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On Volcanoes, Telecommunications and Travel Substitution

Over the last week, as the sudden eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano disrupted air travel throughout Europe, many people and organizations fell back to the dense and multi-functional communications web that has grown up between cities and continents over the last 20 years. Cisco and other companies with a big commercial stake in a rapid expansion of videoconferencing heralded the arrival of a new paradigm in business "travel".

A Researcher's Perspective on the TH Mobility Project

Just Released! An Open Mobile Ecosystem: Digital Stories and Tech Foundations Memo

I am so pleased to announce the publication of our latest research: An Open Mobile Ecosystem [SR-1206], which includes a visual exploration of our research in digital stories as well as a technology memo.

Our technology foundation piece and digital stories can be found here.

Telepresence as a Driver for Presence

Last year, I gave a talk at a major design expo on the future of presence. I argued that we need to be keenly aware of the historical relationship between new communications technologies and long-distance travel. Right now, the coincidence of high-definition, immersive videoconferencing and high fuel prices has many people excited about the potential for substituting telepresence for travel.

Suburbia During the Crash

Maybe it's the rain in New York today, but I'm gloomy. So while China collapses, it looks like the mobility-land use solution embodied in many of America's newer suburbs seems to be unravelling due to high oil prices.

The IHT reports:

Tracking Mobile Swarms to Change the Way We See Cities

Last fall, I reported on Alberto Barabasi's research using mobile phones to track large-scale human mobility patterns after seeing him give a paper on the topic in Budapest. That paper has now been published in Nature, and there is a public summary in Nature News.

Abundant mobility and hacks

I am in India conducting research, and as always amazed by the variety of cell phones and hacks that are available. One of our research partners brought my attention to the fact that many people in India have unlocked iphones, and have jail-breaked their iphones to install 'non-Apple" applications. A popular application is twinkle -- a twitter client that includes location based service. Twinkle is very popular with iphone users in India, who use it to twitter. It does not require sending a SMS for twittering. Iphone has not been officially launched in India as yet. It is expected to arrive later this year. But that is certainly not a deterrent for tech savvy Indians who aspire to own the iphones.

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