October 9, 2014

Killer Apps in the Gigabit Age

Elaborations: More Expert Responses

Each increment of growth in bandwidth has enabled new communication, new participation in communities, more effective outreach to broader social networks, more access to information, and more algorithmic interventions to sort and filter data. Most of the experts in this canvassing see all those trends being amplified in the decade to come as gigabit connectivity spreads. As Jim Kennedy, senior vice president for strategy for the Associated Press, put it, “The bandwidth revolution has driven the digital age from the start, and we are on the cusp of a day when connectivity will be like the air we breathe. At that stage, everything and everybody can be connected for a continuous flow of information and data exchange that can add a ‘meta’ layer to almost every human experience. The gadgets we have today are just the start. The killer apps of the future will take advantage of the ones that have already emerged: connectivity, search, sharing, touch, gestures, location awareness, and virtual reality, among others.”

Most—but not all—of the respondents believe the move toward gigabit connectivity will enrich personal encounters, create new kinds of personalized media experiences, and pack even more information into people’s lives, merging it with their surroundings and basing their individual experiences upon algorithms that estimate their personal preferences.

The power of those changes captivated many of the respondents. Among the most expansive analysts was Barry Chudakov, founder and principal of Sertain Research, who talked about how the merger of information and the physical environment could change people’s sense of reality:

“The most distinctive and uniquely compelling technology applications we will encounter between now and 2025 will take us into environments and surround us with information, navigation, and search capabilities. These apps will create livingness of information. We will enter any destination like diving into water. This new submersion, due to enhanced glasses or some evolved cognitive cum visual tool, will affect both the destination and those experiencing it. We will no longer go anywhere alone, as we will be connected to everyone and everything around us. We will not think of this as a media experience, but as reality immersion while we are walking down Fifth Avenue in New York or spending an afternoon at the Palazzo Vecchio. We will no longer think of a map as a representation of the territory; the map will be become part of the territory, while at a gut level we will both be in the experience and we will be in the territory itself with constant readings of our responses to surroundings and live reporter/correspondents (us or other connected souls) providing a narrative of what is happening on the ground. In a flash, static documentation moves from two-dimensional estimate to detailed interactivity and monitoring; we move from passive observer to connected actor and commentator.”

Following are more answers that expand the broad themes of this report:

Theme 1) People’s basic interactions and their ability to ‘be together’ and collaborate will change in the age of vivid telepresence—enabling people to instantly ‘meet face-to-face’ in cyberspace with no travel necessary.

Daniel Miller, a professor at University College in London, responded, “I have been working on ‘always-on’ connectivity through webcam, and this issue is raised as ‘ambient awareness’ in Clive Thompson’s new book Smarter Than You Think, so one area that I expect to develop is different ways people can effectively live together even though they are apart. Given the increase in diaspora populations and migration for work this may be one of the most important consequences of increasing bandwidth. This is not the same as communication, since one of the main advantages of ‘always-on’ living together is you don’t have to be talking to each other all the time.”

Ray Schroeder, associate vice chancellor for online learning at the University of Illinois-Springfield, commented, “Holographic, immersive environments will emerge enabling us to fully engage others at a distance. This will have significant implications for education, training, recreation, and travel. Virtual opportunities will proliferate for people to engage one another in more than mere text chats; more than Skype; more than Google hangouts; instead they will be able to meet virtual face-to-face. These meetings can be in a wholly unique environment. For example a person in Norway may be with another person in Seattle. They will be represented in 3D to one another in a setting in Hawaii.”

A professor of communication at an international management institute wrote, “I will virtually kiss my wife in New York from New Delhi before I leave for work in the morning.”

The CEO for a company that builds intelligent machines wrote, “I am not sure if it will hit by 2025, but I would expect that one of the most sought-after forms of entertainment will be fully-immersive experiences that stimulate all the human senses. With the new human-computation interfaces and gigabit bandwidth connectivity available in 2025, we will have the first versions of tools able to record and play back a full human life, minus the boring parts, of course. We will be able to push our already considerable talent for make-believe on a large scale (the movies) to its natural end, and be able to craft dream-like narratives that will be so compelling that we’ll want to regularly check out of our daily lives for little burst of fantasy.”

Jane Adams, executive director of one of California’s state-based public organizations, replied, “Applications that broaden our sensory experiences while doing an activity will be created. For instance feeling that you are being at the top of Everest will be possible even if you aren’t there physically via apps. If you want the sights and smells of Paris or Istanbul there will be an app to bring that into our physical world. The world will seem smaller as we have the opportunity to ‘go’ to places without leaving our house. Perhaps we will have greater understanding of what it is like to live under extreme conditions such as war, poverty, hunger, and illness and this may make us more benevolent towards others as it will expand our world view.”

Susan Keating, a self-employed digital consultant and instructor, predicted, “Telepresence for meetings and communicating; researching by computer for medical or research projects; perhaps remote medicine and surgeries; TV won’t be a screen, but acted out in your room by holograms.”

Stuart Chittenden, the founder of the conversation consultancy Squishtalks, predicted, “Streaming of mass data, including holograms and shared sensory experiences of audience events, instant multi-person participation, etc.”

Some, like John Lazzaro, a research specialist and visiting lecturer in computer science at the University of California-Berkeley, focused not so much on advances in speed but on the shrinking “latency” of Internet-enabled encounters—the immediacy of online interactions without noticeable delay. He wrote, “By 2025, the network number of interest won’t be bandwidth, but will be the geographic radius that supports interactions with others people in the 1-10 ms [millisecond, a thousandth of a second] range. For example, the latency between the Stanford and Berkeley campus has a median value of about 2 ms, which is about the acoustic latency between two people standing 2.5 feet apart. This latency supports applications like network musical performance, defined as musicians located in distant physical locations interacting as if they were in the same room, and many other telepresence applications… I think by 2025, enough people will have sufficiently low latency within their local metropolitan region… Once the network is there, attention will turn to getting the right product idea and executing it, and I believe one or more of them will take off and have the scale of success of a Facebook or a Twitter.”

