Jan. 17, 2007 WCA

The Wireless Communications Association International (WCA) had its thirteenth annual event at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose last week. It’s an odd mix of cable companies, telecoms, start-ups and government types all trying to understand one another. My impression is that the wireless market will explode if they can all get out of each other’s way.
The idea of high speed community wireless is a no-brainer. Schools could eliminate costly infrastructure and out of date textbooks. Police and fire could coordinate with each other and neighboring communities in an emergency. Small business could literally put themselves on the map for customers. Voters could get a better view of their communities and act in the public interest. Commuters could adjust their schedules or routes to make better efficient use of their time.

Imagine knowing exactly when a bus or train is going to arrive because you could see it on cell phone? You could find a nearby restaurant and wait until it comes. Imagine knowing about a traffic accident and steering around it. Police and rescue would know the exact location and quickly respond. Imagine citizens looking at the number of accidents at particular intersection and petitioning the city council for a stoplight.

One concern about wireless technology is that it is not completely wireless. Thirty years ago they talked about a paperless office and I’m still killing trees. Granted I’m using less paper, but at the expense of a coal powered electricity grid to run a computer. Every wireless device I have seen needs to be recharged. This means batteries and a charger that I have to carry around. We need to think about greener ways to power wireless devices.

Copyright 2007 DJ Cline All rights reserved.