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back to article How feasible is the personal communications hub?

How would we like to use mobile technologies in the future? The answer seems to be that we'd prefer to consolidate all of our messaging and calls to a single device. A recent Reg survey considered the importance of having such a comms hub, and more than 60 per cent of you responded that it would be highly desirable or desirable …

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Home is . . .

Home is what one builds. For years Ive had a second home in cyberspace, it was a desktop orginally but I relocated it to a decent size laptop later on and it is like my physical home, made to feel comfy. It has three ways of communication for now, im, voip and email and these count for 95% of all comms I have. Smart phones and pda's have been replaced by a simpler, more inexpensive cellphone with browsing capacity so I can access my cyberhome when I need. As with most peoples homes, improvements are made as needed and / or experimented with.

I wonder if the gigantic emphasis on 24/7/365 availability is really necessary? Are we experimenting with new ways of connecting like in a hive minded way or is this thirst for availability a way to cope with the fact we are individuals in a very big world seeking out (or hoping for) company of some sort? If cyberspace is indeed a new world why dont we make homes there like we do in the physical world?

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Are we already here?

I sort of feel i already operate an effective communications hub and it sits in my pocket as a fairly small phone enabled PDA. It of course does many things but in terms of its use as comms hub it functions to handle all my calls from multiple lines, all my email, messaging, web site based comms etc. I can also utilise other functions such as video calling, social networking and i can do it with a variety of connections including all the variants of wireless (except UWB) tethered etc. and i am trying to give it a go as IP phone when connected by any of the above means. Of course some are better than others but it all works and device / platform evoution just increases reliability / usability with each generation although its already advanced enough for me to have selected it as my chosen hubb. Is also not expensive as it was free from a mobile operator with my contract works globally although the charges need lowering even with workarounds although its already a single billing system due to the fact that its from one mobile operater. I am sure some will consider that as it does not sit in between my broadband thats its not a true comms hub and this is a fair point from one perspective. However i think at least in my case that this is looking at it all backwards as my broadband accesses communication data normally filtered through my PDA and linked services or services not tied purely to my broadband link or home PC and my data needs for daily use dont exceed that which can be provided by wireless or even 3g (yet) so to suggest that it terms of communications my broadband is not the enabling technology just another means of accessing it.

However it was not until i started using a PDA rather than a smart phone that it truly enabled me to rely on it as comms hub replacing my laptop for virtually everything. My laptop hardly gets out of its bag these days and is basically a compact desktop. Of course for others this wouldn't be feasible as we all have different needs but the point is that it meets all my needs, centralises everything without limiting my options.

My only complaint is that it needs a OLED screen for battery life and roll out flexible OLED screen for when i need bigger screen footage buts that a device issue not a Comms hub concept issue.

However i suppose it depends on how you define a Comms hub and i imagine that this depends on the number of people who you ask as they will al have a different, perceptions and needs according to their circumstances although i imagine broad categories exist.

Regarding the platform well this again depends on need, as non commercial consumer my comms are considerably better integrated and more powerful than anything my employer provides which is a plethora of competing, conflicting and non integrated differing technologies.

I would therefore submit that for many of us, mobile based PDA comms hubs already exist and it is just our willingness to utilise them as such being a limiting factor in a lot of circumstances. There will never be one size fits all of course but for for me the convenience of capable, cheap, reliable, flexible compact PDA makes the Comms hub idea a reality for my needs at least. I anticipate as mobile broadband develops this will only increase the PDA's central role.

For me the future is ever more powerful PDA's, if i went back to smart phones & laptop i would practically have to regress to a non centralised system and abandon my "comms hub" working practice.

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Pirate

Mother Ship and Tender Craft

As someone whose Office/Whole Universe is compressed for Convenience of Global Use into an easily Internet connected laptop, it appears to me that the modern present day Smartphones offer pretty much about everything for ad hoc communications use and point of contact positioning/search. After all, as good as their ergonomics are and as rich as their features may be, their small size is surely always going to confine them to being a "secondary" unit for on the hoof contact/reporting, even no matter how vital/indispensable they become ..... because their size is their main convenience but eventually everyone/everything will return to base for Charge/Debrief.

What may happen of course is that certain Clients will probably align with certain Handset and Services Providers to allow them First hand/Insider knowledge streams which can be developed into their business and money flow model should certain Services be tied to certain Provision/Providers.

But this is a quite standard practise in all Systems BetaTesting Innovation to Market and as Communication grows to becomes Information Sharing and New Information Sharing becomes new Real Intelligence, does a dedicated although not necessarily encrypted or secret Route to Home Research and Development become Sensible to Offer Advantage to Innovative and Initiating Partners.

And yes, that might/will be as simple as a close circle of friends probably talking their own personal code/language...... AI Sort of Pillow Talk hitting all the Right G Spots.

The Future of Secrecy and Encryption is surely no Future at all as it becomes increasingly obvious that it is preventing Progress for the No Better a Reason than it denies Advantage rather than allowing it.

And Sharing Everything and Anything New will always allow for it to be developed in many tangents by those who are particularly interested in particular and peculiar tangents. Gratitude will always pay handsomely when a tangent is provided and mentored.... for if it is new, who leads it and is therefore in ITs Stop/Go Control?

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Are we already here?

