Ofcom has taken a look at the future of communications, and believes RFID tags that help people with allergies, intelligent collision detection in cars and wireless health care will soon be commonplace.

Ofcom looks ahead as well as monitoring the present and its 2008 technology report  - subtitled Tomorrow’s Wireless World – contains some sensible yet enticing visions of the connected UK of the future.

"Tomorrow's Wireless World scans the horizon ten to 20 years in the future to discover potentially significant advances and new, innovative technologies being developed that could improve healthcare and transport provision," reads the report.

"Ofcom's role is to ensure the most efficient use of the UK's radio frequencies - or spectrum - these services use. Spectrum is a finite resource; Ofcom's technology research helps it to better understand how this precious resource might be used in the future and allows it to plan how we manage the spectrum to meet these demands."

  • Healthcare First up is its view of a healthcare system that monitors vital signs and sends them via a wireless hub direct to hospitals and doctors, an automatic alert system if someone with medical problems becomes unconscious and a wireless bracelet that can give reminders of when pills should be taken.
  • Automotive Cars could communicate wirelessly with each other to automatically alert a vehicle of sudden braking to help avoid collisions – some could even include automatic braking systems in the future. There could also be e-Alerts that automatically call police or emergency services in the event of a crash and more intelligent congestions alerts.
  • Food RFID tags could identify products with nuts or other allergens, people could use a mobile phone or device to ensure that their shopping isn’t a danger to them.

Ofcom’s wireless role.

"Wireless devices are now an essential part of our everyday lives. As well as transport and healthcare, wireless communications are essential to defence, education, entertainment, culture and commerce. Wireless communications are so integral to our lives that today there are more mobile subscriptions, at 70 million, than the 60 million UK population," says Ofcom.