Next-Generation Networks

Technology Review has an interview with Douglas Van Houweling, CEO of the Ann Arbor, MI-based Internet2:

TR: What do you predict will be possible in the future?

DVH: I believe the network of the future will support a whole new set of applications — immersive collaboration environments, resource-sharing, real-time computation-intensive simulations, HDTV-quality video on demand, and many others that probably can’t even be imagined today. These applications will lead to further fundamental changes in the way we work, the way we learn, the way we entertain, the way we govern, and the way we live. We see three key areas of work we think are required to unleash the unrealized potential of the Internet: optical networking, federated authentication, and reliable end-to-end network performance.

TR: What’s the grand vision and when can we expect to see it realized?

DVH: We need a smarter, more reliable, secure, fast Internet that enables new ways to conduct science, engage in business, educate anytime and anywhere, and bind communities and families together in rich new ways. Through the partnerships between the higher education and research community, government, and industry, we already know many of the elements that will make up this next-generation network: operating on hundreds of waves of light over advanced fiber optic cables with upgraded Internet protocols; delivering ultra high-speed end-to-end performance; and smart software that protects content, protects privacy, authorizes users, deflects spam, and secures transactions. I am optimistic that such an Internet will be realized through the combined efforts of organizations like Internet2 all over the world.

Ajax and Desktop Apps writes:

Interactive Web pages built with multimedia tools such as Macromedia’s Flash and Flex have been around for years. These so-called rich Internet application tools will continue to exist for sophisticated tasks, but AJAX fits the need for simpler jobs, like adding interactivity to an existing Web site, Monson-Haefel said.

The ability to build a better Web is paving the way for hosted services funded by advertising or subscriptions. That’s a shift from the traditional desktop software model where customers pay an up-front fee to install software onto a single machine.

“AJAX is not a panacea,” said Zimbra’s Dietzen, noting that some applications, such as complex spreadsheets or presentations, demand desktop storage. “It’s excellent for enriching traditional Web apps that need it. But not all Web applications need to have a richer UI. For the ones that do, AJAX is by far the best choice.

Mobile Search

Russell Buckley asks if mobile search is about being local.

I think mobile search will be driven by another variable altogether and that’s N2KN – or the Need to Know Now factor. The N2KN factor may indeed have a local element to it from time to time, but Local won’t be the factor that actually stimulates the Search. In the short to medium term, when mobiles are so much slower and clumsier to use than computers (or even Yellow Pages), being motivated to use mobile search is going to depend on how urgently you need the information and how important it is.