This year, the technology trend is going from web into mobile. If you have followed this year’s Mobile World Congress, you will see there are so many new phones from different vendors. It’s all about big screen with a focus of productivity.
We are entering into a new technology era. Mobile used to be a single function device. In recent years, mobile has acquired some extra features. The most common are music player, productivity suite and utilities, and online capabilities. Some road warriors can now carry a mobile phone in their pocket and continue their work on the road.
How will the mobile technologies be developed from here, to assist you on your work and life everyday? We’re not just talking about cell phones. We’re seeing a constant rise in gadgets that talk to each other and deal with your information for you. Let’s have a look into the not-so-distant future.
Recently I have been invited to witness the launch of LG Prada II phone. Along with their phone, they have released another product, called Prada Link.
Prada Link is a watch with a twist. It could do normal functions like time, date, and alarms on its tiny screen. It also previews SMS and shows the incoming call number. It means that you can read SMS while pretending you are looking at the time. You can reject calls with your watch so you won’t feel awkward taking your phone out when you are in a meeting. You might feel safer to look at your watch when you are waiting for the traffic light when you are driving, then going through the phone.
This is quite neat. What we are about to see are different multi-function accessories that could help you in different parts of your life. Here are some I dream about — some of which are already on the rise:
- A very small bluetooth earring for music and voice call.
- A shoe with pedometer that connects to your mobile phone to count walking steps (case in point, Nike + iPod).
- A pair of glasses with screen to show information on the directions and traffic information.
- A ring with smart ID chip that you could use to pay for anything or access security points.
We’ll get there – and are getting there even today, as you can see with the launch of the Prada Link.
The Network of Things
The Prada Link is part of the network of things, a colloquial phrased used to refer to the increase in technology that communicates on a mundane level with other technology to make our lives easier. This “network of things” starts with the radio chips on inventory being moved cross-country or even internationally so that suppliers can track movement, and goes as far as the Prada Link, a watch that talks to your phone, and RFID (Radio-frequency identification) chips or barcodes in business cards that lets you access more information than a small piece of cardboard can.
Speaking of RFID, the network of things is growing to include the network of people, where RFID implants allow you to pass through security points or pay for goods, though at this time the technology is only useful in a small set of limited circumstances. Security guards in hi-tech installations are some of the first to use this technology. It has long been predicted that a time will come when RFID or something like it is what gets you through at the airport in lieu of identification, and what pays for your groceries instead of a debit or credit card.
While we’re not walking around with chips in our arms now, it opens up interesting possibilities and ideas when productivity machines and the human machine collide.
Electronic gadgets have been mass-market products for some time now, but for the most part these gadgets have been created with an interface for only one other input: the human operating it. The trend we’re seeing is gadgets interfacing with each other, instead of a human, in order to save us time. The Prada Link interfaces with your phone to bring you information in a much more accessible and swift manner, and it allows you to prioritize: does that message require immediate attention? If not, no need to pull your phone out right now. The Prada Link might lead to a few more second dates if you tend to scare them off with obsessive phone checking!
Perhaps in the future we’ll see gadgets that know whether or not to interrupt you with certain information based on rules you give it, much the way we set rules and filters in our email today. You could tell a future Prada Link not to let you know about calls from family while in a work meeting, but allows you to make exceptions for (for instance) a pregnant wife who is close to term. This is the ultimate interface between gadgets: when the gadgets know whether or not to interface with you at all.