Ubiquity in Japanese Gadgets

WSJ writes about how the Japanese high-tech industry is focusing on creating gadgets that work everywhere:

Japan — and particularly its high-tech industry — is dying to become ubiquitous. Sony is working toward the “ubiquitous value network,” Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. the “ubiquitous network society.” No matter that until a few years ago, practically nobody here had heard the term and even fewer could pronounce it. Now, the word “ubiquitous” is, well, ubiquitous, with the nation’s biggest economic daily estimating that it appears in the paper’s pages once every other day.

In its narrowest sense, “ubiquitous” refers to a network of gadgets — the kind for which Japanese companies are famous — that pass around information. That is why Japanese cellphone giant NTT DoCoMo Inc. made “ubiquity” one of its three guiding principles.

But for those in the know, “ubiquitous” describes a grandiose vision where everything — from potatoes to people to the garbage — is linked to a big network that is accessible any place, anytime. It is all made possible, of course, by cutting-edge technology.

“Let’s put wireless devices on everything that moves,” DoCoMo President Keiji Tachikawa says. “Not just people — it can be pets or cars or personal computers.”

India too has the opportunity to leapfrong into the era of ubiquitous networks – we should free up our spectrum and make urban and rural India a testbed for these new technologies. This is one way to ensure that we build applications based on the always-on world of tomorrow, and not be hampered by the limitations of the past.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.