Ubiquitous Computing in Our World

Ubiquitous computing is where computers are everywhere and integrated into our daily lives. Watch this video for a great example:

Having computers everywhere can be a scary thought. It brings to mind George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. However, the younger generation does not necessarily see ubiquitous computing the same way that my generation does. It is this openness to computers and technology that will create an entirely new world of transferring knowledge, whether it is user manuals or sales training.

I first saw the A Day Made of Glass video in a presentation, and we discussed the shopping scene. The woman walked into the store and she was shown what clothes would look like on her. In order for the computers to show her this, the database would need personal information about the woman, such as her tastes in clothing styles, her size, and color preferences.

The presenter pointed out that younger generations are not as hesitant to supply personal information as long as they feel they are receiving something in return. Now think of the information that Amazon has on you based on your shopping purchases. We supply personal information all the time.

Companies are already using this information and some of the technologies you saw in the video. Large buildings install equipment that pinpoint your location using your cell phone. They use this information to provide you with directions to get to places you request. They can also use this to send you push notifications about what is on sale in the area you are going or what the office hours are for the doctor you are visiting.

How can we as communicators, instructional designers, and technical writers use new technology to transfer knowledge?

  • What if a technician can point his tablet at a machine and get immediate information about the machine, including a link to open the repair manual?
  • What if a new employee receives a push notification on her phone when she walks in the building that welcomes her and provides her with a map to the training room?
  • What if co-workers can share documents between computers simply by flicking a finger across the tablet screen like the doctors in the video shared information?

I would love to hear some of the ways you think we can use new technology in training, documentation, and communication – whether the technology exists now or not.