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Six Mobile Innovations That Will Change Your Life

A century ago, communicating in a hurry meant sending a telegram. If you needed to go yourself, you went by train.

Flash forward to today's world of e-mail-ready smartphones and 3G wireless access. If you think those are handy, then get ready: Newer technology is emerging that will significantly change how we stay in touch when we are mobile -- nearly as much as telephones and airplanes have changed lives over the last 100 years.

Coming Mobile Attractions

•  Pay By Phone

•  Commanding Presence

•  Internet Everywhere, In Everything

•  Ubiquitous Media

•  Remote Health Monitoring

•  People Tracking

We asked several futurists and industry experts to describe these mobile technologies and their impact on our lives. They aren't talking about maybe-someday technologies, but applications that will be here in the next year or two. Some of them are even starting to be available now.

It's a good time to be mobile.

Pay By Phone

Old way: Pull out your wallet and pay with cash, debit card, or credit card.

New way: Your cell phone acts as a mobile wallet; you wave the device at a point-of-sale reader to make purchases.

The idea of using your phone to make payments has been around for several years but is finally gaining serious traction, starting in Japan where NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest cellular carrier, launched its mobile wallet program in 2004. Now, according to Karen Lurker, communications manager in the U.S. for DoCoMo, there are almost 12 million handsets in the hands of DoCoMo users that support the company's mobile payment system.

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