Calm Technology discussed at IA Retreat

The folks at the IA Retreat got jiggy with ubiquitous technology. Here’s a record on their Wiki (Adam Greenfield as channelled by Chiara Fox): Everyware – iaretreat05 – JotSpot

It’s an idea that may have seemed a little weird back in 1999 when John Seely Brown and Mark Weiser were writing about it: The Coming Age of Calm Technology.

But when I notice how a coworker gets into his Prius, and the car just knows it’s him because of the fob hanging from his keyring, I realize this age is running toward us pretty dang fast. What’s to stop the car from also knowing to have his schedule and contacts ready in its console, his favorite iTunes playlists cued up, not to mention traffic information for his commute?

Why shouldn’t our information follow us around? Since everything’s going to be on one big network anyway? Hey man, it’s all about ustiquity!

(*Kicks self for not making it to the retreat…*)

via Victor Lombardi

Update: As Peter Boersma reminds me in a comment, Tom Vanderwal has been working with the “personal infocloud” idea for quite some time.

Author: Andrew Hinton

I use information to architect better places for humans. More at

2 thoughts on “Calm Technology discussed at IA Retreat”

  1. Actually, yes… I remember Tom explaining it in Asilomar what seems like ages ago. At the time, I felt I differed with his “attraction” metaphor, because people treat the Web like a series of spaces or buildings, where they find things. I wasn’t quite up to speed I guess (yeah I can be a slow study).
    But his attraction model is incredibly relevant for the “calm technology” paradigm — where one’s personal space is augmented by their personal information (which is a sort of cloud of personal semantic relevance, no?) Rather than having hard edges like your driver’s license, it’s fuzzier, and dynamic. All this stuff, untethered from a single locale, that somehow follows you around … absolutely.

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