A group of the world’s biggest tech companies has formed an alliance to encourage WiMax-related innovation.

Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems, Clearwire, Intel, Samsung, and Sprint Nextel announced the formation of the Open Patent Alliance this week. The six corporations will work together to make patents inexpensive and easily accessible for anyone who wants to develop WiMax-based devices.

Of course, widespread WiMax is still a while away for the U.S. Sprint’s upcoming nationwide network with Clearwire won’t be finished until 2010, and it’s the first of its kind in America. Once done, though, the network will blanket entire cities with access five times faster than the current WiFi offerings.

That got me thinking, though — introducing the world of WiMax may have a few interesting side effects the companies haven’t considered. Let’s see how you feel.

  • First up, a major shift in the realm of human interaction. One area developers want to focus is on remote access for things like utility meters and appliances. This is one change I think we’ll all welcome. No more waiting from 9 a.m. to noon for a maintenance guy to show up? No problem. Remote maintenance may be the best unintended effect WiMax could offer.
  • Next, a less positive change. You know the annoying thinks-he’s-in-his-own-home-at-Starbucks guy? I’m sure you’ve experienced him. I’m talking about the jackass who sits there, playing videos or maybe music on his computer speakers so everyone has to hear it. Headphones don’t apply for this oblivious oaf. Well, our pal can now venture outside of Starbucks and take his antics almost anywhere, thanks to WiMax’s wide-reaching access. Enjoy your city’s parks and swimming pools while you can.
  • Finally, an evolution for another obnoxious species: surfing-the-net-while-pretending-to-be-social girl. You’ve been out to lunch with her, no doubt. She’s on her web-enabled phone the second you walk inside and is doing under-the-table finger dances the whole time you’re talking. Now, she can take her habit everywhere she goes, fee-free — no need for a WiFi-offering café. So long, socialization. (Though, let’s be honest: not having to make real, in-person conversation with this kind of girl is probably for the best.)

No doubt, WiMax will mean a lot more than just an easier way to check your email. Changes are on the way, my fellow citizens.

Anyhow, I’ve gotta run. The guy next to me at Starbucks just started a hilarious video, and I don’t want to miss it.

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