If we look at computing in business, as just one example of this, we’ve started (in my working life) from a few mainframe terminals on a few desks. Next came personal computing for a few, connected to an internal and secure corporate network. Then we had distributed computing with secured laptops linked to the same networks through virtual private networking. More recently we shifted mobile computing using smart devices like the BlackBerry and iPhone/iPad – A development that is still evolving. FInally we put it all in the cloud with application grunt work processed remotely and ultra thin client presentation layers with users.
Today, when I take a photograph it’s immediately upload to my photostream and downloaded by the other devices that I’ve connected to that stream so that I can return home and edit the photograph on my desktop, and again those edits will be saved to the photostream and downloaded to my other devices so that in the evening when I’m with friends I can show them the edited photograph on my iPad. This is an early example of ubiquity; all of our data, on all of our devices, all of the time.
In the longer term, this leads to not just our data, but our workflow and the current state of any work in progress being ubiquitously available on all of our devices, all of the time.
However, it goes even further than that: the notes we take in a meeting can be formatted and distributed by personal assistants almost in real time, their edits can be back on our devices in order for us to validate and check them within moments. What becomes important in those situations is content and presentation rather than the time delays that historically have been in the way of rapid decision-making. From a business point of view, my expectation is that this will lead to a further democratisation of smaller businesses, for a long time we’ve been moving from a world in which the big eat the small, to a world in which the fast eat the slow. Distributed ubiquitous technologies make that the preserve of the well connected, not the well heeled.
Ubiquity is coming, are you ready?
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