Killer apps in the Gigabit Age

WASHINGTON, D.C.
October 9, 2014 7:00am
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•  The age of gigabit connectivity is dawning

•  “Gigabit bandwidth is one of the few real ‘build it and they will come’ moments”


Technology experts foresee changes across all aspects of human life as Internet connectivity advances by 2025, according to a new study by . the Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center.

The report, released Thursday morning, shows that they expect hyper-personalized interactions with information and their surroundings, vivid telepresence and video, immersive virtual reality environments and a deepening dependency upon machines and the vast stores of information people tap into as they navigate their lives.

Many say new and enhanced Internet-based applications may significantly impact health care and education.

The report is a compilation of opinions from 1,464 respondents, most of them tech experts, who were asked to consider the likely evolution of the Internet and the Web and their impact on daily life. Invited respondents were asked: New killer apps in the gigabit age – Will there be new, distinctive, and uniquely compelling technology applications that capitalize upon significant increases in bandwidth in the U.S. between now and 2025?

Some 86 percent answered “yes,” and 14 percent said “no.” They were asked to elaborate on their answers. Those who answered “no” said they don’t expect enhanced Internet efficiency or killer apps by 2025 for various reasons. The 86 percent who expect such improvements shared their visions.

“Many of these experts said that with more-efficient connectivity to more information and machines the connection between humans and technology will tighten,” says Lee Rainie, a co-author of the report and director of the Pew Research Internet Project. “They said we will be living in an always-on environment that can seamlessly integrate human-machine interactions, impacting many activities, including thinking, the documentation of our lives and the coordination of our actions.”

Survey participants also predicted a vast improvement in real-time video for teleconferencing, saying it will become much more vivid. “Some said they expect we will finally experience perfected telepresence, thus eliminating the need for travel as we can meet virtually and it will seem as if we are really sharing the same space,” says Janna Anderson, director of Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center. “Quite a few expect heightened visual experiences online, including video implementing 3D holograms. They said this will completely alter health care and education and create much-more-immersive games and other entertainment options.”

A gigabit connection can deliver 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps). Globally, Akamai reports that the average connection speed in quarter one of 2014 was 3.9 Mbps, with South Korea reporting the highest average connection speed, 23.6 Mbps, and the U.S. at 10.5 Mbps. The expectation of the people who participated in this canvassing of experts by Pew and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center is that life will be significantly enhanced if more data can be shared more efficiently.

William Schrader, the co-founder and CEO of PSINet Inc., the first commercial ISP, says, “As gigabit bandwidth becomes widespread later this decade, applications will emerge which exploit the combination of big data, GPS location, weather, personal-health monitoring devices, industrial production, and much more… Gigabit bandwidth is one of the few real ‘build it and they will come’ moments for new killer apps. The fact that no one had imagined the other killer apps prior to seeing them grow rapidly implies that no one can imagine these new ones— including me. But I am confident they will come.”

David Weinberger, a senior researcher at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, predicts, “There will be full, always-on, 360-degree environmental awareness, a semantic overlay on the real world, and full-presence massive open online courses. Plus Skype won't break up nearly as much.”

Jason Hong, an associate professor in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, says, “My best guesses would be: a) far better telepresence, in terms of video quality, audio quality, robotic control, and time (for example: open all the time rather than just a short time for video conferencing); b) a few people starting to use life-logging technologies to capture everything in their lives (with some people choosing to share those); c) higher adoption of telesurgery and remote medical support; d) some new kind of entertainment, possibly including new kinds of social media; e) more sensor data being continuously captured and stored, including those embedded in the city (for bridges and buildings), cars, smart phones, portable home medical devices, and toys; f) better search for multimedia, especially videos; g) more cloud-based apps, offering far richer software-as-a-service than we can do today.”

About the report

The report about these predictions comes in the sixth canvassing of experts done by the Pew Research Center in association with the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University. This is the fourth report generated out of the results of Web-based questions fielded from late November 2013 to early January 2014. The survey gathered opinions on eight Internet issues from a select group of experts and the highly engaged Internet public.

