Revolutions at the Speed of Light

Published Categorized as technology

back in 2000 / 2001 i wrote an ezine for / newsweaver, over the next few posts some of the best bits on the 18 editions of wavelinks.

from march 2001 Revolutions at the Speed of Light While the mobile is primarily a business tool, its secondary uses are for anything but business. Never before has a technology put so much power into the hands of its users. Armed with a mobile phone, a list of numbers and a few spare batteries, a modern day revolutionary can duck and dive the authorities as they negotiate their next TV appearance with RTE or Sky News.

Toppling governments used to take time, then in stepped communications technology to act as the catalyst for change. The leaders of the 1968 French revolution were said to have used MiniTel and campus networks to communicate. Throughout the 70s CB radios were recharged to effect a coup or two in Latin America and Africa where guerillas were mobilised over rough terrain. The 80s saw the students and the dissidents of Tiananmen Square get their message out fast and effectively via fax, and in 1991 Boris Yeltsin used pirate radio to immediately spread his propaganda in the August coup.

Today (march 2000), with 120% mobile phone penetration among the generationX, ‘the power to communicate’ is no longer an advertising slogan, it’s a call to arms for mobile activists everywhere. Starting last year and continuing into 2001 the mobile phone is playing its part in reshaping the political landscape.

In Manila, thousands of anti-Estrada demonstrators with mobiles were able to direct their activities from vantage points far from the flashpoints of the protest. In Yugoslavia the farmers descended on Belgrade, and with no effective public address present, it was mobile telephony that proved the best way to organise 100,000 people intent on taking power. Late last year the fuel protests in Britain typified what can happen – and how quickly. Without mandate or prior warning, groups of likeminded people, whose only network was cellular phones, brought a country to its knees in a matter of days.

The carrier pigeons of today, the mobile phone and SMS, can mobilise groups of activists on to the steets or picket lines; the mobile phone in the hand of an activist is the most lethal and legal weapon they could ask for.

From november 2000

Nokia and RealNetworks Partner to Deliver Audio and Video to Next Generation Wireless Devices. In June of this year (2000) Nokia & RealNetworks agreed to develop and distribute Internet media technology for future mobile devices. Expect to see some trial services before Q2 2001. This type of move will revolutionise the concept of radio on demand; niche content types and pay-per-view mobile services will be abundant in a mobile streaming environment.

from Jan 2001

mCommerce 2001: Buying & Selling under your thumb. mCommerce (mobile commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services through wireless handheld devices such as mobiles and PDAs. It has been tipped as the next-generation eCommerce and enables users to access the Internet without having to find a place to plug in. The technology behind mCommerce is currently based on WAP.

mCommerce predictions:

* mCommerce transactions will be worth IEP50 billion in the next three years

* By the end of 2000, 56% of Europeans had at least one mobile phone; by 2003 the estimated figure will be 83%

* There will be 600 million data-enabled handsets worldwide by 2004

While the much hyped WAP goes through a cooling down phase, mCommerce is just around the corner and ready to undergo public scrutiny. Speed will be a big factor in its success, as it will allow for more than just text; such as the ability to view high resolution images, video clips, etc. GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), which can send data five to six times faster then WAP, is now on trial in Dublin. Before the mCommerce corner is turned, however, security issues will have to be resolved. For example, there is currently a scarcity of end-to-end security applications for WAP.

mCommerce will allow us to access and purchase more easily, but perhaps the marketers could depict mCommerce as something which can enrich our lives, rather than just something that quickly empties bank accounts. While I’m not calling for a free lunch, services that allow us to reduce queuing, time wasting or unnecessary commuting would be far more beneficial than being able to avail of type services.

Categorized as technology