Colorado Springs is No. 20 among U.S. wireless cities, according to Intel’s second annual “Most Unwired Cities” survey. Colorado College held the No. 11 ranking in Intel’s “Most Unwired College Campus” survey.
The wireless craze has freed the masses to roam whenever and wherever, staying connected through cell phones and laptop computers. Like the Energizer Bunny, technology just keeps going, making it easier for everyone to unplug.
“Intel Centrino mobile technology has been a catalyst for wireless computing, generating excitement among consumers and helping accelerate Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity) adoption,” said Anand Chandrasekher, Intel vice president. “This popularization of the Wi-Fi enabled laptops and the widespread availability of hotspots have propelled wireless computing into the mainstream, making it a fundamental part of everyday life.”
Those fundamental parts of everyday life include not only laptops and cell phones but also a variety of wireless gadgets, including the personal data assistant.
Jeff Murray is an engineer/manager with Intel, and he said that Centrino is appealing to many because the extended battery life allows a half day of laptop use minus a cord. When he is roaming on business, Murray’s fundamental high-tech needs include a cell phone, a laptop, a notebook and a book. Murray said he travels lightly: “I am of the older generation. Even though I cannot go anywhere without my laptop, I am a pencil and paper person – I still take notes.”
In light of a mobile society, the CSBJ decided to survey 25 Springs professionals to find out who is toting what.
Everyone polled in our random, unsophisticated survey carries business cards, wallets, purses, checkbooks, pens, glasses (sunglasses or eyeglasses) and keys. Twenty of the 25 people surveyed carry cell phones. Kim Carson, owner of Springs-based Nationwide Floor & Window Coverings, carries two cell phones. Tim Davis, owner of Monument-based CreatiVeracity, a full-service advertising agency, was one of three who carries a laptop. En route to business meetings, Davis lugs his backpack, filled to capacity with a pad of paper, a Sharpie black pen, a laptop, a cell phone and a Communications Arts Design magazine.
Four people carry PDAs, and two carry calculators. Five people carry product samples and only six cart their Day-Timers around. One person carries informational tapes. Other non-tech items included in the “what do you tote” survey are water bottles, breath mints, address books, a tape measurer, a sales license and a Golden Labrador Retriever. Carson said her dog is a conversation icebreaker.
Peter Jones, owner of Sanctuary Landscape in Monument, said he panicked when he left his cell phone at home one morning. “My car is my office,” Jones said. The mobile businessperson is one reason Dex (formerly Qwest Dex) released its On-The-Go Directories in Colorado Springs two years ago. This year’s mini-drive-time directories, featuring a new dining-guide, were mailed in April to 100,000 Springs residents, who were chosen for time they spend in their car.
Les Wood is the Dex marketing coordinator for the Front Range, and he said the directories provide people on the go with information such as the location of a dry cleaner, a pet store or a restaurant.
“In 1997, we noticed a growing population of people who spent a lot of time in their car,” Wood said. “We decided to give people with an active lifestyle a Yellow Pages-only directory of consumer businesses for their car.” Wood said recent Dex surveys indicate one out of two people who have the directory use it every 14 days.
Colorado Springs is the first medium-sized market to have access to the directories. Anyone can request a copy of the directory by calling (888) On-The-Go.
“We are just keeping up with the mobile times,” Wood said. What does Wood tote? The mini-Yellow Pages, a laptop, a cell phone and a PDA.
High-tech gadgets are a fundamental part of our everyday effects, and wireless technology has created the unplugged era. A future survey might find people toting mini-televisions that fit in the palms of their hands or listening to tiny radios embedded in their forearms. It just keeps on going.