of what remains a telephone. Notwithstanding a variety of service issues (including price) the fact that MMS is struggling suggests that it is possibly the wrong service for a communications device. Perhaps the better use for MMS is within an entertainment framework, which brings me to the entertainment device category.

Nokia are promoting their visual radio platform, which allows visual and interactive content to be received by special devices that receive FM radio. Nokia call these devices "media devices". This seems a clear attempt to create a new device family and certainly seems to confirm Barbara's thinking that the future of user interface design will be affected by the emergence of classes of devices leading to design strategies per class, rather than per device.

Of course, there is the issue of adoption. Without enough radio stations signing up to provide content into the parallel visual channels, the adoption rate might be problematic. However, this assumes that the only possibility is augmented FM radio. There is nothing to stop niche channels being created that are entirely digital. For example, I would propose that the in-store "Blockbuster TV" in Blockbuster video stores might make an ideal channel. A whole range of products could be offered: postal DVD rentals, retail DVD sales, film-related ringtones, wallpaper etc.

There is also no reason why visual-shopping services can't be so niche as to allow retailers to provide services for device users actually visiting a shop. I can't interact with the Blockbuster TV in the store, but with a suitable device, I could. The same goes for any other shop, whether they currently run in-store channels or not. Technologies like Cell Broadcast could be used to allow users to quickly "tune in" to nearby stores. Regardless of such enhancements, what's important is a device type design for this type of service and that any content provider can confidently design for.

It is currently my view that the emergence of entertainment devices will be the most likely business evolution for operators. Last on their list will be support for a general-purpose mobile computing industry.


5:20:50 PM      

Monday, June 16, 2003
 

:: Making a Splash - Posting annotated messages in space ::

Still writing my new book ("Next Generation Wireless Services") and started discussing Semantic Web. The main interest here was in annotating pictures taken from my picture phone. The annotations can be made using a stylus and stored in Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). This seems a useful idea as it makes sending pictures more fun and it adds a creative component to leaving pictures (or videos) hanging in space (which I now call "Splash Messaging" in the book). Don't know if SVG support is available yet in 3GPP coding standards for picture messaging (MMS), but it should be.

The Semantic Web connection was initially to add information about who is in the picture, so that connections could be made with other people (even in other photos - see co-depiction project). The other semantic would be in the positional coding i.e. data to say where the picture was taken (coded in Point Of Interest eXchange Language - POIX).

Anyway, in case you want to visualise what I'm talking about, here's a demo (thanks to a great tool called Draw SWF). The output here is in Flash, but you can try viewing the actual SVG file (which may flag some warnings due to non-standard tags, but should display in an SVG capable browser like IE6 or Amaya). You can try viewing the SVG file (but I have used fancy hand-writing fonts, courtesy of Chris Pirillo, and these are only viewable in the Flash version unless you have installed them).


12:51:55 PM      

Sunday, May 18, 2003
 

:: More on Wireless Shopping ::

My previous post on indoor wireless location received a comment from Ian Wood off of the Ecademy networking site that I recently joined (as a member of the WiFi Special Interest Group - SIG).

Ian brought to my attention a project in Germany called "Future Store", in particular the use of RFID technology. I checked it out....

I looked at Wincor-Nixdorf and other sites; it seems there are many players involved in the Future Store concept. I couldn't find anything in particular about wireless location technology being used, but Ian was right that RFID tags are involved (supported by IBM). Each product has an RFID tag attached to it. This facilitates finding product information by the customer and also allows product self-"scanning". It is a more convenient than using a laser scanning device.

In addition to RFID on the products, the price tags on the shelves, provided by NCR, are wirelessly connected via Spreadspectrum in the 2.4GHz band, though I presume not WiFi. The tags can be dynamically updated and can be used to display offers as well as general pricing information. The Future Store concept certainly seems an exciting one and to me it has so many possibilites and show that a highly connected future is not that far off.


11:39:27 AM      

Friday, March 14, 2003
 

:: 3D facial imaging for augmented communications ::

When I started my PhD it was to research 3D VR-type solutions for mobile applications. At the time there was not much prior art so my supervisor advised a topic change. I looked into fuzzy logic techniques for interference reduction instead.

I am very excited to have come across Eyematic who have a working solution for "talking heads" - albeit at a high price tag. This was more or less the product I wanted to make and what prompted me to start a PhD (which I did not finish as I left Motorola who were sponsoring the research).


4:12:57 PM      

Friday, February 28, 2003
 

SIP rips, especially when its mobile!
[above link is to IETF spec for SIP, for a simple explanation of SIP - see this tutorial]

Stuff like the products from Hotsip are what "mobile-NG" (Next Generation) is all about - effortless real-time communications via voice, IM, video. I wish I had this product (Active Contacts) on my desktop right now, and that it all worked......of course, we most likely have to wait an eternity for telcos to rollout anything half useful like this. The future - and the great promise of SIP - is that all communications become IP based (both voice and data) and that the wider community of budding developers, visionaries and start-ups can offer us useful services in a snitch! (Or we roll our own.)

Active Contacts is the console for all real-time communications - click to chat (IM), click to see, click to talk - any combination of all three with any combination of your buddies, pleasure or business - and do it from any device, anywhere without faffing around to do so - moving seamlessly from mobile coverage to WiFi (which is also the future - more on that later). My juices are flowing at the thought of such useful tools. Sounds like a fantasy doesn't it? This stuff is the future and it is definitely coming. It is what 3G is all about....

Now tie this interesting stuff up with decent pervasive PIM management tools....yes, we could be on to a winner here (notwithstanding that there aren't any decent pervasive PIM tools - but let's discuss that issue later).

There is just so much interesting stuff that can be done with presence technology and SIP, that I have started some new channels on my weblog just to talk about it all.......stay tuned (that's if anyone is out there reading this stuff...) For those of you who still read books, all this stuff is going into my new book (as yet untitled, but "Next Generation Wireless Applications" would be a good working title).


11:29:39 PM      


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