Thesis 11

Everyware appears not merely in more places than personal computing does, but in more different kinds of places, at a greater variety of scales.

In principle, at least as far as some of the more enthusiastic proponents of ubicomp are concerned, few human places exist that could not be usefully augmented by networked information processing.

Whether or not we happen to agree with this proposition ourselves, we should consider it likely that over the next few years we'll see computing appear in a very great number of places (and kinds of places) previously inaccessible to it. What would this mean in practice?

Some classic sites for the more traditional sort of personal computing are offices, libraries, dorm rooms, dens, and classrooms. (If we want to be generous, we might include static informational kiosks.)

When people started using wireless-equipped laptops, this domain expanded to include coffee houses, transit lounges, airliner seats, hotel rooms, airport concoursesbasically anywhere it would be socially acceptable to sit and balance a five-pound machine on your knees, should it come to that.

The advent of a mobile computing based on smartphones and wireless PDAs opened things up still further, both technically and interpersonally. On top of the kinds of places where laptops are typically used, we can spot people happily tapping away at their mobile devices on, in, and around sidewalks, cars, waiting rooms, supermarkets, bus stops, civic plazas, commuter trains.

But extending this consideration to include ubiquitous systems is almost like dividing by zero. How do you begin to discuss the "place" of computing that subsumes all of the above situations, but also invests processing power in refrigerators, elevators, closets, toilets, pens, tollbooths, eyeglasses, utility conduits, architectural surfaces, pets, sneakers, subway turnstiles, handbags, HvAC equipment, coffee mugs, credit cards, and many other things?

The expansion not merely in the number of different places where computing can be engaged, but in the range of scales involved, is staggering. Let's look at some of them in terms of specific projects and see how everyware manifests in the world in ways and in places previous apparitions of computing could not.

Everyware. The dawning age of ubiquitous computing
Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing
ISBN: 0321384016
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 124
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