Nomadix on Nomadic Computing

By Wi-Fi Planet Staff

June 13, 2003

The CTO and co-founder of this public-access and mobility company will be giving a keynote address at the Boston 802.11 Planet Conference, where he'll talk about the future of 'nomadic computing' and how it can't exist without wireless hotspots.

When it comes to roaming wirelessly, Joel Short knows his stuff. He's not only a co-founder of Nomadix , where he serves as the CTO and senior vice president, but he's also the vice-chair of the Wireless ISP Roaming (WISPr) committee with the Wi-Fi Alliance, where he wrote their best common practices document -- something he calls a "seminal work."

On the morning of Friday June 27, Short will be delivering a keynote at the 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo where he'll discuss how public access wireless is critical to nomadic computing.

"New capabilities, new devices are coming, and we need networks with the capabilities to work with them," Short told 802.11 Planet. "There's an evolution of the market."

He plans to touch on the ever changing business models for hotspot operators and WISPs, such as the coming of the Wi-Fi wholesalers such as Cometa, where they "own the footprint but not the users."

Short says as these wholesalers grow, a lot of companies will discover that don't really need a ubiquitous footprint -- it's about roaming.

"They need to offer Wi-Fi as an augmented service to core services," he says. "I think the carriers are going to be the big winners in public access, as they offer it as ancillary to their core service."

None of them will see success without cooperation, however. "For the WISPs, they have to roam to compete against bigger players," says Short. "T-Mobile has a large footprint, so they don't have to roam right away... their core asset is not Wi-Fi, its subscribers. They want to capture them, so they allow roaming onto other networks (like British Telecom) but not others on to their network." Short sees the industry working out like when GSM developed, that over time the carriers will have to compete to get a core customer to sell additional services to. But Wi-Fi is different because, while it may be national, it can't yet cover entire cities.

Shorts address will also hit on what he considers some of the 'missing components' are in Wi-Fi coverage, things he says are holding back the industry, such as user transparency and security. He feels putting the intelligence back at the network edge will help with the roll out of new technologies.

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