Bill Gates has been babbling about the idea for years now – but he has been beaten by the Japanese, without much noise.
Computing newspaper (16 Dec 2004) on page 12 carries an article titled “Japan welcomes the arrival of the ‘ubiquitous society'”, where IT is everywhere, integrated, seamless, and enabling things for people.
The revolution was achieved with killer technologies (most IT geek knows that Japanese have access to the coolest gadgets), enabled by brave innovations (3G is old news in Japan, etc), and supported by the government (broadband ? we’ve got 100 Mbps fiber to your home for years, etc).
This also means serious savings for businesses – NEC said that they have cut meeting time by 20%, and travel expenses by 15%. I think these are achieved by doing teleconferences and telecommuting. And NEC said that they haven’t done this aggressively yet – imagine the potential savings once they do.
I must admit that I envy the Japanese for these 🙂