Take That Cap Off Our Heads
While it's been threatened and hinted at for years, Comcast officially announced that it will limit, or cap, the amount of bandwidth subscribers can use each month, with offenders having their Internet services suspended for up to a year. Comcast is positioning this as only affecting a small number of customers, but if the future of how we use broadband is in streaming video (how many of you are creating podcasts to share critical information with employees who can't attend your conferences?), then any cap could ultimately hinder the promise of what these technologies can deliver.
Free the Airwaves
This fall, the Federal Communications Commission will make a decision that will have a critical impact on how we all use technology. It must decide how the white spaces, or areas in the TV frequency that will become available when TV broadcasters are mandated to move to a digital format in February 2009, will be allocated. Major industry leaders, including Microsoft and Google, are helping to spearhead a campaign to promote fair allocation of the airwaves. (They will benefit from fair usage, but in this case, their interest is ours.) The promise is to use these white spaces to provide broadband service into rural areas, or other areas that are not served (including using some of the space to help underwrite service to those who can't afford it.) Learn more at www.freetheairwaves.com.
Android Isn't Just the Robot Who Said “Danger, Will Robinson”
Actually, it's Google's approach to creating mobile phone software that can be used by any device manufacturer. This standardization would allow our mobile phones to fulfill their promise of providing seamless integration with other services and devices, as well as the ability for people to customize and improve upon it. Ultimately (and in the not-too-distant future), this will have an enormous impact on how we manage and market our events. Listen for the upcoming release of T-Mobile's G1 phone, the first one using the Android platform … and then stay tuned for how our industry adapts it.
Look Ma, No Phone …
This summer, the HITEC 2008 conference (which focuses on technology in our industry) showcased Guestroom 2010 (now called Guestroom 20X), a vision into what the future of a hotel guest room might look like. After all of the cool tools and gadgets, what was (interestingly) not in the future guest room was a phone. Any phone. Think about it: A prominent industry organization, who understands what we do, feels that an in-room telephone is no longer necessary? (There is a mobile charging device in the room.) Check out the HITEC Web site (http://www.hftp.org/Pages/Events/HITEC/Guestroom2010.aspx) and download the 20X guide.
All That Glitters Is not Chrome
Or is it? As I'm writing this, Google is announcing the release of Chrome, their open-source browser. If you're a user of Mozilla's Firefox browser, the main competitor for Internet Explorer, or of Wikipedia (one of my favorite Web sites), you probably are aware that open source applications are at the heart of the new generation of Web services. Chrome promises to reinvent your browsing experience, offering a home page that shows thumbnail views of your favorite Web sites. How might this impact our industry? Other than the notion that almost anything Google does has a huge impact, this may revolutionize our online experience. And that will force us to continually reconsider how and what we offer from our Web sites to our clients and constituents.
That's all for now.
James Spellos, CMP, is founder and president of Meeting U., a New York-based company that provides training and consulting to meeting professionals. He also is a frequent speaker on technology at meeting industry conferences. Contact him at email@example.com.