02
Oct
2012

Wireless – The Ties That Bind Us

Wireless is becoming ever more significant.  We are at a critical moment in the development of the internet.   A moment where all of the hyped potential of the dotcom-era is now becoming possible.  Because the capabilities of the networks that make up the internet are exploding. For example allowing a small company in Finland to sell its product to 50 million catapult-loving people in just 35 days.

Wireless networking is a powerful instrument underpinning huge changes in the world around us and enhancing the lives of individuals and the community.  Look at everything it enables.   It frees us from a specific time, place and schedule. In many walks of life an individual can be as productive in a rural cottage or on a tropical island as they can be in a city-centre office block. Not being tied to the desk gives the gift of flexibility and a break from the routine.  These new connections can breathe new life into towns and villages that people needed to leave to earn a living.  They can free people from the daily grind of traffic gridlock and crowded buses and trains and help our environment.

Wireless salvages worth from waste.  It recycles time lost to queues, traffic and commutes as quality time connecting with our friends, family and colleagues. Catching up on the latest happenings, reading the news, or entertaining ourselves with music and movies.  As I write this post I am on the train to visit a client, and I can pretty much access everything I normally can when I’m in the office using my Samsung Galaxy.

A new dimension to sharing and relationships is enabled by wireless, enabling families and friends from near and far to stay in touch via voice, video and social networks. We can share our experiences at social events, concerts, matches and out and about.  But it’s not only friends and families who benefit.  Organisations are social networks too, where colleagues work together and organise activities using the internet and wireless technology. These new connections have had a profound impact on our world. Witness the recent events in the Middle East where people have been able to coordinate together to gain their freedom, sometimes peacefully and sometimes not. It will be interesting to see the role social networks and mobile video will play in this year’s US elections.

The internet is the ultimate knowledge management system especially when joined with the right tools for access and search.  Schools and colleges are increasingly using the internet to manage course content and the submission of assignments, replacing heavy paper documents and books. This material is now transported over Wi-Fi and cellular networks to smartphones, iPads and laptops.  People around the world we can access the information that they need, whether it’s about the status of their bank payments and transfers or the latest market prices for their product, improving their ability to negotiate with customers and middlemen. A lot of training coursework is moving to an online format and government agencies are using the internet to help with their work, for example podcast exercise routines from the National Health Service in the UK.

Wireless networks also improve our security, not only through the traditional public security wireless networks such as TETRA, but also through social networks.  Twitter was an invaluable source of quick alerts during the Dublin floods of 2011.  Similarly, medical researchers have learnt that social media references to infection are early signals of epidemics – and more timely than alerts from public health professionals.  Beware of friends complaining about a rash on Tumblr!

This is only a small sample of the difference wireless networks can make. Taken together they bring newfound freedom and prosperity. And this is what gives real meaning to what we do.  So the question is, are we wireless consultants?  Or are we making a difference in the world?  What do you think?