Lyman Chapin, co-founder and principal of Interisle Consulting Group, LLC, commented, “To first order, the only meaningful answer is yes,’ because ‘no’ has so often (almost uniformly) been proven wrong by history. Mobile bandwidth will almost certainly be the most significant instantiation of gigabit connectivity; I can imagine an app that continuously pre-fetches the data of everyday experience before the experiences have occurred, so that our progress through time becomes mediated by those data at least as much as by things that actually happen (which we might not even notice).”

Peng Hwa Ang, director of the Singapore Internet Research Center at Nanyang Technological University, wrote, “Video and location-based data could use the new technologies. Imagine moving anywhere (dark alley, battlefield) and being able to capture everything around. To be able to stream and record the data would be invaluable.”

Dave Kissoondoyal, CEO for KMP Global Ltd. and Internet consultant, commented, “By 2025, technology will have eased the everyday life of each individual. All communications will be on video. The use of cloud computing and video applications will have greatly increased, requiring instant access to the various applications and data. Virtual meeting will not only include viewing and talking to the correspondent but also having the feel of shaking hands and meeting the correspondent virtually.”

Ian Peter, pioneer Internet activist and Internet rights advocate, wrote, “I suspect with mobile applications we will be able to look a few kilometers away to see how long it will be before the bus we are waiting for arrives, we will be able to check where our car is if other members of the family have it, where our children and pets are, how grandmother is in her nursing home, queues and traffic jams, items on supermarket shelves, and stock levels in online shops, etc.”

Lisa Dangutis, webmaster for The Sunshine Environment Link, responded, “More gigs please. People want faster, better media experiences that come with the capitalization of bandwidth. Experiences may include 3D-skype media, easier, faster relationships to visual graphing. High visual media plotting is also another possibility (3D graphing on mega-data projects or analytics). An app for tracking 3D change in the stock market could be feasible with more bandwidth and gigabit connectivity. For killer apps, the world is the oyster when it comes to gigabits. 3D GPS could be another killer app. The world is the oyster on such technology.”

David Allen, an academic and advocate engaged with the development of global Internet governance, responded, “When we look at media, the trajectory of change taken over the long view shows that the direction is toward greater and greater reality. That is, successive invention adds to the sense of ‘being there.’ That seems likely to continue. In time, we likely will have immersive holographic experience, both of entertainment and of our communications with those separated from us.”

John Wooten, the CEO and founder of ConsultED, wrote, “Human interconnectivity will become normalized by common, focal use of video conferencing as an ‘always-on,’ readily accessible, and cheaper way to communicate; the component of video will be complimented by add-on layers of data sharing to augment video as the primary vehicle for connectivity (text, image, and metadata sharing).”

Jon Lebkowsky, Web developer at Consumer’s Union, responded, “I expect refinement and extended use versus radically different tech. We’ll travel less, and use high-bandwidth, high-fidelity alternatives, especially since energy availability will have decreased significantly. I’m reminded that, despite higher-bandwidth alternatives, texting has become perhaps the most common form of communication, at least among digital natives.”

Liza Potts, assistant professor and senior researcher for writing in digital environments at Michigan State University, responded, “One can only hope that such amazing bandwidth would improve our digital entertainment spectrum. Considering personal technologies like the ones created in our many science-fiction books, television shows, and movies, it would be amazing to have immersive systems become a reality. Holograms, holodecks, and other ways in which we could connect with each other over time and space.”

Adam Gismondi, PhD candidate in higher education at Boston College, responded, “Much as the decreasing cost of storage space and increases in bandwidth have resulted in apps that use these new capabilities to implement video (Vine, Instagram, FaceTime), future apps will likely follow a similar trend. By 2025, many of these tools and applications may take the video capability to the next level through immersive, interactive video. These sorts of applications can already be seen through revolutionary music videos recently produced (Arcade Fire, Bob Dylan, and others), but this will be enhanced to work seamlessly on mobile.”

Theme 2) Augmented reality will extend people’s sense and understanding of their real-life surroundings and virtual reality will make some spaces, such as gaming worlds and other simulated environments, even more compelling places to hang out.

David Bernstein, president at The Bernstein Agency, a marketing and research consultancy, commented, “Just as the cell phone and smartphone have made information and communications available nearly everywhere at any time, virtual reality communication could become technologically and economically reachable in the same manner. Virtual reality extensions of regular communications will likely start in the gaming industry, but could quickly move into the mainstream. Eventually it could change the way we preserve our past. In the same way that photography changed the way we could preserve our personal and collective history imagine the impact of being able to ‘walk into’ an old family photograph or video.”

John Markoff, a senior writer for the Science section of the New York Times, wrote, “Two words (not just ‘plastics’)—Augmented Reality.”

Daren C. Brabham, assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, wrote, “The arrival of Google Fiber in some US cities has already spurred a number of start-ups that envision new uses for increased bandwidth. Some of these applications of higher bandwidth include graphically intense multi-player online gaming on-the-go. With better bandwidth in more places, blockbuster game franchises (Halo, Call of Duty, etc.) will leave the game room and integrate seamlessly into people’s commuting time or other segments of down time. I also predict more educational uses for this bandwidth, including complex immersive learning simulations for medical and law students. With this higher level of intensive training, we will start to see online medical and legal degrees emerge. Finally, this level of bandwidth will mean that we will actually own less and less of our devices and will instead rent most of it (software-as-a-service) in real-time from remote servers. This will put less of a focus on apps in mobile devices and more of a focus on the brute power of processors again.”

Evan Michelson, a researcher exploring the societal and policy implications of emerging technologies, predicted, “Augmented reality will expand in unimagined ways. Movies that you watch on your phone will be interactive. Want to buy the shirt that your favorite character is wearing? Click on it and buy it with currency, or in exchange for time (in your time bank account). Is the statue on the desk in the sitcom you are watching not available? Have it 3D printed on-demand and sent to you by drone messenger. While at work, perhaps you will be able to interact with virtual holograms at your desk—the distribution of telepresence to every knowledge worker.”

