Freedom to Roam - Page 5

Nov 15, 2000

- Staff

hcare company, enables its diabetic consumers to post their blood sugar readings to the Web throughout the day, using a cell phone. The results are stored on the Web and monitored by personal physicians.

While no one can predict which wireless functionalities users will eventually want, winning applications will share certain characteristics. For one thing, says Auld, they will be heuristic, or adaptable to their operating environments. "Take an application involving work flow," he says. "Suppose that someone in the group is suddenly taken ill. Unless there is supervisory human intervention to change the work flow, a logjam would result, affecting all downstream work." Heuristic software would detect this imbalance in the load, he says, and knowing the type and quality of the resources available, retune the system to allow for this change. Thus, heuristic software does not merely perform a static function, but also tunes to its environment to optimize functionality.

In addition, says Auld, winning wireless software would adapt well to matrix organizations, in which individual employees fulfill a variety of roles within their area of expertise. In such cases, employees may report to a number of different managers and are constantly inputting to projects at various stages of development, and even at different sites.

In the area of enterprise application development, business logic is moving away from the client and out of backend servers. This trend supports advances in the midtier, and CIOs, especially in retail or e-businesses sectors, should expect growth in intelligent wireless devices and the thin client.

As customer relationship management becomes more sophisticated, and the application of pervasive computing devices more far-reaching, writes Gold, specialization beyond what we have experienced already is inevitable. Companies will have to make the transition from focusing on hardware standards, he writes, to focusing on interface standards and personalization technologies.

The final frontier is "evolutionary," says Sidon, in the form of bigger screens, smaller-sized devices, and other ergonomic factors that will make wireless computing more comfortable for the user. The endgame: a communication path between every worker no matter where they are located.

"The time will come when we rely not just on wireless but on connectionless intelligent communication between most personal computing devices," says Auld. When not only data, but also voice and video have been integrated, companies will have met the ultimate challenge: the generation of the virtual company.

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