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TRENDS - Visor Ahead of Palm Pilot, Microsoft Brings in Top Talent to Pursue Old Goal, Lucent's Breakthrough, Wireless: the New Rage in Notebooks, Because of Technology the Nature of Meetings is Changing


VISOR AHEAD OF PALM PILO T -The Palm Pilot has a serious Competitor. Visor, has all of the same functions as a Palm, synchronizes with all of the same programs and can run all of the same software. But - it costs less (base cost is $149) and has a better synchronization system - and - a radical feature . . . the ability to act as a digital chameleon. It can transform itself into a cell phone, a pager, a camera, a music player, a game machine and more, using small plug-in hardware modules. Just buy the module and snap it into the socket and it morphs into a new device. Another feature is the docking system that connects using the new USB port. Visor also comes with Macintosh synchronization software at no extra cost. At $249 you can get it in several bright colors, with 8 megabytes of memory and a leather case. Some of the modules will be out the first of the year, with others following in the summer. (Wisconsin State Journal, 17 Sept 99)

MICROSOFT BRINGS IN TOP TALENT TO PURSUE OLD GOAL - Microsoft is working to build a tablet computer, marking renewed interest in a technology that was attempted and abandoned in the 1970s. Tablet computers would be the approximate size and weight of a writing tablet and would be wireless and portable, with no keyboard. The devices would be aimed at everyday computing tasks as well as Internet use. Although past efforts at developing tablet computers have been unsuccessful, experts believe such a product could succeed now because of the maturity of technologies such as display, processing, battery and storage. In addition, Microsoft has enlisted the help of two computer pioneers that worked on a similar project in 1971. Butler Lampson and Chuck Thacker were researchers at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s, and worked to develop a portable, wireless computer called the Dynabook. If the tablet computer project succeeds, Microsoft plans to form alliances with hardware companies to produce and sell the technology. (New York Times 30 Aug 99 - Edupage 30 Aug 99)

LUCENT'S BREAKTHROUGH - Using beams of light to transmit information directly through the air, a breakthrough optical networking system from Lucent Technologies will boost the capacity of local data networks and extend the reach of high-capacity fiber optic systems. The first release of WaveStar OpticAir system will be available in March 2000. The second release is due next summer. The system will enable transmitting data between high-rise office buildings, navel ships to share information while in port and establish temporary high-capacity links for special events. (Communication News Sept 99)

WIRELESS: THE NEW RAGE IN NOTEBOOKS - In an effort to take advantage of the growing number of mobile workers, notebook computer makers are beginning to implement wireless capabilities in their products. Dell Computer will make Aironet Wireless Communication's 4800 series wireless LAN cards available for its Latitude notebook PCs in September. The 802.11-compliant cards support wireless connections from up to 300 feet from a network access point. Pricing for the cards has not yet been determined, although Aironet prices them at roughly $800 per card. Dell plans to eventually expand the wireless LAN card offering to its entire line of portable products and desktop PCs. Apple is also getting into the wireless market with its iBook notebook. The product, which Apple has already begun to ship, employs a wireless LAN called AirPort. Although Airport will cost less than Dell's offering, the device supports shorter ranges of an estimated 140 feet. (ZDNN 09/16/99 - Edupage 17 Sept 99)

BECAUSE OF TECHNOLOGY THE NATURE OF MEETINGS IS CHANGING - Clearly, technology has the capability of dramatically changing the format and role of the traditional meeting:

- Meetings Focus On Process Rather than Information Transfer: Pure information downloads and one way presentations will not be the core of meetings. More of the meeting time will be focused on dialogue, interaction, decision making and hands-on work. Meetings will have a digital introduction, taken prior to coming to the meeting, that might actually build the agenda and even the final invitation list.

- Meetings Capture Content: More meetings will be used to capture content for people that might not be able to attend. While audio or video taping a meeting rarely yields usable results, a more indexed content capture, to allow others to drill down to a specific question and answer, will be a great benefit of meeting time. Meetings might also be used to create a Knowledge Capture Session, where the stories and knowledge sets of key workers can be captured.

- Meetings as Social Experiences: There is the need for us to have human face time as we go more digitally in our relationships, to make sure that when we gather people together for face to face meetings social experience be considered and built into the process.

- Meeting Technology in the Meeting: What are the types of technology that you would imagine would be in a meeting room in the year 2003. Send your suggestions to: (TechLearn Trends 15 Sept 99)


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