Jamie LaRue, a writer, speaker, and consultant on library, technology, and public sector issues wrote, “The likeliest result is an extrapolation of video games and 3D films. Something approaching full sensory environments should begin to be common; introduced to wearable (or physically embedded) technology this could result in a few richer interactions with remote sites. For instance, someone could be driving the Mars Rover in real time, or doing deep sea exploration. More likely, it will be used to meet up with one’s friends and go virtual shopping.”

Sean Mead, the senior director of strategy and analytics for Interbrand, commented, “Immersive apps including olfactory and tactile sensations will divert large amounts of time, energy, and social activity to gaming and social worlds that appear and feel real, making people the stars of their own productions. Virtual relations will challenge real-world social relations.”

Scott McLeod, director of innovation for the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa, responded, “I see the possibility of 3D immersive simulations as incredibly promising opportunities. The ability to not just watch, but actually be immersed in different kinds of environments will come closer to reality with faster bandwidth.”

Todd Cotts, a business professional, wrote, “Moore’s law would suggest that applications will be created that require less bandwidth to function at more than optimal levels of user experience, allowing for an even more all-encompassing interaction between user and technology. Cellular-based processing is likely to be behind these innovative leaps in bandwidth efficiency. Cellular-based functionality is likely to be behind technological features—which we will by then known as ‘experiences’—that will allow users to connect with tools and applications at a biological/neurological level, enabling an immersive experience—virtual reality—blurring the lines between reality and non-physical-reality in gaming, shopping, traveling, working (i.e., virtual surgery), and even dating, delivering to the user the experiences of ‘being there,’ accompanied by the smells, sights, sounds, perceptions, sensations, and emotions that would otherwise be experienced only on a physical plane.”

Aliza Sherman, a new media entrepreneur and author, predicted, “Immersive shopping experiences—virtual dressing rooms, virtual salons, getting the full picture or look before making the purchase. Immersive travel experiences for research and education or pleasure and entertainment.”

Yvette Wohn, a respondent who shared no other identifying details, commented, “I expect 3D projection (projecting three-dimensional synchronous images) will be the new form of video-conferencing. Virtual reality will become a household device (like the mobile phone) and be implemented first in entertainment form, such as massively multiplayer online games, and later be incorporated into communication devices. Moving beyond wearable computers, companies will be tinkering with prototypes of body-embedded technology that serves as communication device and personal-health tracking device.”

Janet Salmons, PhD and independent researcher and writer with Vision2Lead Inc., responded, “We’ll see more augmented reality apps that allow us to operate as ourselves or as avatars, and that those exchanges will be increasingly infused into everyday life. At the same time, we’ll start to see a different distinction emerge about what it means to be ‘in person.’ The loving touch, the expression of caring, the immediacy of personal presence will be more starkly contrasted with the options for immersive, any-time videoconference or virtual world exchanges that we have using communications technologies.”

Andrew Chen, associate professor of computer science at Minnesota State University Moorhead, responded, “Oculus Rift and similar technologies combined with 3D (stereoscopic) cameras and haptic-feedback gloves, clothing, and wearables will result in 3D ‘chat’ technologies that will come close to having people be able to ‘reach out and feel’ each other. This will get great popular press and many will choose to obtain this technology but this will not be commonly used because of how it will interfere with mobile usage—this will be a luxury for those who can stay at home, which most will be unable to.”

Miguel Alcaine, an International Telecommunication Union area representative for Central America, responded, “The next bandwidth hungry killer apps will be related to virtual reality and augmented reality, where other senses like taste, smell and touch can me more integrated with our experience with the digital world. I can easily foresee virtual reality games and training applications using virtual reality rooms and environments that supersede our wildest dreams. Bandwidth needs are proportional to our sense capabilities.”

Sharon Collingwood, a senior lecturer at Ohio State University, wrote, “Virtual worlds offer the possibility of real-time collaboration with no loss of worker time spent in traveling; reducing travel is also cost-effective and beneficial for the environment. As resources dwindle, business and education will look for ways to promote social cohesiveness in organizations, and virtual worlds offer a rich set of resources for this purpose. The adoption of virtual worlds may be gradual, or it may be sparked by the appearance of a new interface, along the lines of Oculus Rift. Virtual worlds that dispense with the need for a special browser, like Cloud Party, may also play a role in adoption.”

Not everyone is excited about the prospects of limitless video. The CEO of an ISP wrote, “Imagery is generating most of the demand for bandwidth, and entertainment is currently the primary driver. We will soon exhaust the available microwave bandwidth unless we have a technology development that changes the model. What will drive this exhaustion is the ability of ordinary folks to transmit video in real time. The same people who revel in the ability to tweet meaningless drivel will want to do the same with their child doing something silly.”

Theme 3) The connection between humans and technology will tighten as machines gather, assess, and display real-time personalized information in an ‘always-on’ environment. This integration will affect many activities—including thinking, the documentation of life events (‘life-logging’), and coordination of daily schedules.

Mike Liebhold, senior researcher and distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future, wrote, “Cloud-served supercomputing will enable any app or service to be fundamentally more powerful by the application analytics, sensemaking, and modeling.”

A lawyer wrote, “Video will continue to drive bandwidth growth, but it will be the vastly increased number of devices connected to the networks running machine-to-machine applications, rather than one or two new apps, that will drive the bandwidth needs.”

An Internet engineer and machine intelligence researcher responded, “Will there be new application technology that will pervade everyone’s day-to-day lives? Possibly. Machine intelligence will revolutionize the personalization of information access and management, most very likely impacting medicine, education, and public safety.”

Lee McKnight, a professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies, wrote, “Wireless grids edgeware—a new class of software applications for cloud-to-edge services including wiglets (open and non-proprietary) and gridlets will be pervasive as the cloud operating model supercedes the still semantic Web 2.0 business focus of 2013. Gigabit connectivity will permit a wide array of ‘over the virtual top’ applications which will require sophisticated virtual machines and software-defined networks for delivery, use, and creation. Meaning, gigabit home users may stand up their own physical networks for custom games-playing, seeking the ever-elusive technical edge in immersive virtual environments. Likewise immersive massive open online course-like learning will be more popular and powerful with greater bandwidth available. 80% of business services will be capable of being delivered as a secure gigabit service, whether the worker is home, in the coffee shop, or, gasp, in an office. For home entertainment, ever-more-realistic immersive environments will permit a wide array of telepresent sports and entertainment options; think IMAX at home. Given the still-pervasive role of mobile in 2025, the key issue will be orchestrating enriching and engrossing applications and content that can be accessed and used across a wide array of devices and resources.”

