Back in 1995, in an off the cuff comment, I suggested that the Government of PEI set up an online digital camera. I’d seen the famous coffee pot camera from the U.K. and figured we might do the same. Much to my surprise, some money flowed out for the project, and PEI got the IslandCam.

The camera has been in place for 6 years now, and has been based in locations as diverse as the Brookvale ski hill and the Marine Atlantic ferry from PEI to New Brunswick. And its hardware has evolved from a complicated (but mostly functional!) jury-rigged Apple QuickTake camera setup to an elegant (and almost completely functional) Axis camera setup.

I’ve never completely understood how wonderful the IslandCam is until this very moment: sitting in a theatre, 1000 km from home, missing my partner and my son, and now able, using this great wireless connection, to call up the IslandCam and see a little bit of my hometown chugging along through its own Saturday.

The wireless panel — John Sculley and Carl Yankowski — have just finished up, and one of their themes was that wireless everywhere has the capacity to grow and foster relationships. They talked about how the successful wireless apps in Japan, Korea and Europe have been SMS-like — sending small messages (60 billion in Europe in 2001) from person to person to “stay in touch.”

I understand.