Over the next couple of years, our mobile phones are going to be transformed into personal positioning devices using GPS systems embedded inside them. Apart from letting you know your location to the nearest few metres and being able to locate the nearest bar, train station or cafe, these devices will combine with the wireless internet to open up a wealth of information.
The virtual world will for the first time be able to connect to the real world with the use of this co-ordinate system. For a simple example, you may be standing outside a bar or restaurant that you have never visited. Referring to your phone, you will be able to see what people have posted on this bar. It will be almost as if they have left a note in the virtual world outside the the bar. This is the most simple application and a BBC article talks about this.
However talking about a few more years into the future, there is a burgeoning industry based on this development. Headmap
has two free pdf books that you can print out. They talk about communities of people actually changing the landscape that we see around us – in the way that people apply ‘skins’ to made their webbrowser or music player look different. You would be able to walk around (wearing your futuristic headset) and look at the world in a completely different way. Sounds a bit far fetched but you can see how it will allow communities to interact again.
Just think about the last time you spoke to the household who lives two doors away. Or how many people do you know who live in the next street. We have no opportunity to interact with these people, even if they may be able to provide advice, skills and knowledge.
In the nineties the internet was blamed for turning people into global hermits like someone in London turning for advice to someone in Melbourne. This decade will be the turn of the local internet, using the resources which globalised the world to solve local issues. [For instance www.upmystreet.com now lets you type your postcode in and chat about questions relevant to the community. Like planning permissions, problems in the local park. Stuff that you would have trouble addressing unless you knocked on everyone’s door – and people don’t like their privacy being abused]