Olivier Crepin-Leblond, managing director of Global Information Highway Ltd. in London, UK, predicted, “Internet Protocol Version 6 will allow for point-to-point, always-on access to each other’s data streams—a bit like video mobile telephony, but always on and accessible to groups. The users will be able to turn on/off what services they’d like always on, but video will be the most widely used. How often have you gone ziplining and wanted to show all your friends in real time around the world what you are up to? The ‘status’ on social networking sites or a tweet you send will be replaced by real-time updating without needing to go through an intermediate site. That will cause a real bandwidth crunch at mobile data level.”

Clark Quinn, director of Quinnovation, wrote, “One of the areas I think is still to emerge is adaptive ubiquitous experiences, alternate reality games that capitalize on serendipity to foster emergent engagement. Systems will be much more aware of our context and commitments, and use this to surprise and challenge us via ‘hard fun’ in experiences that not just entertain us but transform us in important ways.”

John Saguto, an executive decision support analyst for geospatial information systems for large-scale disaster response, wrote, “We are already using gig-level bandwidth as we use HD on-demand video. Entertainment devices are routinely peak-capacity users of incredibly large datasets. These are virtual 3D-modeled worlds and interactive media. It will start slowly, much like video conferencing, but soon expand to user-controlled massive media that will (finally) eliminate keyboards for voice and gestures, thus expanding the market as well as opening up the technology to have real-time translators for expanding communications beyond the present-day thinking!”

Michael Wollowski, a study participant who did not share additional identifying details, wrote, “Going back to systems like IBM’s Watson that can intelligently digest large amounts of information, if we pull this information from different sources we can provide intelligent information at a moment’s notice. Imagine a digital assistant that is at once an attorney, a physician, a teacher, and many other things. It is going to be a paradise for the curious.”

Marc Prensky, a futurist, consultant, and speaker on technology and education wrote, “One innovation I very much hope will happen is the inclusion of cloud-connected text-to-voice scanners, and voice-to-text printers in all cell phones. If that happens there will be no more excuse for illiteracy (in the reading and writing sense)—we will just have to distribute all inexpensive phones with these features.”

Bill Woodcock, executive director for the Packet Clearing House, responded, “The high end of communication, as used by adults at work, will continue to become more immersive, using more sophisticated, higher-resolution imaging and image reproduction to convey ever-more-subtle nuances of human facial expression and tone of voice. That may be coupled with agent technology to provide ‘coaching’ to users party to a conversation, side-channels by which users’ agents are providing additional communication beyond what the two users can convey by conversation: backing documents, machine-readable contracts, automatic bidding for goods and services mentioned in the conversation, and so forth, as well as behind-the-scenes analysis of the other conversant’s position, inflection, putative motivations, etc.”

Cliff Zukin, a professor at Rutgers University, wrote, “That would be a pretty simple evolution to imagine, like every three to five years, much less 12. Generations come more quickly in a digital world… And, as we enter the era of big data, there will be more data to sort with an increased bandwidth to do it. We’re headed for more fragmentation and personal targeting as consumers.”

Rebecca Lieb, an industry analyst for the Altimeter Group and author, replied, “One can only hope and pray for significantly increased bandwidth in the United States. It’s vitally needed and critical to the country’s economy. Assuming this does happen, two clear current trends, cloud computing and mobility, will accelerate even faster than they are now. Part of this assumption is that better, longer-lasting power supplies and batteries will create an even greater expectation of always-on, networked devices. Mobility will expand to include a real Internet of Things: household, office, and personal devices.”

Sonigitu Asibong Ekpe, a consultant with the AgeCare Foundation, a nonprofit organization, wrote, “The killer app is this: high-performance knowledge exchange. Gigabit networks can unleash our collective imagination and encourage all manner of ‘what if’ scenarios. The onset of advanced, communication-rich networks and the multilayered applications that run on them promise to break conventional boundaries and propel our world to a true Information Age. Big bandwidth gets us closer than we ever thought possible. It dramatically reduces the barriers to collaboration that distance erects. There will be new applications for digital strategies for market dominance. Tools that will harness the new forces that govern life and business in the digital age and in the gap created by the law of disruption, golden opportunities await those who move quickly.”

Frank Feather, a business futurist, CEO, and trend tracker based in Ontario, Canada, observed, “Bandwidth will become unlimited and basically free to operate. People and organizations will increasingly operate in virtual space, for work, e-commerce, socializing, and entertainment, mostly using mobile devices and wireless systems.”

Bryan Padgett, a research systems manager for a major US entertainment company, replied, “While the emergence of full video (TV, online video, video calls, etc.) on mobile devices will become common, the well-established players will be the ones who bring that content to us. We will see a complete convergence of phone, mobile, television, Internet, security, and home automation since almost all will be delivered with data networks. We will become accustomed to paying for water, power, and data as ‘standard’ costs of living, dropping separate companies and eliminating the need to pay separate companies and services. I also think we will see more devices connected but not necessarily needing to send massive amounts of data. Home automation will be as common as air conditioning for most locations. For instance, my washing machine may need to communicate with my home automation system so it can run when I scheduled it, but it will not need gigabytes to do that.”

Mark Nall, a program manager for NASA, responded, “Opportunities for entertainment and family/friends connectivity will increase. I’ll take a guess here and say that a person could be equipped with multiple (nearly) always-on, unobtrusive high-definition cameras and microphones, touring a city or skiing while streaming an Adobe Illustrator, edited (don’t want anything embarrassing) feed to select friends and relatives. Call it Foursquare on steroids!”

Steve Jones, a distinguished professor of communications at the University of Illinois-Chicago commented, “My guesses are that a good deal of this will be related to increased streaming of high-density content (e.g., UHD and its successors) as well as wall-sized screens in homes. Management of personal digital assets will also require advances in storage and transmission as well as apps to curate content.”

