Web Future

Kevin Kelly writes in Wired:

The Web continues to evolve from a world ruled by mass media and mass audiences to one ruled by messy media and messy participation. How far can this frenzy of creativity go? Encouraged by Web-enabled sales, 175,000 books were published and more than 30,000 music albums were released in the US last year. At the same time, 14 million blogs launched worldwide. All these numbers are escalating. A simple extrapolation suggests that in the near future, everyone alive will (on average) write a song, author a book, make a video, craft a weblog, and code a program. This idea is less outrageous than the notion 150 years ago that someday everyone would write a letter or take a photograph.

What happens when the data flow is asymmetrical – but in favor of creators? What happens when everyone is uploading far more than they download? If everyone is busy making, altering, mixing, and mashing, who will have time to sit back and veg out? Who will be a consumer?

No one. And that’s just fine. A world where production outpaces consumption should not be sustainable; that’s a lesson from Economics 101. But online, where many ideas that don’t work in theory succeed in practice, the audience increasingly doesn’t matter. What matters is the network of social creation, the community of collaborative interaction that futurist Alvin Toffler called prosumption. As with blogging and BitTorrent, prosumers produce and consume at once. The producers are the audience, the act of making is the act of watching, and every link is both a point of departure and a destination.

Push to Pull

The McKinsey Quarterly has an article by John Hagel and John Seely Brown about “pushing resources into the areas of greatest anticipated need. ”

In today’s business world, highly automated factories or service platforms, supported by rigid and standardized processes, deliver resources to the right places at predetermined times. In information technology, massive enterprise applications specify activities to be performed and resources to be deployed to meet anticipated demand. In education, standard curricula expose students to codified information through a predetermined sequence of experiencesan approach many corporations follow in their employee training.

In each of these examplesand in “push” systems generallythe core assumptions are that companies and other institutions can anticipate demand and that mobilizing scarce resources in previously specified ways is the most efficient and reliable way to meet it. But the efficiency of push systems comes at a stiff price, for they require companies to specify, monitor, and enforce detailed activities and tasks. This rigidity necessarily restricts the number and diversity of the participants in push models, thus limiting the innovation and learning that can take place in them. It also tends to turn workers into mere instruments of management at a time when self-directed effort from a broad range of employees is ever more essential to big corporations.

Enterprise Service Buses

InfoWorld has a special report:

The golden dream behind the ESB is to replace proprietary integration brokers with open communication layers through which distributed services and business processes are readily exposed and easily managed. The immediate reality, however, is that it may be too soon to leave the old messaging subsystems behind.

Regardless of the underlying messaging core, an ESB must somehow — through open standards or by proprietary means — create a foundation for reliable messaging. Until WS-* specifications for reliable messaging fall into place, that reliability continues to come from the likes of JMS (Java Message Service), homegrown messaging engines, proprietary MOM (message-oriented middleware), and J2EE servers.

RSS as TCP/IP Packet of Web 2.0

Nivi writes:

You can think of RSS like a TCP/IP packet. A source publishes an RSS feed and the feed worms its way through the Internet to get to you.

Things get more interesting when the feed is routed through a bunch of services before it gets to you.

When you route a feed through a slew of services, RSS becomes a protocol for Machine to Machine (M2M) communication.

A packet is the fundamental building block of low-level data on the internet. Will RSS become the fundamental building block of Web 2.0 and the Internet Operating System?

Open-Source Vendor Positioning

Sacha writes:

As I was thinking about the way companies (mostly software vendors) position towards Open Source, I realized I could try to categorize them. Here is what I came up with:

1. The truly committed
2. The mixed-codebase
3. The pragmatics
4. The anti-strategist
5. The headless chickens
6. The in-denial
7. The anti-OSS

I think only strategies 1, 2, 3 and 7 can be stable positions (with strategy 2 offering a good runway), while the others are unstable.

TECH TALK: Next-Generation Networks: WiMax

There has been a lot of debate about WiMax in recent times. Will it be the ubiquitous networking nirvana that its advocates hope it will be, or will it be a damp squib as some of the detractors insist it will be? Heres a sample comment from Bill Alpert writing in Barrons (May 16, 2005): Unwired communications will allow the emerging economies of Asia, Latin America and Africa to transport their masses into the age of the telephone and the Internet at prices affordable even to a low per capita GDP. But how much of the job will go to the cellular technologies promoted by the likes of LM Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm, and how much to WiFi and WiMAX, the wireless networking technologies driven by Intel and a flock of smaller vendors like Broadcom, Atheros Communications, Marvell Technology Group, Alvarion and Airspan Networks? For now, my money’s on cellular.

But that does not mean WiMax can be written off. This is from Intel, one of the WiMax champions:

WiMAX, or 802.16, is a fast-emerging wide-area wireless broadband technology that shows great promise as the “last mile” solution for bringing high-speed Internet access into homes and businesses. While the more familiar Wi-Fi* (802.11a, b and g) handles local areas, such as in offices or hotspots, WiMAX covers wider, metropolitan or rural areas. It can provide data rates up to 75 megabits per second (Mbps) per base station with typical cell sizes of 2 to 10 kilometers. This is enough bandwidth to simultaneously support (through a single base station) more than 60 businesses with T1/E1-type connectivity and hundreds of homes with DSL-type connectivity.

What makes WiMAX so attractive is its potential to provide broadband wireless access to entire sections of metropolitan areas, as well as small and remote locales throughout the world. People who could not afford it will now be able to get broadband and in places it may not previously have been available. It enables coverage of a large geography very quicklyFor many businesses, particularly small businesses that are out of reach of DSL or not part of the residential cable infrastructure, 802.16 represents an easy, affordable way to get connected to broadband.

The WiMax Weblog pointed to an article in ScienceDaily which gave a bullish view on WiMax:

WiMAX carriers will be pitted against broadband, DSL and cell-phone carriers for customers, said Greg Phillips, the chief executive officer of AirTegrity Wireless Inc.

“If you think about cell phones today, they’re really limited. What we’re really doing is turning them into broadband devices,” Phillips said. “There will be a market play between the traditional cell-phone companies and the IEEE cell phone.”

He said WiMAX could make a huge difference in developing countries and rural areas that have experienced very slow connections or have been unable to pay cable fees to establish service.

“It will allow other nations to engage more effectively where they were before constrained,” Phillips said. “India and China already have a huge push going for them already,” but the biggest changes will be in Latin America and Africa, which are still catching up.

“India and China won’t be level,” he said, “they’ll be beyond us.”

He said he expects a station to cost between $500 and $600 initially and go down drastically in price as the chips become cheaper to manufacture.

“There’s a huge number of people that have never been introduced to telephony and they’ll be introduced to broadband at almost the same time,” Phillips said. “Think of all the people introduced to mainstream media. They’ll be able to receive newscasts, education and even commercial use on these devices.”

WiMax has great potential for countries like India which have large swathes of the countryside which have no telecom coverage and where it can be ideal solution.

Tomorrow: 3G and 4G

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