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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Ubiquitious Communication In the Presence Era

Recently I covered about the presence era.Feeling another human being's presence is what, at heart, communication is all about, and yet technology has done an uneven job of helping us in this. Hearing a loved one breathing, or bustling about, at the other end of the phone is comforting, but consider a future where we can decide not only how and when people can reach us but also easily share with those people where we are - photos or videos of our environment, our clothing, the room we're in, the view we're enjoying, the Web site we're reading, the movie we're watching. More prosaically, imagine opening a document and seeing not only who else has worked on it but be able to see immediately where they are and whether they're available to discuss it. Imagine a corporate network that told you immediately who else was in the office, and where, through an easy-to-access Web page or desktop program. I see a future where the concept of presence becomes so mainstream that we are able to connect with each other easily, more satisfyingly and less disruptively. One day a phone ringing at an empty desk will seem a quaint historical absurdity. Andrew Kantor believes that we are living in the communication age, mistakenly referred to as information age. We've always had plenty of information, and, being the inquisitive species we are, we've always created more of it. What's changed is that we have new, faster, bigger, and arguably better ways of moving that information around. In an age where mobility is fast becoming the biggest change agent, everyone seems to feel the need to walk around with cellphones in their purses or strapped to their belts. He points out when Hurricane Katrina hit, it all but completely knocked out internet access for New Orleans and southern Louisiana. Besides preventing much information from leaving the area via the Net, the disaster also exposed another problem: The danger of relying on central connection points. He points out that mesh networking— specifically, wireless mesh networking could provide a solution in this case. Instead of each computer being connected only to a server or hub, in a mesh network, computers are connected to one another. Advantages include built in redundancy, no single point of failure. That also makes the network dynamic — people can move in and out of it at will (think fire and rescue) but the network itself remains in place. Second, it allows the network to expand virtually forever. A traditional network is limited by what the central server or hub can handle, because everything has to connect to it. But a mesh network, without that center, has no limits on its growth. Information is only useful when it can move around, and we've done a pretty good job of connecting ourselves to one another. But the next stage might move us from solid networks to more flexible ones, and make the idea of access points obsolete. This is a classic case - where technology creates a new social phenomenon and its adoption pushing new frontiers in technology availability - This reinforcing loop shall certainly create a huge impact across the soceity.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"