Jack Hardy, principal at Niche Public Relations, commented, “Our interaction in this digital era will be through voice commands and motion control. 3D and holographic images and interaction will be the norm. The television, telephone, and Internet experience will be transformed to such a degree that it will be largely unrecognizable from its previous incarnation.”

Will Stuivenga, information science professional in the state of Washington, commented, “One area sure to have significant advances will be apps that aid individuals in recording and making available (to themselves, and to others, if desired) every detail of their lives: full video recording capability for one’s own life, for instance, and the ability to immediately and easily interface with this archival record, search it, replay it, share it, etc.”

Paul Jones, a professor at the University of North Carolina and founder of ibiblio.org, responded, “More visual information that can be scanned and reconfigured and customized for the needs of the moment will be the hallmark of the next 10 years. Significant increases in bandwidth will remove some of the barriers to that end. Expect this information to be 3D and easily manipulated. Expect a new era of literacies more special than ever available to us.”

Mícheál Ó Foghlú, chief technology officer of FeedHenry, wrote, “Collecting one’s own video life history may become more mainstream rather than the geek sideline it is now. Much of the important usage will come from an ability to process and analyse the data collected, and not just the increasing capacity to capture it.”

Sunil Gunderia, a mobile strategist at an education start-up, commented, “The gigabit age will enable huge advances leveraging predictive analytics to determine what an individual is likely to want to do next. This ‘AI’ will allow personal agents to offer useful real-time information to help decide almost every aspect of your life.”

Patrick Stack, manager of the Digital Transformation Acquity Group, wrote, “The ‘killer apps’ will be less about increased bandwidth capability and more about increased short-range capabilities. Common data formats will be developed to allow phones, kiosks, displays, and other physical items to interact with each other and process experiences accordingly. It will be less about data-heavy applications and more about ever-present software and processing between the physical and digital worlds.”

Andrew D. Pritchard, a lawyer, PhD candidate, and researcher, wrote, “Increases in bandwidth and processing power also increase the number of different types of information an app can integrate into a single interaction, approaching the complexity of the pro-and-con balancing of human decision-making. Thus, it seems likely that the next 10 years will bring increasing numbers of apps that make decisions on behalf of their users rather than merely provide requested factual information.”

Richard James, an information science professional, predicted, “Personal security systems based on real-time monitoring of your vital statistics, location, environment, and visual input via Glass-like applications.”

Clark Sept, the co-founder and principal of Business Place Strategies, Inc., wrote, “One such killer app will be a ‘personal information assistant’—a digital agent that will filter incoming information (news, education, entertainment, lifestyle) in a way similar, but more relevant and successful, to online services such as Pandora or iTunes Genius do today for entertainment.”

Theme 4) Specific economic and social sectors will be especially impacted; health/medicine and education were mentioned often.

Robert Furberg, RTI International senior clinical informaticist, wrote, “As a public health technologist, the greatest area of interest for me is in how applications will facilitate 1) improved self-efficacy of chronic disease management; 2) online health community engagement for social support and higher levels of engagement with an individual’s own care, or that of a family member. Major drivers include: the increase in connectivity between individuals via social technologies, passive data collection via wearables, and the Internet of things, the fluidity of information, and new means to analyze and visualize data.”

The CFO for a major Internet company responded, “Besides streaming video and delivery of digital goods (media like books, music, video), the next area of promise is telemedicine. The development of home digital appliances/diagnostics that allow a doctor to diagnose and virtually ‘see’ a patient should take care of most non-emergency medical situations.”

Francois-Dominique Armingaud, a retired computer engineer from IBM now teaching security at universities, wrote, “Whenever new possibilities appear, new ideas come with them to people thinking ‘out of the box.’ IBM succeeded because they understood that mainframe computers would sell by thousands, Microsoft because they understood that personal computers would sell by millions, Google because they understood that Internet users would be billions. However, as usual, perhaps 1% of the adventures around that will be successful. If I had the ideas that will be the successful ones, I guess I would work hard to be a millionaire instead of wasting time on Facebook. So I cannot predict these future ideas, but I am pretty sure that things like TEDx, Coursera and others will be successful. If all Internet providers allowed Internet protocol multicast, democracy could reach new heights, and individual lives as well. Just imagine giving a guitar course online to 18 people or more scattered anywhere at a time.”

Stewart Baker, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson, a Washington law firm, wrote, “The Internet of Things will use growing bandwidth to create a kind of sensory Web that knows where we are and what we are doing at all times. Big data will begin to tease surprising new social and medical innovations from that Web.”

Nick Wreden, a professor of social business at University Technology Malaysia, based in Kuala Lumpur, responded, “Health. Not only will there be 24/7 monitoring of body functions, but surgeons will be able to do operations only dreamed about today. The doctors won’t even have to be in the operating room!”

Gary Kreps, director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication at George Mason University, wrote, “New applications will be more engaging and dramatic, incorporating vivid entertainment media for communicating with users. These applications will include vivid visuals, sound, and movement that capture user attention and promote attention and learning. This will be particularly valuable for entertainment, education, communication, and health promotion. These applications will also enhance interpersonal and group communication by making interactions more vivid with rich multi-channel message systems.”

Craig Watkins, a professor and author based at the University of Texas-Austin, responded, “High-end, high-quality communication and video conferencing will change how we conduct meetings, collaborate, share ideas, and create. The real challenge will be if these new applications can transform how resource-poor schools and communities connect to the world, expertise, and knowledge.”

Chen Jiangong, an Internet business analyst in China commented, “Firstly, the new killer apps will be born in the medical field. I believe that distance surgery will become common. Secondly, the services based on emotion will rise because big data will be able to forecast the emotional needs of people.”

Sakari Taipale, a social policy and new technologies researcher in Finland, wrote, “New killer apps will emerge, most likely, in the medical and care work sectors. Domestic technologies that will assist aging people on a daily basis, providing them with interactive connectivity with nurses, physician, relatives, etc., will require more and more bandwidth.”

