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November 12, 2008

Dreaming of a sensor-filled world

ESPOO, Finland – There are many interesting things going on in the company, but there are some things that catch my attention as “important to think about”, things that will have a big impact on how we live and communicate.

One big shift at Nokia is going beyond maps and thinking more about places (locations full of information). We are also going beyond the simple contact card to a more dynamic representation of who people are (people connected to information).

The word we use to describe this is “Context”, and we feel strongly that mobile devices will play a central role in establishing a context to the places and people in our lives.

But what does this mean?

Digital and physical

There is no doubt that the fusion of the mobile and Internet are changing the way we live, work, and play. We’ve gone from consuming information to becoming part of the information. The future will be about collaborative and consumer-driven innovations. And mobile devices will be instrumental in all this innovation.

Furthermore, while folks have been attempting to project the Web onto mobile devices, the mobile device has projected itself onto the Web, providing context – through user contacts, location, photos, and messages – to services on the Web.

Every phone is a sensor

When you start thinking of the mobile device as providing context, you start to think of users projecting who they are, what they are doing, and where they are. But, when you begin to think of what could mobile devices do anonymously, you can see cases where sensor-filled devices can, in aggregate, provide information on traffic, weather, or health patterns.

Fear or hope?

Are we ready for such a future? Can we trust our safety and privacy will stay intact? Will a new generation grow up knowing how to live in this sensor-filled world, be able to differentiate between personal and public? Will NOT being part of this contextual world be considered aberrant behavior?

Where do you stand on this? What do you think of this direction? What would you like to see blossom in this sensor-filled future?

Image from Andrew Baron

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