in Applications, Innovation, Services

The ME problem

19112006199.jpgAnother intriguing argument that needs some innovative ideas to solve, it is what is called the ME (Mobile Essentials) problem. “Mobile essentials” refers to the objects most people consider essential and carry most of the time whilst out and about, and the first time I read something about was in a Jan Chipchase (and others) study.[Jan is a Nokia researcher that goes around the world to do his job, and this is his blog.]. The first task is to pinpoint all of your ME, the second one is about how to collect them every morning (hmmm? “every time” sounds better) and don’t leave them at home. Look, I’m not talking about how to find the objects you lose, I’m talking about keeping away from forget them (so I arrive at my car and the mobile phone is still at home, or my glasses are not on my nose but still waiting for me in my bathroom…)

In my opinion such a study needs to be tailored to countries, cities, and people from different social classes. Male and female for example don’t give the same value to things they have got, or they control. The study mentioned above is detailed enough, but let’s try to enumerate the items you consider ME. That’s my list: my mobile phone, my wallet, my glasses, and my home’s door keys. No strange things. Is that all? Living in the jungle, probably my list would be quite different (my club, or something similar, a rope or pieces of it [why?]), but even between friends you’ll find differences.

Ok, you’ve got your list, now it could be useful carry those items with you, so we need to link all of these objects, whatever they are, in a virtual (why not a strong metal chain?) sequence where every ring is strong linked to the others and all of them are linked to you. The virtual string we normally use is our brain, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, it depends on how many helps we give it for remember everything. If your ME are always the same, it looks it’s an easy task to control them, but this is not true. Think at the “post-it” example (all of you have experienced it…): if you place a post-it on your dashboard with a “fasten your seat belts” on it, you see it for about a couple of weeks, and than it disappears, melted in your everyday vision of your dashboard.Any hints? I suppose each of you have got his own method for such a problem, it could be simple, no much brain wasting, and it needs to work even if it’s too late, it’s raining, children are screaming and you’ve got a top level meeting that is waiting for you. (For sure, it’s really dreadful when you arrive at your car, shipping an umbrella, a two years old puppy and your bag, with another four or five years old grabbed at your coat, and you find that the car’s key is not in your pocket…).

I’ve built a sequence of funny images, that flow like a movie in my mind when it’s time to leave and I need to collect and verify my stuff: the phone put the glasses on, opens its mouth and eats keys, paying the bill using my wallet…Sometimes I change it, (some of them could not be written here), I can change the actors so it could be used for different MEs, but the question remains: no smart ways to solve this problems? An RFID gateway can substitute my door and it checks that all of my tagged objects are in my pocket, but we need a gateway, a smart architect, a mild wife and some UHF tags, for long distance reading. Not so easy, UHF antenna need about 2W power for a good 2 meters reading, it looks not so safe go back and forth under this field. RFID probably remains one of the smartest solutions, even if I’m looking for something easier like mum’s advices “hey, don’t lose your head!” that stops me on the doorway.

Why do I blog this?

New technologies to solve everyday problems, and the ME is only one of them…Let’s go deep in RFID field and proximities with the next posts!

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