I recently read some interesting thoughts about ubiquitous computing. The first was an interview with Takashi Matsumoto at WMMNA. Besides the many interesting projects he talked about, I especially liked his definition of ubiquitous content.
“Ubiquitous Content” is an idea of a new design objective of our lives in the post-PC era. In 20th century, a notion of media contents has been meant contents like movies, music, animations, video games etc. Figuratively speaking, such contents were entities supplied in containers designed as “boxes”. But now, a spread of networks and a realization of ubiquitous computing technologies are going to change those styles of media. The container is not like a “box” any more: It will change its forms freely to give us advanced computer augmentations in a specific context and it will be sometimes invisible embedded into our environments. It is more appropriately called Ubiquitous Media and it will be a new style of media. When we design such Ubiquitous Media, we need to think about the container as our environments in which many things are cooperating rather than a single hardware, a single software or a single standard. Users will not need to be conscious of those medias, therefore such containers emerge for users as “their lives” themselves. “Ubiquitous Contents” are contents for such media. Those must be “experiences” in “their lives”.
Altough not complety new, I like the metaphors of boxes and containers.
Even more inspiring was Yvonne Rogers article “Moving on from Weiser’s Vision of Calm Computing: Engaging UbiComp Experiences.” She suggests a new way of thinking and working on UbiComp. It must engage people in what they do at a moment, not making decisions for them. A shift from proactive computing to proactive people.
A promising approach for working on new and successful concepts for all these new technologies that are about to go mainstream or already had.