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27 February, 2004

Fluidtime

Reported by the Guardian, micro-coordination is an interesting concept, which might take mobile phone usage onto the next level of involvement in Western society.

Currently, if two people need to meet, it's usual to arrange a time and location in advance, but if both parties are carrying mobile phones, it'd be quite possible to agree on merely an approximate time and a rough location, refining the details 'on the fly' according to circumstances: if a train is delayed, the meeting time could be adjusted, or if the intended café is crowded, the venue could be shifted.
The concept, formulated by Michael Kieslinger of the Interaction Design Institute in Ivrea, Italy, extends much further, to many other aspects of daily life, exploiting the ability for real-time updates to be made about the minute-by-minute availability of resources.
An obvious example would be public transport: if one knows a train is going to be delayed, there's no need to go to the station just yet.
Similarly, a delivery driver could contact a customer an hour or so before arrival, rather than expecting the customer to wait in all day. Alternatively, GPS tracking might allow the driver's whereabouts and updated schedule to be posted on a website, giving the customer an idea of when to expect delivery.

"We have the technology." I just wonder whether this indicates a major shift in the way society functions; reading this entry five years from now, will it be surprising that we once operated in any other way?

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