The Economist on why you don't have a supa interconnected ubiquitous pervasive world right now
Some quotes from this week issue of The Economist, on ubiquitous computing (which I started bloggin here), I took them from various articles in the special issue. I find that they nicely exemplify common problems with ubiquitous computing and its slow user-adoption:
"Connecting machines requires giving up control to users, observes Tim Whittaker of Cambridge Consultants, which designs wireless systems. In fact, Orange M2M is criticised for trying to prevent customers from working with other operators. Thus even when mobile firms fall in love with M2M, the technology is suffocated by their embrace. Wireless innovation is more likely to come from smaller companies with a computing background. They are beginning to give machines eyes, ears and a voice. (...) Expectations were so high because much of the technology exists already. Yet it is being held back by non-technical factors: the lack of integration among different parts of the industry and the need for companies to change the way they operate. (...) Components from different firms may not work together (...) Mobile network coverage is inconsistent, so relying on just one operator is risky, and for movable things such as vending machines and cars, which may cross national borders, it is unthinkable. (...) The list goes on. Back-office software to manage the system has to work with existing corporate software. Someone has to take care of billing and managing the devices. And as everyone takes their cut, the expense grows. "It is a very long value-chain for people to bring this together," (...) But things have not gone as planned. In Japan, where much has been made of vending machines that accept payment via mobile phones, the vast majority are in fact unconnected. (...) Part of the reason is the sheer difficulty of getting all the relevant businesses together (...) Another question that inhibits take-up, even among those who are interested, is who should pay for the installation"
Why do I blog this? because it's the first time I read in a broader-audience journal (as opposed to tech journal or scientific publications) a so comprehensive and clear overview of the ubiquitous computing problems. The analyses in this special issue are spot-on the main shortcomings: technological messiness, different business models, different regulations, complex situations, etc.