суббота, 17 марта 2012 г.

Here are some ideas about the future of the Internet

Rapid development of wireless networks, smart phones, PDA and other mobile Internet devices enables the user to obtain the desired content almost anywhere and at any time. But there is one obstacle, complicating the use of the content, or rather the absorption of the information. Most of the information is supplied in a visual form, such as text, images, tables, etc. In order to absorb the necessary information a screen and visual attention are required. The need to stay in visual contact for the absorption of information does not allow the information consumer to do anything else, for example, to drive a car, walk or perform any other manual task. Until recently, such distribution of information has been justified by the weak development of technical facilities, limited capacity of servers’ memory, low-speed data channels. But today technical resources allow one to store and instantly transmit large amounts of information over the wireless communication channels.


The essence of my idea is as follows: the user receives the information (content) in the form of audio files stored on servers as she/he manages the information flow through voice commands and queries, or creates his own information (content). That is, this would be similar to a radio channel with feedback, which provides you with any information you need at your request. These sites can carry a variety of audio information: news, music, books, training and development programs, games, translators, perhaps forums, where you can take part; this may be just a phone conversation with your friends, which would be facilitated by Skype-like networks. From now on I'll use audiointernet to designate the part of the Internet, which can be used by a consumer without a screen, and audiosites, the specific information channels.

Why and who needs it? It is necessary for providing a modern consumer with the instant access to various types of information, even when she or he is busy with a task that requires constant visual control (driving, hiking, physical work, etc.). That is, at the moment when she or he is either unable or unwilling to use the screen. Such a system of human interaction with the Internet will allow the consumer to reach a new level of information, limited only by the capacity of providers to ensure access to the audiointernet. The consumer will gain an opportunity to remain at all times within the information field of various audiosites.

In my view, the audiointernet will be in high demand among almost all current mobile users. Primarily among those who are already actively using the mobile Internet, namely young, modern people leading active lifestyles who are in need of constant flow of information. In addition they will be joined by middle-aged and older populaiton, who, until now, have only been weakly exposed to the Internet. This segment of population might be attracted by the simplicity of interface, which does not require any specific knowledge or training. The structure of the voice commands and queries should be kept simple and understandable and the audiosites’ interface should be based on typical structures.

In addition, the audiointernet can play a huge role in the social lives of many people. Blind or visually impaired population has only limited access to the Internet content. But with the advent of the audiointernet they will be able to enjoy the same level of service as other users. Currently there are 37 million of blind people in the world and 124 million more suffer from serious visual impairment. In addition, in the world today there are about 800 million illiterate adults and 113 million children who do not attend school. For them audiointernet can serve as a window into the modern world.

Discarding screen will allow a simplified, budget model of the device with the access to the audiointernet that will especially suite low-income people. Ability to have constant access to a variety of information can fundamentally change the attitude towards unskilled, manual labor and will allow a person to develop and grow, regardless of the nature of his or her occupation. In sum it turns out that virtually the entire adult population of the globe will be prone to use the audiointernet network.

Despite the fact that the modern level of technical development allows the audiointernet, to date there is no coherent policy in this matter, no developed basic approaches, no specific standards, model structures or protocols. Also there are no special audiobrawsers, search engines and other necessary applications. But it's only a matter of time. There is already a vast amount of content ready for the audiointernet, and it can serve as a basis for creation of a new content. For example, Wikipedia can get a stable funding, offering its users a paid audio version. Generally, with regard to the commercial component of the audiointernet, the opportunities are en par with the conventional visual internet.

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