Brian Butler, a professor at the University of Maryland, responded, “Unless you get the system built right, the technology is more likely to be a chased fad than a true killer app. See, for example, genomics and personalized medicine. While we need to continue technical development the challenge at this point is to build the institutional, professional, and patient skills and practices needed to do something with it on more than a pilot testing level.”

Linda Neuhauser, clinical professor at the School of Public Health at the University of California-Berkeley, responded, “The ‘killer apps’ are likely to be those that ‘zone in’ on handling issues over which people want to have more control. Video is important to model how to make change. Other new tools will be those that are able to manage multiple variables of interest to people in managing their health. Those applications are already available to a very small percentage of people… Once people have discovered that by harnessing multiple personal health factors, it is empowering and those applications are eagerly adopted. Right now, wristbands and other practical ways to access this information are being used by an ‘informed 20% of the population.’ I think that will increase to half of the population by 2025. Wearable monitors will be extremely important by 2015.”

Brad Berens, a senior research fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future commented, “Ultrahigh bandwidth will expand the canvases for education, commerce, and entertainment even more in the near future than they already have. One common statistic, for example, is that only 6% of commerce in 2013 is ecommerce. By 2025 all commerce will have a digital component, but it will by hybrid online/offline rather than just one or another. However, while bandwidth will be ever cheaper and ever plentiful, another technology to watch carefully for increased development and progress is battery technology. Google Glass, for example, will never be what it can be so long as it is tethered to a two-hour battery life and also dependent on an anchoring smartphone.”

Theme 5) New digital divides may open as people gain opportunities on different timelines and with different tools.

The International Telecommunication Union estimates that by the end of 2014 the number of Internet users globally will have reached nearly 3 billion. Two-thirds of the world’s current Internet users live in the developing world, still, Internet-user penetration is at 78% in developed countries and 32% in developing countries. Globally, there are 4 billion people not yet using the Internet, and more than 90% of them are in the developing world.11

In every country there is a divide between those who have access to the best tools and network connections and those who do not. The US is no exception. Businesses and the public are generally being required to pay their Internet service providers a higher price to get better connectivity to information. A connection to the gigabit Internet can cost up to $1,200 annually in fees, and the tools to take advantage of that access can add to that cost. Many respondents to this study said they expect a widening divide between those who are equipped to communicate at the premium level and those who do not.

Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz, founders of the online community Awakening Technology, based in Portland, Oregon, commented, “On the consumer side, ‘bandwidth to burn’ is usually thought to be most likely used for entertainment and sports … On the side of corporate, government, science and technology, drug discovery, and other complex institutions, things like big data analysis, visualization, real-time dashboards, environmental monitoring and control (such as smart buildings, etc.), and so on are certainly important apps in the gigabit age. These applications in turn will only be in the common interest if enough people rise up nonviolently and demand public oversight and universal, affordable Internet access. For example, see the new Community Informatics Declaration: An Internet for the Common Good—Engagement, Empowerment, and Justice for All.”

Virginia Bird, director of New River Public Library Cooperative, wrote, “We are still waiting for gigabit connections in rural America. Companies don’t want to spend the money on infrastructure to serve few people. There might be killer apps but reach will be limited.”

Some argued that if it is true that a gigabit network will greatly accelerate change in education and health, then Internet access and use will become more life-enhancing and that means that digital divides can be life-threatening. David Hughes, a retired US Army Colonel who, in 1972, pioneered individual to/from digital telecommunications, wrote, “Health and physical welfare monitoring of each and all living Americans, perhaps 350 million by 2025, will require vast amounts of bandwidth, wired and wireless, extending into all homes and places of work. At 85, I am already grateful for the Centronics heart monitoring device connected to my doctors via wireless and, within the house, to my defibrillator, but via the less-than-reliable telephone lines available to widowed me, living alone.”

The head of a department in a state government agency wrote, “There are two digital divides: rural/urban and rich/poor. Rural areas do not yet have bandwidth because the investment is so high and economic returns are so low. Those who are poor are continually more and more neglected and left out of digital advances, especially those whose poverty is the result of poor education and lack of basic literacy skills. In many ways this disenfranchisement is getting worse as government agencies—even those who are supposed to serve the poor—ignore the lack of access and ability to access services.”

An information science professional based in Colorado wrote, “The infrastructure cost to push this connectivity to non-urban areas will be prohibitive and create an even greater digital divide between urban and rural communities. This leads to further inequality in education and job preparedness for rural communities—and, I am sure, added resentment from rural areas toward urban areas.”

Christopher Wilkinson, a retired European Union official, board member for EURid.eu, and Internet Society leader said, “The US is moving into an economic and demographic phase where inequalities result in the majority of the population not experiencing any ‘progress’ in terms of education, income, or other welfare. I doubt that those folk will be interested in, or able to afford, leading-edge, new killer apps.”

An information science professional who remained anonymous wrote, “My bandwidth concern is mostly that some places are being left behind … Some rural areas have no Internet access at all. In others, it is too slow to handle all these wonderful new high-bandwidth apps. I’m thinking specifically of Arkansas and West Virginia.”

An entrepreneur and business leader said, “The gap between those whose know of and can afford to use the killer apps and the rest will be greater and greater over time. The knowledge of technology and the way of thinking about reality for those who are immersed in technology will be a second language—even a second culture—shared globally. I also see a gap opening between those who know how to create those killer apps and those who are only prepared to use them intuitively without metaview of architecture and meaning—technological builders, technological users, and the rest. Multiple gaps between multiple cultures of relationship to technology.”

David Solomonoff, president of the New York Chapter of the Internet Society, wrote, “There is still a very uneven distribution of bandwidth—even in prosperous, technically advanced countries. We may see a lot more innovation in the developing world [outside the US] in the near future because they adapt to wireless mesh networks and leapfrog past countries that are hamstrung by incumbent service providers.”

