Saturday, September 22, 2001

8/11/2006; 2:29:29 AM

A whole new world of location based services ...
The advances that we are creating in computing devices, and in wireless connectivity, are setting the course on where the human race will be in the not-to-distant future. We are slowly evolving into a multitude of ever-connected people, continuously interacting throughout the day with the communities that we are members of.

I believe that some of the biggest enhancements to the human experience are going to appear as a result of the combination of location based services, and augmented reality. It is when we merge these two that we will start to see some incredible enhancements to how we relate to each other, and the world around us.

Image the day that you leave your house, wearing your computer and it's augmented-reality goggles, and begin to experience the sensory enhancements that it can create. The computer will constantly be determining your location, and augmenting your senses with new forms of "awareness." You will hear audible notifications of issues related to you - both near and far. A friend has come on-line ... another friend is less than a mile away from you. You will also be able to see "virtual" signs and art in your goggles which "overlay" the world around you. These will be signs left by friends, and other people in the communities that you interact with. We have not even begun to see what is coming ...

Location Services Coming Slowly. But study says they'll generate big profits [allNetDevices Wireless News]

8/11/2006; 2:29:31 AM

The group is slowly making some progress ...
I just downloaded the SyncML developer kit to take a look and see what they have created. I am a huge advocate of synchronization solutions, since they appear to be a mirror of biological evolution. I am still waiting for the ultimate sync solution so that my addressbook, cell phone, and Palm all contained the same data ... but it's not here yet ...
SyncML 20010306 (Default). The official Synchronization Markup Language toolkit. []

Thursday, September 20, 2001

8/11/2006; 2:29:25 AM

Where is my family? My friends? Location services will tell ...
This is a company that is really on the right track ... Wherify Wireless ... in creating innovative new hardware and software solutions. They are creating a hardware device (estimated to be <$300) that will provide Pager/GPS/Cellular-Modem capabilities ... which will allow the wearer of the device to be "tracked" via the web.

Their premise is that parents want to know where their children are. People want to track pets that might get lost. Various people will want to track other people who might wander away. There are, of course, a number of implications to this type of service. I predict that there are going to be numerous services that appear like this one, and that the real breakthroughs in this market will occur when standardized hardware, and software, appear on the market. There are some reasons why I predict that Wherify will have a great tactical business, but will have to make significant shifts as we move forward in time:

1. I don't like their business model, since it begs to be "broken" in the future. They are counting on their proprietary hardware solution to tie people to a service that they will charge for on a monthly basis. Being in the hardware business is a tough market, especially when the functionality that they are creating is going to be standard parts of the upcoming PDAs and wearable computers. When all of our mobile devices have wireless connectivity, and GPS capabilities, we'll be able to provide this capabilites ourselves.

2. The second part of their business model that I don't care for, is that there is the possibility of privacy concerns. Do you trust Wherify? Do you trust who they might provide your data to? How secure are their storage facilities? Might a "break-in" to their servers provide some access to where your children are? This type of locatin service does not require a centralized service, although there are some benefits. My team and I are working on this type of service, using commodity PDAs, GPS, and CDPD modems, to provide the same kinds of capabilities ... without anyone else monitoring where we are. We are creating a much more distributed solution ... almost peer to peer. To me, the success of this market will occur when the devices are standards based, and readily available. Along with this, software will appear on the market which allow the unit to talk directly to your own home monitoring system ... or to an organization of your choice!

3. I also wonder about the various issues ... this service introduces some very wild situations!
I want to track my friend ... I buy an account and toss the unit in their jacket pocket. Or I attach the unit under their car. The ability to "slip" one of these devices into someone's clothing or transportation opens up a whole new world of PI and detective work!

In any case, I am now on a mission to talk with a wide range of vendors at Comdex about these devices, and the possibilities surrounding them ...

Wednesday, September 19, 2001

8/11/2006; 2:29:15 AM

McNealy on Privacy ...
This links to a very good article by Scott McNealy on Privacy and Identity information. I have to agree that I believe that technology can create powerful solutions which empower people to manage their own private identity information.
I believe that one of the most difficult issues for humans is the management of their identity information. I have been working for quite some time to create a solution for easing the management burden. This, I believe, will allow us to truly gain ground in the area of privacy and digital identity ...
Sun Systems' McNealy says our privacy is safe in the hands of corporate America. Scott McNealy, CEO, Sun Microsystems, has a piece in the Washington Post titled The Case Against Absolute Privacy. Basically, he suggests that our privacy is safe in the hands of corporate America, and no government regulation is needed. The benefits of open information outweigh the risks. []

Sunday, September 09, 2001

8/11/2006; 2:29:03 AM

More early experiments of Mirror Worlds ...
For those of you who have not read the book Mirror Worlds by David Gelernter, this description by Dan Gillmor starts to fit the bill. Gelernter writes about software systems which allow the real-time observation of almost anything on earth, anywhere, at anytime. And the ability to zoom into business and personal processes that are automated to see what is really going on from the macro-scale to the micro-scale. I agree completely with Gelernters basic premise that this type of software is inevitable ... and I can see many ways that it is starting to appear ...
Dan Gillmor: "Imagine, for example, that you're looking at a map of major Bay Area highways. The map is embedded in a PC spreadsheet or Web browser. Every 30 seconds, it updates the average traffic speeds noted by road sensors at various locations along those highways. I saw such a map earlier this week in Mountain View, at the offices of KnowNow." [Scripting News]

Friday, September 07, 2001

8/11/2006; 2:28:55 AM

As we approach the Singularity ... and Gattaca?
These articles are an interesting overview of what the government sees coming ... and what is going to be inevitable. The ability to map the genome is now here ... the inexpensive way to test for the presence and patterns of genes is coming ... and so the scenarios that are presented in the movie Gattaca are not so far away.
What I find amusing about these types of efforts by the government is that they are simply creating delays on what will occur. If the work is not done in the USA, it will be done elsewhere. I can see the day that 7-11 stores are going to have gene-sequencing kiosks to verify the genetic background of your friends, family, and potential mates or employees ... ;-)
Bush discusses genetic discrimination in radio address. Nando Times Jun 24 2001 9:29PM ET [Genetics news]

8/11/2006; 2:28:57 AM

Synchronization ... and the future ...
In my research into evolutionary theory, and optimal systems development, I have made the observation that replication and duplication of information is a naturally occurring solution. If we look at even our own DNA, we can see that the instructions that define the construction of our own human bodies is replicated and duplicated in every cell in our bodies.
Relating this to my research into identity, I have come to the conclusion that identity information is not going to be accessed by reference, but instead will be synchronized to all of the places that it will be used. This synchronization is key to how identity will be maintained by end-users, and the communities that they belong to.
It's too bad that Yahoo! is dropping this service now ... since they will be putting it back into place if they are going to move forward in the future of identity management ...
Yahoo cuts a useful sync service. Up until recently, you could sync your Yahoo Address Book with your desktop, or PDA or mobile phone. You could use the Yahoo Yellow Pages to quickly add local businesses to your address book, and then download the results to carry around with you. It was a fantastic way to fill up your mobile phone with all the local Pizza delivery, Chinese take out, and car repair places. An real example of a online service removing a little bit of drudgery from our lives. []