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Wireless Wonderland

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I am truly amazed by the mobile technology that has been unveiled at this year's CTIA Wireless show in Orlando, Florida. It seems only fitting that in such close proximity to the Magic Kingdom, the innovation on display in the convention center has made a trip around the exhibit floor a futuristic and magical experience.

Check out some of our team's favorite emerging wireless technologies and apps:

  • Software technology that recognizes faces and automatically tags your friends.
  • A wireless fertility monitor that indicates optimal fertility based on body temperature.
  • An app that promotes safe driving by automatically silencing cell phones when the car is moving over 10mph.
  • Remote physiological monitoring that measures key vitals and sends to the cloud for medical monitoring via cell phone or computer.

Augmented reality is the new reality for next generation mobility. This is just taking-off, and it is an exciting moment for the future of mobile user experience and interface. Ericsson's "Connected Tree" -- a live, mobilized orange tree which is now turbo-charged with augmented reality pop-ups viewable on your handset.

Speaking of taking off, Key Ring Reward Cards by Mobestream Media won first place at the CTIA Emerging Technology Awards in the Mobile Applications -- Mobile Commerce category. Key Ring is a handy app that consolidates consumers' plastic loyalty cards onto their smartphone to make saving more convenient and it helps retailers communicate real-time with their customers.

Bill2Mobile received second place honors in the Mobile Applications -- Mobile Commerce category. Its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch app allows customers to opt for paperless bills and makes it more convenient to monitor statements and accounts with a mobile device.

In addition to perusing a seemingly endless exhibit floor hosting infinite apps, smartphones, tablets, and other handheld devices -- one very hot topic weighing on everyone's mind is spectrum.

In the conference keynote, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski explained:

"This explosion in demand for mobile services places unsustainable demands on our invisible infrastructure -- spectrum. Spectrum is the oxygen that allows all of these mobile innovations to breathe. Whether or not most Americans know the physics of spectrum, they know what it feels like to have a dropped call or a slow connection or cranky Wi Fi...

It is essential that we move quickly -- not because of the benefits of action, but because of the costs of inaction. If we do nothing in the face of the looming spectrum crunch, many consumers will face higher prices -- as the market is forced to respond to supply and demand -- and frustrating service -- connections that drop, apps that run unreliably or too slowly."

As we continue to take huge leaps forward into the exciting and futuristic realm of mobile, the message is clear: we must have more spectrum in order to keep pace with innovation and consumer demand for the products we just can't live without.

Jonathan Spalter, chairman of Mobile Future, has been founding CEO of leading technology, media, and research companies, including Public Insight, Snocap, and Atmedica Worldwide. He served as an advisor to and spokesperson for Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton administration.

Mobile Future is a 501(c)(4) coalition comprised of and supported by technology businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals dedicated to advocating for an environment in which innovations in wireless technology and services are enabled and encouraged. For a full list of members and sponsors and to learn more about the coalition, go to www.mobilefuture.org.

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