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TECH TALK: Mobile Internet: Imagine

August 18th, 2006 · No Comments

Let us peer into the future and imagine what a world with publish-subscribe capabilities via the mobile would look like.

There is a bookstore near my house. To know their specials, I have to actually go to the store or pass by it so I can look at their banners. I am keen on knowing when they have business or childrens book sales, and about new arrivals. At the same time, I do not want to give them my email ID or mobile number because I am worried that they will spam me. What I would like to be able to do is to subscribe to one or more RSS feeds from the bookstore. Subscribing puts me in control.

The bookstore would simply publish the incremental information periodically and subscribers like me would receive it on email, SMS or via an RSS aggregator on the PC or mobile. If the bookstore starts spamming me (indirectly) by publishing items that are not relevant, I can simply unsubscribe. I also want some static information from the bookstore like store location, timings and phone number. This information should be easily publishable by the store without the need for an intermediary.

Let us take another example. I am travelling and stuck in a traffic jam. I should be able to share the location and real-time information about the traffic from where I am. People who would have set up subscriptions to receive traffic alerts would immediately know about it. That all of us have mobiles makes it easier to publish and receive the information.

Here is a third example. My sisters children go to a Montessori school near our house. On rainy days, the school may decide to shut down. This is a decision made about an hour or so before the school starts. The school today tries to call up parents and tells them not to send their kids to the school. There has to be a better way to do this. Imagine if the school can publish the fact that the school is closed for the day, and parents can receive this info in a few minutes of the school publishing it.

There are many other examples from day-to-day life that we can think of. The key underlying point is that the combination of publish-subscribe and the mobile web can create a world where the latency between events happening and people knowing about them can be reduced. India can be at the forefront of the creation of this world.

Next Week: Mobile Internet (continued)


TECH TALK Mobile Internet+T

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