Karen Riggs, a professor of media arts at Ohio University, responded, “Time and space have been, as we have known it, collapsed in the Internet age. More powerful networks of information flow and tools developed by creative individuals (many in the corporate sector) will create a far more directly networked planet. This does not suggest that power will become equally shared, because powerful corporate and governmental ‘digital haves’ will strive to dominate these channels. Power, however, will not be static and will create new opportunities, as we see now with the growing Internet capacities of China and Google. Positively, human relationships can be positively affected through advances, with the prospect of personal presence far exceeding the technical capacity of Skype and the social practice of Internet dating, for example. I am not a technologist, but it is obvious that ICT [information and communication technologies] advances are careening toward the immersive and transformative. As usual, creative tensions will be at work between those who introduce and initially control implementation of technologies and those who constitute the users, who historically have adapted technologies for their own purposes and in the result have altered design itself.”

Tim Kambitsch, an activist Internet user, spoke of a different sort of digital divide. He wrote, “Content access will be effortless if the content can be found. With the explosion of new content escalating at a rapid pace, the strategies for identifying what is worth viewing, reading, listening to, will be more important than any future increase in bandwidth. The digital divide will switch from those with or without bandwidth to those with or without the capacity to navigate and acquire the right content. The cost of content is an important part of the equation, so copyright and intellectual property rights may be the defining difference.”

If people work together, advancing technologies are likely be used in collaborative efforts to bridge some divides, some of these experts believe. Stacey Higginbotham, a Texas-based technology writer and frequent blogger for GigaOM, commented, “In terms of schooling and work, it could happen in your home, which could change the way homes are designed in order to offer privacy and minimize distractions. If you take gigabit networks and software-defined networks, you could parcel out elements of a home network to serve as a neighborhood-shared network that might aggregate video camera views and info outside people’s homes or provide connectivity for ambulances and public safety when they are driving through. You could even view millions of gigabit homes containing hundreds of computers (actual computers but also smart appliances or set top boxes) and run software that aggregates them, creating a neighborhood data center. Imagine everyone running the equivalent of a SETI@home program to provide compute capacity for a charity or even a corporation.”

Theme 6) Who knows? ‘I have no idea due to rapid change.’ ‘The best Internet apps are yet to emerge.’ ‘If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you, I would invest in it!’

Garland McCoy, president and founder of the Technology Education Institute, responded, “If I told you of my killer apps I would have to kill you—just kidding. Obviously the Internet of things, IPv6, etc., have not yet kicked in but when they do, look out. There will be machine-to-machine communications, radio frequency identification—all is possible. And if you can back haul with fiber quickly you free up spectrum, so there will be micro transponders everywhere.”

A top leader at the Internet Society wrote, “I don’t think we can predict innovation between now and 2025. No one could have predicted the similar advances in the past period.”

Robert Bell of IntelligentCommunity.org responded, “I have absolutely no idea what they will be. I was once consulted on the creation of a conference on gigabit applications and advised the organizers that no one would be able to address the topic because there are no gigabit applications. They didn’t believe me until they checked and found out I was right. But leaps in bandwidth have triggered explosions of online creativity each time they have happened, and there is no reason to think it will not happen again.”

A computer science and security professor at Purdue University wrote, “If I knew what the technologies were I’d be investing and inventing them! Increased capacity always leads to new developments. However, issues of Internet protocol, security, and social stratification will all have an effect. Given the ossified business models of most Western telecom providers I would expect that some of the real innovation may come from other sources.”

Munir Mandviwalla, an associate professor and chair of the business school at Temple University commented, “My generation grew up with the screech of the telephone modem, we are ‘genetically’ limited in our thinking about how to use gobs of bandwidth. My son’s generation is the always on excess bandwidth generation. They will have ideas that we cannot think of.”

Micky Hingorani, program manager at AVAC, which does global advocacy for HIV prevention, wrote, “If I knew, I’d be working on it right now.”

Amy Crook, an assistant in the IT department of a large public accounting firm, responded, “I don’t know what these tools will be, and can’t imagine the new immersive experiences that await us. If I knew how to dream up the next big thing, wouldn’t I be lucky?”

Justin Reich, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said, “If I knew, I wouldn’t be telling you; I’d be making a killing! I’m not sure what creative new ideas people will come up with, but I suspect they will.”

Fredric Litto, a professor emeritus at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, responded, “Yes, but I cannot identify them at this time, for, if I could, I would be actively involved in setting up one or more startups to make them come about. But as long as there is money to be made in innovating products and services, society as a whole will be benefitted. Optimism in this sector is easily justified.”

Theme 7) Advances will be gradual for various reasons: Bandwidth is not the issue. The US will continue to lag by 2025 because a widespread gigabit network is not easily achieved.

A number of respondents to this study responded in various ways to indicate that they do not think it likely that a gigabit network will enable new, different, and wondrous things by 2025.

Dave Burstein, editor of Fast Net News, basically predicted that by 2025 more people will be connecting through mobile devices to goods and services “in the cloud.” He wrote, “One ‘app’ that already exists but is not pervasive is likely to become crucial to most people. I do most of my work on Google Drive in the ‘cloud.’ I’m starting to put my music there as well. I’m writing this 2,000 miles away from home and it’s as smooth as though I’m on my own machine. Nearly all of us will carry Internet-connected ‘smartphones’ and it will be so convenient to access our stuff that we’ll move much of our work and life to the ‘cloud’ as we have better connections.”

Ian Rumbles, a technology developer and administrator, said, “One of the challenges that still exists is access to reliable high-speed wherever you go. So possibly it is an infrastructure change that will really explode the use of technology and the new apps.” A pioneering academic computer scientist from Princeton University agreed, writing, “Currently access to reliable high bandwidth is spotty. Some people have it at home, but we can’t rely on having good bandwidth everywhere at all times. The biggest change going forward is that we will have good bandwidth available more often. This will make new types of system architectures, which assume connectivity, possible.”

Thomas Lenzo, a self-employed consultant in the areas of training, technology, and security, wrote, “I don’t see any killer apps. I do see modifications and improvements of the various apps we now have or that are in development.”

Jerome McDonough, an associate professor at the University of Illinois, responded, “A ‘killer app’ has traditionally been considered an application which was sufficiently compelling to drive the uptake of a new device in both the business and the personal markets. Killer apps are very hard to develop in the face of a massive installed base of devices, which is what we have now with personal computers and mobiles. And to date, most of those devices do not fully exploit even their existing bandwidth capacity. If there are killer apps to be found they will probably involve networking devices which are not currently employing network capabilities at all (e.g., cars and appliances), but significant advances necessary to develop a ‘must-have’ application in those domains also confronts the installed base problem as well as the need for standardization of communication protocols. I don’t see that happening in a 12-year time frame. And I’m not sure any of those will really require significant bandwidth increases.”

