34/7 smellivision

July 3, 2006

Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed a device that records smells to play back later.  Applications discussed include improving online shopping and medical procedures.

Interest is also raised in the power of the extra sensory dimension to enhance our general human computer interaction, e.g. in searching digital photos without a need to open them.  If pictures paint a thousand words, how many do smells paint?


Wired has a set of interesting quick snippets from Rupert Murdoch on the future of television, of newspapers, on content vs. distribution, and on plans for ‘true’ WiMax powered broadband taking over from satellite transmission.

trends for 2020

June 27, 2006

A new publication from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Foresight 2020: Economic, industry and corporate trends, paints pictures of the world economy in 2020.

They identify five major trends and driving forces that will shape the world: atomisation, demographics, personalisation, globalisation and knowledge management.

Specific industries are also covered in depth: automotive, consumer goods & retailing, energy, financial services, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, public sector and telecoms.

21 thoughts

The latest annual report on American Journalism by the Project for Excellence in Journalism is available online.

It discusses major trends, developments in blogs, newspapers, online, network, cable and local TV, magazines, radio and ethnic / alternative.

This is a comprehensive report, much of whose findings may offer insight into developments in worldwide news media.

It's been 17 years since Tim Berners-Lee first dreamt up the World Wide Web as a "universal medium, open to all" for sharing information and working together.  During this time, its success has been phenomenal and it now pervades into almost every aspect of our lives.

As pressures start to mount though, challenges to core founding principles, is it time to consider a scenario where the existing Internet is cast aside, and a new network takes it place?

Those pressures are:

  1. The refusal of the US government to enshrine the princple of "net neutrality" in law
  2. Political control and intervention in the content and running of the Internet

"Net neutrality" is the principle by which anybody, no matter how big or small, has equal access to the Internet.  Where each packet of information is treated the same, processed in the same way and delivered at the same speed, i.e. it's about providing a level playing field for everybody's content.  Recently, this principle has come under threat from the Telcos (companies like AT&T) who own the wires along which our Internet packets travel.  They want the right to be able to charge for better quality / higher speed transfer of packets, i.e. the right to bring in a tiered system where those content providers who can afford to pay will be able to deliver the best web content at the fastest speeds.

Backers of neutrality include Tim Berners-Lee and most of the Internet companies including Sergey Brin at Google.  They have been vocal in their arguments, and even setup a website, http://www.savetheinternet.com, in their unsuccessful attempts to lobby the US congress to enshrine "net neutrality" in law.  Counter arguments, of course, came from the Telcos, but also from Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas, Network neutrality? Welcome to the stupid internet.

Political intervention includes censorship of content (and prosecution of authors) in countries such as China (assisted by the likes of Yahoo and Google), and US government interference in domain naming, montioring of information, and control of routing.

If we are priced out of delivering competitive content on the Internet, or if our content and access was to become more restricted and politically controlled, perhaps in an increasingly nationalistic and defensive world, would we be prepared to cast the Internet aside in favour of an alternative open platform more akin to the founding principles?

If we were, where would we get the platform?

Perhaps the platform would be a proprietary network supplied by a global giant such as Google, or maybe it will be a grass roots revolution led by individuals connecting their home wireless networks together.  With a simple piece of open source software installed to handle routing and a new set of domain names, we could soon be up and running with our own alternative "Intervidualnet".

I came across this article, the future of advertising, on Shaping Tomorrow when searching for advertising futures. the intriguing thing is the undermining of generalised brand advertising. This year internet advertising revenues will exceed traditional media, however it will be far more targeted and expected to be more cost effective.

Bill Gates has been talking about the Microsoft's forthcoming IPTV software, and how it will blow away traditional broadcast TV models.  Just as he does, concerns are being raised in the States about the ability of existing cables to cope with the increasing demands for bandwidth.

It would be nice to see projections (taking into account contention) for the speed of connection that will be required by households to adequately receive the services that are expected to come over the next 5 years.