Stories about wireless technology on Dartmouth's campus are nothing new, but Naval Ravikant at VentureBlog has gone a step further to look at how Dartmouth is using their ubiquitous wireless connections to predict how people will use wireless in the future. As he points out, Dartmouth seems to be a great proving ground, as years ago, they were way ahead of the ubiquitous email/IM concept. Not everyone will agree with his predictions, but there are some interesting ones. He thinks that "voice instant messaging" in the form of "push-to-talk" will become big, though, the older you are, the less likely you'll be to agree with that. Also, with wireless connections everywhere, more people will have connected devices, and applications will pop up rapidly to take advantage of that. As such, voice becomes just one app of many that you're using on the network, and location-based services start becoming useful in a hurry. Lots of people like to trash location-based applications, and many will be pointless or annoying - but that doesn't mean that really useful applications won't show up. It also begins to change the way people interact with information. Paper newspapers increasingly lose their value. One of their benefits was that you could take it anywhere, but if the connection is everywhere, that benefit goes away. Plus, the ability to do research on the fly means just-in-time information (meaning that the internet really does become your backup brain). Naval talks about the odd experience of seeing the person sitting in front of him at a conference look up his bio. He wonders how long it will be until people Google each other at the time they meet them. The overwhelming theme, and one that wireless detractors often miss, is that what's revolutionary about wireless is what it lets you do that's different than before. The opportunities in wireless aren't about taking something in the wired world and replicating it wirelessly - but in realizing the benefits that wireless provides and doing something that couldn't be done if it weren't for the wireless connection.
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