Pervasive Computing and Digital Consumers
Today I would like to give a brief overview on a topic that is clearly changing the way our society behaves and the way people engages with computers and other human beings. This phenomenon is of great interest to Infosys and is related to two of the Strategic Themes: Pervasive Computing and Digital Consumers. I have got involved with this subject during my two month internship with Instep and I would like to share some of my thoughts on it.
What does a typical day in our life looks like?
I wake up in the morning and read the news on my kindle. After ten minutes reading I feel like having breakfast so I go and pick some stuff from the fridge. Whenever my fridge detects that I am running out of cereals or milk it automatically launches the Supermarket App and orders food for me. After breakfast I always spend some time playing with my third generation console. Ever since consoles are providing access to the internet I feel totally in touch with my friends, especially with those who live far away from home. When gaming time is over I get dressed and leave to work. From times to times I lose my keys or some other stuff. Fortunately with the new “locate my objects” system I can easily SMS my personal belongings and they usually answer something like: “Dude! You drop me under the bed”. After checking where the train is using my mobile with GPS integration I finally leave home. Of course, I never leave without my gaming handset. I usually…..
Wait a second, what is going on here? Every single action I perform in my everyday life involves the use of some electronic device, gadget or network. What is this new way of living?
It has been called Pervasive Computing and it is a new way of Human Computer Interaction in which information processing has been completely integrated into everyday life. Sometimes we do not even realize about it and sometimes we even become overwhelmed by these gadgets.
Why we do have the need to be connected sharing information at all the time is a philosophical question that I will not try to answer. Nevertheless, I will point out why we should care about this phenomenon and how we can take these theoretical concepts into practice.
First of all, is it worth investing?
It can be clearly seen that lots of business opportunities can be generated on top of this new concepts. All different kinds of application providing services to users and companies can be created, from a simple friend finder to a complex object locator or location based task management system for employees of a certain company.
Furthermore, big firms are increasingly spending more time and money around on pervasive technologies. For example the giant of web Google has now moved to the mobile industry with its new Nexus One phone and companies like Ford and GM are planning to work together with Google to release the first car using Android Operating System.
On the other hand people are crazily consuming all kind of data and social services either from the internet, their mobiles or whatever device they can acquire. Two different examples of this are Facebook, nowadays having more than 400 million active users and the mobile market itself, with more than 174.2 million mobiles shipped during year 2009 and expecting a 39% growth for 2010. Apart from smart phones, other devices are also slowly becoming famous. One of them is Amazon´s kindle, having more than 300.000 products sold.
The most interesting part about this is that these devices and networks are integrated working together to provide better user experiences. Moreover, digital consumers are desperately looking for new ways to spend time with these gadgets.
At first glance it seems that any businessman should be interested about this new trend and should at least invest some brainstorming on know how his or her business can be adapted to deal with this new paradigm.
How to make it happen? Getting to know the right technologies.
There are some technical issues that need to be addressed in order to make this really possible. Applications should be responsive, efficient, eye candy, secure and fault tolerant. And most important of all, they should add value users.
In this article I would not like to go into technical details. However, I would like to point out that even though this sounds to be a hard technical challenge, new technologies such as Cloud Computing and Restful Web Services are out there waiting to be exploded. Anyone familiar with Web Development could easily use its knowledge to start developing Pervasive Applications. At Infosys we have already developed and deployed a working prototype of a complete system for the cycling community as part of my internship. We have used Google App Engine cloud computing technology and Google Android Operating System, for building a smart phone application. I would like to write about it in detail on future posts.
To sum up, it can be seen that more and more users are willing to use Pervasive Services and Applications. New knowledge is needed to deal with this subject in order to provide real solutions.
From big companies to young entrepreneurs, we should work hard and invest money and time in order to learn how to take the most of this new trend. We should start thinking of the many ways to do business and be prepared for the boom that has already started and that will become stronger in the years to come.
· Pervasive Computing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubiquitous_computing
· Facebook Statistics: http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
· Kindle Shipments: http://techcrunch.com/2010/01/28/amazon-4q09-earnings-kindle-millions/