A focus on service avatars and physical materiality allows us to rethink consumers' distributed connections to services and place.

BERG wonders whether a simple object can mediate the complex set of relations that constitute our experience of the contemporary networked city. As ubiquitous computing increasingly encroaches upon us, the “city as computer” metaphor is gaining ever more currency.

Extending that metaphor, one can see the London Bicycle Scheme as hardware that is very specific to the locale of London City. Tom Armitage notes that the key one uses to unlock the bicycles provides an interface to the system and service, an interface which is useless when divorced from it’s locale. In that way the fob can be considered a service avatar

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