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How do wireless and dry cleaning converge?

Despite the fact that my co-workers joke about my wrinkled clothes -- I *do* go to the cleaners. In fact, this morning I went to the one up the street from where I live to drop off some of my wrinkled clothes. “You work at Cisco Systems Matt?” Ahmed, my dry cleaner, asked me. I have been using him for a long time and we call each other by first name. “Yeah. How’d you know?”"I found a business card in one of your shirts. What do you know about RFID?”I paused for a second… I was truly taken aback. Then it dawned on me that you know that something is going to become pervasive when your dry cleaner asks about it. Read More »

Matt’s Wireless Experience yesterday – no wires attached

Yesterday I woke up right on time (again) because my clock wirelessly synchronizes to a master clock. As part of my morning routine. I grabbed my remote control and flipped on the stereo to my favorite news station. While I was trying to open my eyes, my mother called to talk about the Oscars. So I grabbed my 2.4 Ghz phone and listened to why she thought “Little Miss Sunshine” should have won and how cute the little girl was sitting in her chair. Yada yada yada… I want to go back to sleep 5:30 AM is a bit too early to hear how pleased she was that Martin Scorcese finally won. “Mom can I call you later?” I hung up -- threw the phone on the nightstand (knowing I’ll forget where it is but knowing I can use the base station to find it later on). The truth is -- its at these early morning moments when I regret not investing in one of those wireless thing-a-majigs that turn your hot water on for you. But I’m inherently cheap -- so I pulled myself out of bed, turned on the water, and waited for it to get warm. Read More »

Into Thin Air: Mobility, the NBA and Fans in the Human Network

Last weekend I had the distinct labor of co-hosting the NBA All-Star Game for Cisco (methinks the blogger doth protest too disingenuously). While much of the weekend’s focus was on the physical pyrotechnics of the slam dunk, celebrity sightings, and very, very cool parties with tall people, there was another key angle to this pinnacle of sports and entertainment, the NBA Technology Summit. Arch entrepreneur and NBA Commissioner David Stern made it clear he was in touch with role the Internet and Mobility would be playing the future of the league. He noted that much of the world would be reaching the Internet, hence the NBA, from the cell phones going forward, not from PCs.When the Commissioner of the NBA recognizes his future is the mobile web, it’s not hard to see why. Sports fans are intensely involved with their favorite leagues and teams. I caught up to WNBA Superstar Lisa Leslie (http://www.wnba.com/playerfile/lisa_leslie/) on the break and over a soda discussed her interest in the subject. She told me that basketball fans are”always on the new thing.” Toronto Raptor forward Chris Bosh led a discussion on why fans were always asking for personal information non him (like what cereal he ate and what video games he played) that was answered by Magic Johnson. Magic noted:”because kids want to be like you, they want immediate information so they can one up their friends by showing how much in touch they are with you.”It is clear that progressive sports organizations, rather than fight this move to mobility, are going to exploit it in building their brands. And plenty of people, including venture capitalists, financial analysts and the media were on hand to soak in the implications. For the NBA the focus was less on potential programming -there was a terse, uneventful Q&A on the no-show ESPN Mobile Device announced a year ago -but on the future role advertising could play in this mobile sports works. The top keynote of the morning was no less than Google CEO Eric Schmitt, who was on hand to share his views and take some pretty serious questions of the financial implications of this shift of the advertising model as well as payment models for NBA video. While much of the industry debates where the financial mode for Metro Mesh networks will come from, maybe some of it will come from the NBA?Although the summit was a strictly off the record event, David Stern was clear on one quotable area:”I can say is that in this wonderful age of wireless, of video on demand, on the device formally known as the cell phone, which is now a handheld device, at a time when the statistics are overwhelming that there will be soon two billion people on cell phones with the third generation, to have compelling content — which is our game — means that our game is going to be brought to fans in ways that not only that we couldn’t have anticipated, but we probably couldn’t have imagined, and that’s all good on a global scale.”

“The Prosumer” in the Human Network

One of the clearest human derivatives of the Human Network — enabled by mobility — is the increasing breakdown of the wall between our personal and our work lives. As our brand campaign reminds people,”work is an activity, not a place.”The ability to work, when you need to work, wherever you need to work now means wireless networks, security, and unified communications now provide seamless access to people, assets and critical information. Now you can: -- Catch up on a product development project at a coffee shop on vacation- Get a message from your kids they arrived safely home from school during a snowstorm, even when you are in a foreign country on business -- Set up a 3 way video call with your team around the world.Now your business moves with you.There is a second order derivative that goes with this mobile transformation. For many, how they define themselves, from a technology usage perspective is changing. The traditional segmentation that you might get in a market research study tends to put you in 1 of 3 categories consumer, business or student. However, technology is bleeding across these categories and how you define yourself is changing. My favorite definition of this dissolution is the”prosumer.” People are now professionals and consumers at the same time.From a mobility point of view, the requirement is to have the same IT resources, applications, services and security available to me wherever I am. Effectively, this means I want to be as effective professionally when I am not in the office than when I am in the office. As a consumer, I want to be able to run my life when I am not home.In the next few blogs, stay tuned for some perspectives on how technology must adapt to meet the people requirements of this evolving world.Things are going to get mixed up, As Mark Twain said in Following the Equator“Ε“The compass in my head has been out of order from my birth . . . In me the east was born west, the battle-plans which have the east on the right-hand side are of no use to me.”

Other Technologies

Dave Binetti asks: “I’ve seen these posts as well as others you’ve written on the concept of localization (like with the Stockholm subway project and RFID.) How do other technologies that are wireless and lower-power (like Zigbee) factor in to the equation? Do they stand a chance against ubiquitous WiFi? Or are things like 802.11n too power-hungry to get the job done alone?”It is a very good question.I think other wireless technologies clearly will play a role in the development of innovative applications and lowerpower approaches provide entries to an order of magnitude addition of new things (i.e., the Internet of Things) that are attached to both wired and wireless IP networks. The open question is 1. What is the timing for their mass commercialization2. What we can do to add them to the growing pervasive WLAN networks emerging all over the worldReaders, thoughts on innovation or other comapnies you have seen playing a role here?