Predictions will Unfold the Wireless Future

SAN MATEO (07/03/2000) - For the past year I've written about many aspects of the wireless industry. My rants have focused on everything from the Palm vs.

Windows CE wars to cell phone etiquette to technology in schools. And since this is my final transmission of this column (don't worry, you will keep getting Wireless World from a new author), I want to look ahead at the future of wireless technology.

First off, I think that wireless technology will be everywhere, including places that you would least expect it. Traditionally the least reliable source of public transportation, buses, will be tracked by global positioning satellites to allow people to log on to a Web site and see the bus coming close to their stop, thus timing their exit perfectly. I, of course, will still manage to miss the damn things.

Wireless technologies will make the Internet relevant to scores of local businesses that rely solely on location. Dry cleaners, delis, pharmacies, and the like will beam coupons and sale information to passersby, creating a new breed of impulse buyers. I can see myself buying all sorts of useless stuff in this scenario, such as soap with toys inside or the latest Britney Spears CD.

The morass of wires on and behind your desk will be a thing of the past.

Hooking up telephones to computers to mice to keyboards to monitors will no longer be necessary when Bluetooth hits the market, enabling low-power wireless signals to be transmitted short distances. If only Bluetooth could avoid interfering with already established wireless protocols such as 802.11, and the members of the Bluetooth group could stop infighting, and they could stop Bluetooth from trying to replicate with every device that comes within range (you don't know where that Palm's been). On second thought, maybe this wireless desktop thing won't become a reality.

And finally, we'll be able to control people around us, with nothing but tiny microchip implants and Internet access. OK, maybe this one won't happen in our lifetime, but we can dream.

I know what you are saying: "With all this coming down the road, who will guide us into the brave new world of wireless computing?" Take heart, I am leaving you in good hands. In fact, Ephraim Schwartz, the new author of Wireless World taught me virtually everything I know about technology and has been my boss, mentor, and friend for the past four years. He is more qualified to inform the masses on matters relating to wireless technology than anyone I know.

As for me, I would like to thank you all for reading and responding so faithfully to my musings over the last year. I hope that you've enjoyed reading them half as much as I've enjoyed writing them. So long.

To stay in touch, write to me at

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