Life among the clouds
What will life be in 2015? Will there be flying cars and teleportation? Come on people, it's just five years from now -- so let's just be a little more realistic. Let's take a look.
Nokia, the world leader in mobility, gave me an opportunity to look into its crystal ball how mobile devices and services will evolve in the coming years. The annual event, The Way We Live Next 3.0, pulled in journalists from around the globe.
Based on Nokia's research and development, life in 2015 will be a little different from what it is today. The processing power of mobile devices will increase dramatically and always on super-fast internet access will enable creating and sharing much quicker and easier.
Smart ecosystems will be the centre of our mobile life. Nokia's head of corporate strategy Heikki Norta outlined this on the second day of the event while wooing the audience with a short video where he showed that how devices and services will work together to make our life easier.
A global network of services will constantly learn from consumers, with a new generation of intelligent devices millions of users will be connected to the Nokia Data Cloud. Data from these devices will be harnessed to give an unprecedented level of knowledge sharing, from highly localised traffic reports to global weather trends.
For example say you are looking for the name of a Tapas restaurant in someplace you visited with colleagues sometime back, you can enter their names and a rough timeframe on our mobile device, the search will look for when you were all together in locations that sells Tapas and suggest options, bringing up photographs from the Cloud to help jog your memory.
These intelligent devices will enable users to live a more spontaneous life, helping snatch opportunities easily where the device and the service are doing all the heavy lifting, sorting through the masses of information and anticipating the user's needs.
Another example was a fisherman in India. Not only does he use his device to get the best prices for his fish, but he's making extra money by selling his data to overseas universities who can tap into his and other fishermen's information for their research. He can send and receive money directly from his phone through his Nokia account.
Downloading movies directly to your mobile device and using it as a projector to watch it, share listening and viewing experiences with people on the other side of the world. We can even have smaller sub devices with the same as the main device and seamlessly switch between the two. All these exciting things will be coming our way very soon.
The devices shown in the animated video are still mere concepts but still gave us an overview of how we'll be using devices and services.
The event kicked off at the Nokia House in Espoo, Finland, on November 11 with Nokia's Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer Mary McDowell's presentation.
The Way We Live Next was not a typical launch for new phones but a way of showing off the latest concepts and ideas from Nokia. The focus was how the company has shifted more into services along with devices with multiple operating system platforms and many services for the developing economies.
Let's look at some of the research projects, future applications and use scenarios that were demonstrated at the event.
Nokia Life Tools
Farmers in emerging markets get cheated by the middlemen due to lack of information. Nokia Life Tools is a new range of services aimed at addressing such information gap of consumers in emerging markets. The services offered includes agriculture information, education services, and with various entertainment services supplementing the offering. And this service uses SMS based technology rather than a WAP or GPRS.
Recent findings from researches show that only one billion people in the world have bank accounts, but four billion have mobile phone and can avail the banking services through their phone. With Nokia Money your mobile devices will become your preferred way to pay and to manage your money. Nokia believes that the mobile enabled financial services are a market opportunity with long term growth potential, especially in the emerging countries. The demo showed how simple and easy it is to use a mobile phone for remote and local payments. You can send money to your family and friends, pay your bills and top-up your prepaid account.
It takes days, even months to collect health data to be collected and analysed, specially in countries like Bangladesh. Nokia Health Radar is a mobile based near real time system to track the spread of diseases. The system allows health professionals to easily report disease related data -- this data is then analysed on the Health Radar server and later visualised on a mobile device used by the authorities.
Mobile JobHunt provides timely and accurate blue-collar job information from major cities in China. It supports the low-end Nokia phones. Other related information services such as employment news, skills training, employment legal rights and entertainments are also included.
Speedhero is the next generation of affordable sports radar in your pocket. With Speedhero you can accurately measure the top speed of a ball/puck (football, volleyball, tennis, ice hockey, floorball) and easily share the results in Speedhero.com or in Facebook.
Apart from these many other services and applications such as Nokia Point & Find, that enables people on the move to find and connect to relevant information and services by simply pointing their internet-enabled camera phone at real-life objects; Haptic Feedback, a very intuitive interaction and navigation in real-world without a need to stare a map; Nokia Beta Labs, which engages lead-users into co-creation of new Nokia applications and services by enabling direct dialogue between the lead-user community and Nokia R&D teams; Nokia Green Explorer, which is a sustainable lifestyle guide, helping people to be green wherever they are. The Web is the platform, where new dynamics of mobile application development and how to create lightweight applications quickly at low cost were demonstrated.
Other interesting demos on Qt that has a proven track-record of enabling easy creation of sophisticated cross-platform UI, Voice UI that enables the use of the device even without seeing or touching it, Nokia Braille Reader and Ground Guidance that can point the route to someone on foot, if there are no roads, were also seen.