Matthias: blog
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VRM meets Everyware aka Doc Searls meets Adam Greenfield Sonntag, 17. Juni 2007, 02:55:46

Granted. Everyware is plain old branding. Adam Greenfield came up with the term because his name didn't show up on searches for ubiquitous computing and he needed something new that was solidly fused to his name: Everyware.

But. Everyware is a nice word and far more compelling than any of the other words used to describe the vision of computers watching over and waiting on us day and night wherever we go and even on the potty.

So. VRM stands for Vendor Relationship Management, the reciprocal of CRM or Customer Relationship Management. It provides customers with tools for engaging with vendors in ways that work for both parties. [...] VRM immodestly intends to improve markets and their mechanisms by equipping customers to be independent leaders and not just captive followers in their relationships with vendors and other parties on the supply side of the marketplace..

I know. Typical academics language, I don't understand a word of it either. The point seems to be that the customer becomes the sun around which the vendors revolve, as opposed to the old model where each vendor was an alien trying to conquer the customer aka planet. Doc Searls et al will certainly disagree, but I think it's an adequate enough way to look at it.

So what's that got to do with Everyware? Everything. If you read Joe Andrieu's piece about VRM: The user as point of integration, you quickly realise that this model is good, but has one ill-defined point: How is it done? Does Doc Searl want to carry his medical data on some kind of PDA? Does he want an implanted RFID chip? A smartphone with his data? And what if the country he happened to be in was hostage to a proprietery Microsoft system his gadgets couldn't work with? I don't think so. He just wants to hop into a taxi, drive to the hospital, and get whatever he needs to get, no questions asked.

So the system needs to know who he is without identification.

How can this be done?

Again: No RFID chip subcutaneously implanted into the human body; too much of a hassle, too much risk of misuse by rogue systems. No PDA to carry around; too easy to forget, battery failure, you name it.

Which leaves us with biometric identification: Hop into a taxi and state your destination and purpose (e.g. nearest hospital for a heart check-up), the taxi scans your body to acquire ID and physical status, the system considers all the variables and makes a weighted decision based on stated purpose, credit balance and medical urgency.

Which could mean they dump you in the Colorado, if you're one of the Sams of this world.

Anyway. This wouldn't work without Everyware. You don't want to store the data on your body, you don't want it implanted in your body, so you really want a system that is everywhere and knows who you are regardless of identification. Otherwise it's not really a VRM system.

And that is a pretty scary thought. I'm almost convinced I don't want VRM after all. Divide and conquer!

via Doc Searls.