I sort of feel i already operate an effective communications hub and it sits in my pocket as a fairly small phone enabled PDA. It of course does many things but in terms of its use as comms hub it functions to handle all my calls from multiple lines, all my email, messaging, web site based comms etc. I can also utilise other functions such as video calling, social networking and i can do it with a variety of connections including all the variants of wireless (except UWB) tethered etc. and i am trying to give it a go as IP phone when connected by any of the above means. Of course some are better than others but it all works and device / platform evoution just increases reliability / usability with each generation although its already advanced enough for me to have selected it as my chosen hubb. Is also not expensive as it was free from a mobile operator with my contract works globally although the charges need lowering even with workarounds although its already a single billing system due to the fact that its from one mobile operater. I am sure some will consider that as it does not sit in between my broadband thats its not a true comms hub and this is a fair point from one perspective. However i think at least in my case that this is looking at it all backwards as my broadband accesses communication data normally filtered through my PDA and linked services or services not tied purely to my broadband link or home PC and my data needs for daily use dont exceed that which can be provided by wireless or even 3g (yet) so to suggest that it terms of communications my broadband is not the enabling technology just another means of accessing it.

However it was not until i started using a PDA rather than a smart phone that it truly enabled me to rely on it as comms hub replacing my laptop for virtually everything. My laptop hardly gets out of its bag these days and is basically a compact desktop. Of course for others this wouldn't be feasible as we all have different needs but the point is that it meets all my needs, centralises everything without limiting my options.

My only complaint is that it needs a OLED screen for battery life and roll out flexible OLED screen for when i need bigger screen footage buts that a device issue not a Comms hub concept issue.

However i suppose it depends on how you define a Comms hub and i imagine that this depends on the number of people who you ask as they will al have a different, perceptions and needs according to their circumstances although i imagine broad categories exist.

Regarding the platform well this again depends on need, as non commercial consumer my comms are considerably better integrated and more powerful than anything my employer provides which is a plethora of competing, conflicting and non integrated differing technologies.

I would therefore submit that for many of us, mobile based PDA comms hubs already exist and it is just our willingness to utilise them as such being a limiting factor in a lot of circumstances. There will never be one size fits all of course but for for me the convenience of capable, cheap, reliable, flexible compact PDA makes the Comms hub idea a reality for my needs at least. I anticipate as mobile broadband develops this will only increase the PDA's central role.

For me the future is ever more powerful PDA's, if i went back to smart phones & laptop i would practically have to regress to a non centralised system and abandon my "comms hub" working practice.

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Boffin

Comm Hub

Hm... that would be a cellphone+PDA me thinks. Though that might also mean a PDA with GPRS accessibility, I don't count on WiFi being everywhere.

I'd use my PDA for organization/email and most 'computerish' stuff while off-hook. My cell phone would be for calls, SMS, and mobile banking quickies. Oh, of course ... I think that cellphones should only use WAP sites. In such a small screen, trying to view stuff made for 1024x768 17" displays is downright stoopid and expensive!

Basically I use my cellphone for some online banking transactions or checking balance when on the move, and that is the extent of my internet experience on the mobile. Oh, and I don't have a PDA, so my personal comm hub is incomplete :(

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Boffin

I already had one of those...

basically you start with a good basic telephone. It has a small screen, is Bluetooth capable, has good battery life, really good transmitter/receiver/antenna setup. GPRS or 3G capable.

You get a bluetooth keyboard. Cingular once made a nifty little folding device that had a keyboard and a big screen. it was supposed to be Bluetooth, and would connect to your phone when you wanted/needed a full keyboard and screen. They changed their mind and produced it (the Ogo) with it's own phone built in instead.

Now if you take screen and keyboard sets that can be bluetoothed to the central phone transmitter, you can add that sort of capability when you want it. Bluetooth your headset for audio/mp3/voice calls. These can be different models depending on user preference.

Hell, make a bluetooth printer or something if you want. Mix and match, leave stuff at home if you're not going to need it, or stuff peripherals in your pocket. Change core phones if your memory or service plan change, keep the add ons. Get bigger screens or keyboards (what was that other device someone in Canada was selling?) if portability is less of a concern. Stereo or mono headset if you're just after communication, or full on entertainment. Upgrade to video glasses or something later.

Or, just build the *phone and try to cram everything into a compromised, uniform package, just like everyone else, and claim some sort of individuality because you've got a different wallpaper or glowy phone charm hanging off it.

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Home is WHERE the hub is.

Not "were", which would be used as in, "The editors were drinking too much on their long pub lunch." You want "where", as in "Where are the editors? Getting drunk at a long pub lunch?"

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Anonymous Coward

Title

Ultimately, this device, what it can do, whether it is based on free software, how easy it is to use and what it costs to use it will be the ONLY things that matter.

Gene Mosher

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Joke

Home is...

/home

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Alternate universe?

You guys obviously live in some alternate universe where telcom is reliable, at least to the extent POTS was in the USA before Judge Green.

I get Internet, landline, and mobile from three different companies, and despite the pain of three largish bills a month can't really consider a "triple play" because each of these has a very spotty connectivity record and abysmal customer service. All my eggs in one rotten basket? No thanks.

Mike

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Alternate universe?

No, I think the Yanks live in an alternate universe.

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