TECH TALK: Points To Ponder: Points To Ponder

David Tennenhouse, vice president and director, Intel Research on a future with Personal Agents, in an interview with

You’ll see the PC or the home personal server, whatever you want to call it, evolve to take on a bigger and bigger role. There will be millions of agents per person. Most of the time most of those agents will be dormant, waiting for something to happen. But many of them will be active on your behalf, reaching out to the network, etc. You are going to have an immense number of background activities going on.

We’re already seeing people using agents today, and they tend to not realize it. They essentially get on eBay and they will leave an auction bid. Is that an agent? Well, it depends on your definition. In my mind, an agent is something sitting there on your behalf with a trigger that has been empowered to do something subject to rules that are under your control or supervision.

The real limiting thing right now is essentially that they require too much of your attention. Getting to that next step will be getting them to negotiate with each other.

An article from Accenture on “UbiCorp: A Vision of the Ubiquitous Corporation:

Imagine a world in which meeting rooms scheduled their own cleaning,
furniture companies gave away free chairs, and dolls ordered clothing
and accessories for themselves. Alice in Wonderland? No, these are
just some of the effects of a coming technology revolution, driven by
the ubiquitous presence of microprocessors in homes, offices, vehicles, appliances — and yes,
even dolls. And remarkable as it is that virtually every object in
our daily lives may soon have a mind of its own, the implications and
opportunities for business are even more stunning.

Within ten years, objects embedded with tiny computers will manage most daily tasks, and corporations will deliver goods and services business-to-object, rather than business-to-business or business-to-consumer. For example, the maintenance of a company’s meeting rooms might be set up on an open contract, with one condition — the rooms themselves are the supervisor. Each room monitors and senses all maintenance activity and even directs robots to perform repetitive tasks, like emptying waste baskets. Suppose a waste basket has been removed? The room senses the missing item, and orders a replacement. Similarly, if maintenance personnel are repeatedly late, or fail to show, the room would automatically reduce their compensation. Rather than interacting with a human “facilities supervisor,” the maintenance organization would deliver services directly to the object rooms.

What does all this mean for business? The overall effect will be the emergence of the Ubiquitous Corporation – “UbiCorp” for short – which will deliver goods and services to an ever-growing number of objects, all around us. Business-to-object data will flow both ways through wireless and Internet connections, and all scheduling, record-keeping, invoicing and payments will be fully automated. The need for costly, time-consuming person-to-person transactions will be minimized, freeing workers for more productive decision-making activities, which are in turn empowered through superior insight into real-time business activity.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.