The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

There must be a better name for the future mobile computing environment

As computing moves from dedicated boxes used in specific locations to something we call the right six:

The Right information
in the Right form
to the Right person
in the Right place
at the Right time
driving the Right action


It's clear that the computing environment will need to be much more context and location aware than it is today. The kind of information I am interested in at the grocery store is quite different than what I'm interested in at work. The way I want the information delivered is different as well. For some reason, few things bothers me more than my cell phone going off while I am sitting at my desk at work. Probably because it scares the heck out of me every time (I have it set to always vibrate!).


Anyway, what is the best name for this kind of computing environment? There are a number of terms used by folks out there:

  • seamless mobility - but mobile in the name seems too IT oriented and limiting. It's much more than an infrastructure problem.
  • Context aware computing - but it's more of an environmental issue than just "computing."

Based on the wikipedia definition, Ubiquitous computing seems closest to what's meant. It also seems too IT oriented and not context aware, but does incorporate the environmental issue - since it's everywhere.


Intel has used the term mobility ubiquity, but I'll leave that one alone.

It does make me wonder what the user community would call something like this, since I bet it wouldn't have computing in the name. It's not a question of if, but when and what to call it.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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