• “Gigabit bandwidth is one of the few real ‘build it and they will come’ moments”

Technology experts foresee changes across all aspects of human life as Internet connectivity advances by 2025, according to a new study by . the Pew Research Center and Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center.

The report, released Thursday morning, shows that they expect hyper-personalized interactions with information and their surroundings, vivid telepresence and video, immersive virtual reality environments and a deepening dependency upon machines and the vast stores of information people tap into as they navigate their lives.

Many say new and enhanced Internet-based applications may significantly impact health care and education.

The report is a compilation of opinions from 1,464 respondents, most of them tech experts, who were asked to consider the likely evolution of the Internet and the Web and their impact on daily life. Invited respondents were asked: New killer apps in the gigabit age – Will there be new, distinctive, and uniquely compelling technology applications that capitalize upon significant increases in bandwidth in the U.S. between now and 2025?

Some 86 percent answered “yes,” and 14 percent said “no.” They were asked to elaborate on their answers. Those who answered “no” said they don’t expect enhanced Internet efficiency or killer apps by 2025 for various reasons. The 86 percent who expect such improvements shared their visions.

“Many of these experts said that with more-efficient connectivity to more information and machines the connection between humans and technology will tighten,” says Lee Rainie, a co-author of the report and director of the Pew Research Internet Project. “They said we will be living in an always-on environment that can seamlessly integrate human-machine interactions, impacting many activities, including thinking, the documentation of our lives and the coordination of our actions.”

Survey participants also predicted a vast improvement in real-time video for teleconferencing, saying it will become much more vivid. “Some said they expect we will finally experience perfected telepresence, thus eliminating the need for travel as we can meet virtually and it will seem as if we are really sharing the same space,” says Janna Anderson, director of Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center. “Quite a few expect heightened visual experiences online, including video implementing 3D holograms. They said this will completely alter health care and education and create much-more-immersive games and other entertainment options.”

A gigabit connection can deliver 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps). Globally, Akamai reports that the average connection speed in quarter one of 2014 was 3.9 Mbps, with South Korea reporting the highest average connection speed, 23.6 Mbps, and the U.S. at 10.5 Mbps. The expectation of the people who participated in this canvassing of experts by Pew and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center is that life will be significantly enhanced if more data can be shared more efficiently.

William Schrader, the co-founder and CEO of PSINet Inc., the first commercial ISP, says, “As gigabit bandwidth becomes widespread later this decade, applications will emerge which exploit the combination of big data, GPS location, weather, personal-health monitoring devices, industrial production, and much more… Gigabit bandwidth is one of the few real ‘build it and they will come’ moments for new killer apps. The fact that no one had imagined the other killer apps prior to seeing them grow rapidly implies that no one can imagine these new ones— including me. But I am confident they will come.”

David Weinberger, a senior researcher at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, predicts, “There will be full, always-on, 360-degree environmental awareness, a semantic overlay on the real world, and full-presence massive open online courses. Plus Skype won't break up nearly as much.”

Jason Hong, an associate professor in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, says, “My best guesses would be: a) far better telepresence, in terms of video quality, audio quality, robotic control, and time (for example: open all the time rather than just a short time for video conferencing); b) a few people starting to use life-logging technologies to capture everything in their lives (with some people choosing to share those); c) higher adoption of telesurgery and remote medical support; d) some new kind of entertainment, possibly including new kinds of social media; e) more sensor data being continuously captured and stored, including those embedded in the city (for bridges and buildings), cars, smart phones, portable home medical devices, and toys; f) better search for multimedia, especially videos; g) more cloud-based apps, offering far richer software-as-a-service than we can do today.”

About the report

The report about these predictions comes in the sixth canvassing of experts done by the Pew Research Center in association with the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University. This is the fourth report generated out of the results of Web-based questions fielded from late November 2013 to early January 2014. The survey gathered opinions on eight Internet issues from a select group of experts and the highly engaged Internet public.

Drilldown


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