Sunday, December 21, 2008

Technology is not there yet

With CES around the corner, I’ve once again been contemplating various ways that we can use technology to share what we see and learn at the event with others online. Once again we hope to do some live streaming and plenty of posting of images–well as much as bandwidth allows.

This year my approach is going to be a bit different because I know people will be using services like FriendFeed to watch many different poeple at once. So I’ll want to post to services that FriendFeed can pick up.

But this doesn’t get me to where I really want to be.

If I had my gadget-lovers wish come true, I’d be able to broadcast our position as we walk the showroom floor so people can better interact with us. As we walk past the HP booth for instance, someone could chime in and ask, “Would you check out so and so for me?” I think this would be a great way to enhance CES. There are so many things going on that I often miss things. Many a time I’ve “found” somthing not because I discovered it, but because someone told me to check it out.

I’ve been thinking through how I best can implement a positioning system like this and what’s so funny is that I keep coming back to an iPhone app. I’m envisioning a map of the conference (actually a series of maps) with coordinates that correspond to a lookup of booth names. Since there’s no automatic and easy way to update position indoors I’m thinking I could tap on the appropriate map where I am. It would be a manual process, but not too bad since the iPhone is quick to use. It could then broadcast the position to a web page where a chat client would be available for people to use.

Similarly automatically posting images to Flickr seems like it could be easily done with the iPhone.

What’s interesting is that I can’t think of a better device to do all this with than an iPhone. The iPhone is small, easy to use, connected, and fast to use. It sure makes me realize how far behind all the other devices I have are. For instance, initially I was thinking I could use a UMPC or a Netbook to do this. It seemed like a good match because of the larger display and the fact that I could also stream from a connected webcam (I can’t do this from the iPhone). But the problem is that these kinds of devices are too slow to use. They boot slowly, fall alseep at unfortunate times, don’t have great interactivity (though a keyboard would definitely be handy on a Netbook!), and the connectivity although comparable (I can plug in a USB EVDO device) is not as trivial as I’d like to use (such as using the DUN).

Now maybe a MID would be a better match. Alas I don’t have one. I’ll have to leave this for a CES 2010 experiment. Hmmm.