Notes from a Mobile Encounter with James Whitley of GoLifeMobile

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Before Carolynn Duncan’s Lunch with a VC Presentation, we all met at Pho Green Papaya. I sat across from David Kominsky, cofounder of Cubespace and Rick Turozy of Silicon Florist. On my right was James Whitley, CEO of GoLife Mobile About halfway through lunch, the conversation turned to the future of the mobile phone.

Advanced Mobile Controls

“I want mobile to interact with the world around me”, James Whitley said.

“The mobile experience is one that is very personal. The Mobile experience is not about where you’re going; it’s about where you’re headed. It’s more of a contextual search.”

It’s become more of a sociological interaction than a removed, technological one.

“For instance, online I’m a hub in areas that I know”.

He gestured to Turoczy, “And you’re a hub that connects hubs”.

“And when I walk into a bar,” he continued, “the bar should know that I drink one type of drink more often than another type, and should show that drink higher or larger on the screen”.

Spatial Limitations

“There are real estate limitations on the screen of a mobile phone. And thus it all comes down to efficient data management”.

Contextual Search

I am not sure who brought it up first, but there was mention of a search where as you go by, it keeps grabbing the RFID’s of local objects.

Intelligent Gaming Environments

I pointed out that an intelligent gaming engine loads the environment as it goes. Once an object is loaded, a character can interact with it.

The World is Your Operating System

He agreed, adding that once this happens, “the mobile device becomes a remote control for the world around you”. I realized that this made the local world a sort of operating system, with the cell phone being the control point involved in the resolution of processes.

“Standard computer applications seek to eliminate questions of “ok” or “cancel”, because they are annoying and inhibit the flow of interaction and information. However, mobile computing environments need just that. One must be prompted to interact or dismiss a real-life object with the cell phone.”

“Everything these days has data with relevance to what you’re doing here right now.” It is about connecting that data with your cell phone, and allowing the flow of real life to be augmented and streamlined by the mobile device. “The mobile device then becomes your tricorder, your universal device for interacting with your environment.”

Smarter Machines

“We’re used to devices being used for certain purposes, but not understanding our purposes” Rick Turcozy added, “We’re used to them being ‘dumb’, and not interactive.” There’s the washing machine, the car, the refrigerator. We apply settings to these devices, but they do not detect whether our cheese has expired (an RFID tag on the cheese could communicate with the fridge and an mobile phone, alerting the user of what has expired), and a washing machine could detect the RFID tags on clothes and automatically choose the appropriate, non-destructive washing process for that object.

Moving Towards a Micronism

We discussed that differences between the heavy machines of the industrial revolution and the light, almost liquid machines today. The iPhone, for instance, has liquid buttons. A machine during the industrial revolution had heavy cogs and gears. Sociologist Emelie Durkheim wrote that as societies become more advanced they evolve from a mechanical, non-organic state of a more fluid, organic one. Mobile devices must be designed to allow for mutations and flows of multiple data systems.

“Now we’re moving toward a Micronism — an interaction between entities”, James Whitley said. The whole system is like the cells of an actual circulatory system.