The "Blackberry Crash" today illustrated both a business and cultural dependency on telecommunications through a mobile device. In the not too distant future, we can expect a similar situation to occur with in increasing dependency on location-based information and devices. Blackberry’s are not location-enabled with the exception for the Blackberry 8800. The "8800" according to Kanwar Chadha, our keynote speaker at Location Intelligence 2007, is the fastest selling Blackberry ever. Chadha is the founder of SiRF Technology, the largest manufacturer of GPS chips. His observation is that one of the reasons that the "8800" is such a hot seller is because it is location-enabled with a SiRFstar III-LT chipset. What if we assume that location-based information is a more widely available than it is today and that more some of the more important things in our life are dependent on knowing its location? Think about the possible implications of this kind of dependency.
1. You want your daily dose of traffic…you won’t leave the office without the knowledge that your daily routine will not be interrupted by some traffic fiasco. That may be even true now in some metro areas.
2. The link to your child’s location device goes "dead" and you panic because you don’t know the exact location of your 10 year-old.
3. You missplace your purse, you need to "ping" it’s location, and the network goes down. You frantically start to "manually" ripping apart your home looking for the lost purse so you don’t have to start calling credit card companies to cancel them.
Chadha said that "location is the killer app." He called the competition for location-enabled devices "location itself" meaning that if you know your location, why would you buy a mobile device with a GPS chip.
Consider for a moment that everything in the future is "location aware"...your watch, your wallet, your car, your grandmother, your shoes (you think I’m kidding, right?), regardless of the location-determination device that could be used like GPS, Wi-Fi, or RFID. Consider how many times each day your check the Weather Channel or Weather.com to see the location of a passing weather front, especially if you live in a location that is frequented by "dynamic" weather like tornado alley or the Gulf Coast. We are very much dependent now on location and the more that certain devices, household goods, and people we care about broadcast their location, the more dependent we become on that knowledge…and if a satellite network that enables this dependency becomes disabled, it will make the Blackberry debacle today seem like a "drizzle" compared to the maelstrom that will develop should our dependency on location-based services become the norm.