Tuesday 23 November 15:00-16-30 room C1


Recent technological advances have paved the way for the emergence of a host of new consumer devices, which look set to oust the PC from its status as the universal computing device.

The proliferation of affordable, powerful and compact microprocessors has enabled our computing needs to be embedded in devices which can be handheld, have more specific functionality than the PC and above all, offer ease of use. These devices also offer connectivity, thanks to the ubiquity of high speed networks. It is forecast that within the coming years there will be billions of ‘networked information devices’ - taking the form of smart-cellular phones, Internet screen phones, palmtop computers, network computers, to mention but a few - answering our day-to-day computing and connectivity needs.

The story does not end here. With the advent of software interconnection technologies, some companies are looking to a future where embedded computing power will not only mask the complexity of the network and networked devices, but will allow devices to interact and share resources via the network. According to this vision, a device can adapt or enhance its functionality by hooking up with services – applications, storage, compute-power - on the network.

In one scenario, a mobile phone can become a ‘tape-recorder’ by enlisting the services of a disc on the network. In another, information or data residing on remote devices can be accessed and made available via the network to Web clients for e-business.

From the perspectives of companies with diverse but key technology offerings in this arena, The Ambient Network session aims to review technological, economic and marketing issues to be considered before the vision of pervasive computing power and ubiquitous network connectivity can be realised. It will examine the implications for the way devices and systems are conceived and constructed (what components can be ‘put out’ on the network?), for the evolution of the greater networking infrastructure (when can we expect ‘consumerised’ network access and services?), and for business, consumers and citizens in general.


Opening: George Metakides, Director, Essential Information Society Technologies and Infrastructures, European Commission, Information Society Directorate General

Moderator: John Browning (US), Wired Magazine

  • Hellmuth Broda (CH), Sun Microsystems, Chief Technologist Europe: Enabling Pervasive Services
  • Steen Thygesen (UK), Symbian, Vice President, Business Development
  • Alain Bravo (F), Alcatel, Technical Director, Alcatel Group: Ubiquitous Networking Intelligence
  • Bernt Ericson (S), Ericsson, Vice President, Research and Innovations: From Embedded Computers to Intuitive Services
  • Mark Bregman (USA), IBM, General Manager, Pervasive Computing: Pervasive Computing: When Computers Disappear


Colette Maloney (Colette.Maloney@cec.eu.int)

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