How Seamless Mobility will shape the the Digial Swarm: Blurring Boundaries

As devices get smarter and users can access resources and applications from anywhere, the domains of work, home, and personal life will eventually become blurred. Will it really matter when, where, and how you watch your ethics training video, as long as you do it? Will anyone be willing to carry more than one device hat supports the full spectrum of enterprise and entertainment applications?

We are already seeing strong signals today as users are insisting on bringing their consumer-based applications and devices into their work environment. Although CIOs have initially resisted this push due to concerns about security and support costs, this shift seems inevitable. The major online brands, network operators, device manufacturers, and even retailers are all gradually pushing into the enterprise with crossover offerings.

As wireless devices become theremote control for our lives, it will be much harder for users to separate ork and life applications. This places an enormous responsibility on the enterprise to “go with the flow.” It must come up with ways to manage this radically changing ecosystem of individually selected and controlled devices. It may require loose guidelines for proper behavior.

In some cases, users can actually create their own wireless networks beyond the home. Mesh networks (such as Fon in the U.K.) use the power of peer-to-peer communications to allow users to connect directly with each other and also act as “nodes” in the network. In many ways, the users are the network.

This is much like peer-topeer networks for file sharing, such as Kazaa and eDonkey, where users operate without a central management authority based on open standards. This lack of central infrastructure makes the economics of mesh networks very attractive. The bulk of the costs are the devices, not the infrastructure, as with cellular networks.

A key question then is; What will be the balance of control between employers and employees over wireless devices and applications as the home and work environments converge? And who will bear the cost?

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