I used to think software-defined radio was a pretty exotic technologyand perhaps it is in some waysbut it is also well on its way to becoming rather commonplace.
The SDR Forum www.sdrforum.org has made it quite clear in recent announcements that it intends to be much more proactive in advancing its eponymous technology, which up until now is best known for its use in cellular base stations.
The Forum's mantra is "ubiquitous communications," which simply means that that at some point in the future we won't have to worry about whether the available air interface is Wi-Fi, WiMAX, cellular or what-not. The radio will configure itself to handle any technology it knows about.
That capability calls for quite a bit of standardization, of course, and the Forum is pursing that avenue was well as others, including a new application: Public safety.
Software-defined radio may be the silver bullet that gets us around that too-often-heard problem during disasters: First responders being unable to talk to each other because they are using different communications technologies.
On April 14, the Forum released a report on public safety applications. More information is available at http://www.sdrforum.org/appr_docs.html.