Mobile Goes Mobile

 Posted by on Nov 29, 2012  Add comments
Nov 292012

For years I’ve been writing about and implementing a multi-channel, multi-device, n-tier architecture and often would say “I don’t know what the next device is going to be, but I’m sure there’s going to be one, and this architecture will allow us to be prepared”. Well, I think that era is upon us now and I’m ready to predict what the next device will be: It’s your car. New cars these days are equipped with multiple computers, multifunction touch screens, voice recognition, GPS, and much more. So where are we prepared for this, and where will we need to think differently?

Architecturally (if we have done things right in the past) we should be ready now for this new device in our end-to-end solutions. But there are clear distinctions that need to be made to support the device, especially in the interaction model. For example, what functions should we allow a driver to do? What other safety concerns are there? How do we design the new user interaction models?

Another major issue will be access to the device. Today, most access is controlled by dedicated networks such as OnStar. In the near future, will that change to 4G and other mobile networks? What will location and presence mean when you’re in a moving car?

I’m pretty sure that all of these issues will not get resolved for the industry at large in 2013, but expect to see the emergence of some new applications on your dashboard this year.

[Editor’s Note: This post is part of the annual “Cutter Predicts …” series.]


  One Response to “Mobile Goes Mobile”

  1. Car as a new class of device? Interesting! I researched some interaction capabilities in cars. As for now I am pretty sure, the worst possible is touch screen port form tablets. Trying to do anything on such device while driving could only drive you crazy. :-) I researched some more traditional and found a kind of rolling-and-push joystick operable, but extremely inefficient when more elaborative interaction is required (like entering some text). I think there are two major issues: one is ability to “transmit” more information to the car doing it efficiently (not like entering each letter in alphabet) and second is to present the whole interaction without driver interruption. The second issue could be resolved via presenting any information on the front car glass – having the road as “a background”. The first is much more difficult, but I think the answer is gesture – like in Xbox Kinect.

    But why a car? Is it the place where we spend most of our life time? How about a house? There are commercial systems of “intelligent building” class. But, we know it for sure, this “intelligence” advertised is in fact only a kind of wiring, which – in my opinion – is not even dumb. If gestures are so natural to humans, and body language can be read using Kinect-like technology, why my home cannot extrapolate my mood, while I am entering my house getting back from work? And, base on that extrapolation, switch lights to appropriate scene, decide on music to be played, change air-conditioning parameters or even filter out all phone calls from people I would not like to hear? Don’t You think it is worth effort? :-)

    But I personally do not think car or house would be the next device. They are not personal (you have to share it), and they cannot be taken anywhere (you have to be with them). I think, the next device will be much more pervasive and ambient. And we know such device – yes, glasses.

    William Gibson – father of cyberpunk, they say – written “Virtual Light”, where glasses were the augmented reality interface, able to present any piece of information related to the object you could see through them. Peter Watts in “Rifters trilogy” introduced tactical contact lenses, able to do quite the same. And Google is already making it reality, although not without difficulties. :-) Let’s imagine. You walk down the street, hungry – they present you the way to restaurant with your favourite cuisine (with up-to-date pricelist, of course). Then you get to your car and see all the traffic information, shopping list to be done along the road and warnings to slow down, because you are tired and irritated (customers are able to be so irritating :-) ). Getting to your house, you can see who is inside (so you can do a small surprise). You walk into the house, looking at your stereo and the music starts to play. And so on, ans so forth… This is something pervasive and ambient. And, BTW, all advertisements could me swept off cities – why to spend money on real estate, if all the advertisement could be presented directly on glasses – for those who want them to see (like while shopping) or those, whose glasses are subsidised by ad network operators?

    How about that?

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