Assumption of seamlessness and cellphone boosters
Cell phone booster/repeater solution seems to be a trendy path lately, as shown by this NYT article which presents devices such as femtocell to extend mobile phone service coverage indoors, especially where access would otherwise be limited or unavailable. What I find interesting here is less the technology than the reasons why these solutions are brought forward (or at least the one mentioned/promoted by companies designing these solutions). Excerpt from the article:
"“Because more and more people are not taking landline telephones anymore, adding a signal booster is becoming much more popular,” said Richard Holtz, president of Infinisys in Daytona Beach, Fla. His firm plans the placement of cellular boosters in high-rise buildings, dorms and offices.
“People are expecting perfect coverage everywhere,” Mr. Holtz said, pointing out that being indoors or outdoors can make a big difference in call quality. (...) Many things get in the way of wireless signals. Trees and intervening buildings can degrade the signal from the cell tower, while brick walls and wallboard supports can block them completely. Sometimes many obstacles will conspire to create a “dead zone” of dropped and missed calls. (...) Of course, boosters require you to shell out your own money to improve a service you are already paying for. Pestering your carrier to upgrade its network is a cheaper — but slower — approach."
Why do I blog this? I'd be curious to know more about the real expectations of people but the seamless coverage might be a need. In our field studies, it's generally the case that people ASSUME wireless coverage (or perfect positioning through LBS) but then realize there are some discrepancies. It's then interesting to see both human and technical solutions to this problem. Technical solutions are boosters and repeaters described in this article whereas human solutions are behavioral adjustments (like sending an SMS instead of calling when you only have 2 bars on the signal reception display).