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What the Next Decade Will Bring... Pervasive Computing

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, December 30, 1999

If you think you can't get away from computers now... just wait. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. While most of us go about our daily lives struggling to get that blasted computer at work or at home to do what we want it to do, there are some pretty smart people making plans for the next generation of computing... where the machines become invisible and the chips are just about everywhere. Pervasive computing. IBM's general manager of pervasive computing, Mark Bregman, says it's starting already...

"Well I think now it's no surprise that all these new devices are emerging. Handheld smart phones, PDAs, personal digital assistants, set top boxes, etc., and pervasive computing is what the world is going to be when all of these devices become other ways to access the network."

The network being streams of data that will envelope us..through wired and wireless connections. At the AT&T Labs in Cambridge, England, Communications Engineering Professor Andy Hopper..says walk into a room...and your personal digital device, for instance, will introduce itself to the nearest phone...

"Digital devices having radio systems, automatically discovering that they're near to each other, discovering what their properties are and how they might automatically set themselves up so they work together."

Far out. But not very far off says IBM's Bregman...

"The wireless technology is moving very, very quickly"

Within the next few years...wireless video phones...and a whole lot more.