The vice president of research and consumer media for a research and analysis firm responded, “With the rapid digitization and delivery of high-quality video and large databases by 2025 we’ll have reached the last of all current applications that have been moved to the Net. There are no kinds of information that are going to require large quantities of speedy bandwidth. Future applications will be relatively compact or about the size of current applications: imaging, 3D printer files, communications, virtual reality.”

A browser engineer for Mozilla wrote, “Gigabit-per-second links are not going to enable anything significant. Telepresence will be better but not significantly so.” An Internet pioneer who has been in the field since the 1970s wrote, “We have enough now!”

Thomas Haigh, an information technology historian and associate professor of information studies at the University of Wisconsin, responded, “Twelve years is not that long, and killer applications do not arrive very often. Recent popular applications like social networking and Twitter were not particularly related to advances in network bandwidth, though they did benefit from network ubiquity and personal devices. Streaming video has matured with higher bandwidth, and will continue to benefit from it, but that’s hardly unique and compelling.”

Manuel Landa, the CEO of Urban360, a Mexican start-up, wrote, “More bandwidth will create incremental improvements in certain areas, but overall it is going to be similar to digital photography, where the real improvement from an 8 megapixel camera and a 32 megapixel camera is irrelevant for most of the people.”

Peter McCann, a senior staff engineer in the telecommunications industry, responded, “The bandwidth-intensive apps that exist today (media streaming, telepresence, etc.) will continue to be the primary consumers of Internet resources in 2025, although they will be packaged in easier-to-use formats and new rights-management frameworks will evolve.”

Liam Pomfret, a PhD student in online consumer privacy at the University of Queensland, Australia, responded, “While I think it’s likely that we’ll continue to see great strides being made in mobile and wearable computing, I don’t feel these will be anything but incremental advances of the technology already being presented with Google Glass.”

Governments’ goals, Internet service providers’ motivations, and evolving standards were seen by some people as key hurdles to the evolution of better connectivity and new applications.

A post-doctoral researcher wrote, “The same actors who are fighting against Net Neutrality or peer-to-peer technologies will also be concerned about the increase in the bandwidth. Online piracy, for example, will be unstoppable and more the norm with increased bandwidth. Communication networks like AT&T and others will have reasons to fight change or at least negotiate it in their favor.”

Vytautas Butrimas, chief adviser to a major government’s ministry, with experience in ICT and defense policy, commented, “The big question mark is how far government-surveillance apps will go and at what cost to society.”

Fernando Botelho, a social entrepreneur working to enhance the lives of people with disabilities wrote, “Speed can enable qualitative changes in the way the network is used, but real innovation requires widespread experimentation and the type of decentralized and thriving ecosystem that only factors such as network neutrality and truly open standards can enable.”

Dominic Pinto, a trust and foundation manager active in the Internet Society and IEEE, commented, “It’s unpredictable other than to say that people will continue to develop apps, Microsoft and others will continue to develop ever-bloated programs, services and apps, and governments and bureaucracies will want more and more online, and more and more monitored and controlled. And there’s as much interest and demand in the private sector as well as the spooks.”

John Anderson, director of broadcast journalism at Brooklyn College, wrote, “This question premises ‘significant increases in bandwidth’ between now and 2025. It bears remembering that, as a part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, telecommunications companies promised to invest hundreds of billions to build out that 21st century communications infrastructure we say we need. But we’re still waiting on that, and even today network development isn’t really about investing in infrastructure: it’s about maximizing profits on what there is, most notably through the notions of tiered access and data discrimination. Broadband isn’t even ubiquitous yet; how long do you think it will be until gigabit is?”

The director of an entertainment media coalition wrote, “Innovation has almost always trumped bandwidth and spectrum scarcity, but this dynamic may not last forever. Take for example, the mobile space. Verizon and AT&T’s growing duopoly over the wireless market may drive up costs for consumers. Worse, these companies (as well as wireline ISPs like Comcast) are imposing caps, charging customers extra if they use more than a small amount of data per month. Of course, these companies would allow data delivered by their own applications and services (or those of their preferred partners) to not be held against caps. As Cardozo Law School professor Susan Crawford writes, ‘Data caps are excellent tools with which to make as much money as possible from an existing monopoly facility.’ That’s not good for competition, consumer pricing, or innovation. There’s also the issue of whether unlicensed spectrum is available to research and development that could usher in the next wave of networked innovation. Voluntary spectrum auctions and repackaging may create some opportunities, but that remains to be seen.”
Jonathan Sterne, a professor in the department of art history and communication studies at McGill University, responded, “This is an infrastructure question. Will new lines be put down that can accommodate massive increases in bandwidth for average users? The year 2025 is only 11 years away—that’s not enough time for a complete overhaul of the telecommunications infrastructure.”

Natascha Karlova, a PhD candidate at the University of Washington Information School, wrote “Significant increases in bandwidth—? US consumers pay more money for slower Internet than most industrialized nations. Besides, in 2025, bandwidth doesn’t matter—data service does. It’s all about mobile.”

Some said “bandwidth” isn’t the issue.

Fred Hapgood, a self-employed science and technology writer, responded, “Bandwidth is not a limiting resource. We have enough bandwidth right now to take care of the big applications in prospect, such as smart homes. The barrier is all in software and standards and the price of implementation. I don’t think holograms are going to prove to be a very big deal. 3D never has.”

Bob Frankston, Internet pioneer and technology innovator, responded, “Using ‘bandwidth’ is the wrong framing of the question. That’s like asking if more railroad tracks will … oh never mind! This question is so retro that it’s stupid. It’s like asking about thicker dictionaries. This fixation on bandwidth misses the entire point of the Internet!”

Raymond Plzak, former CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, and current member of the Board of Directors of ICANN, wrote, “Just as the envisioned killer apps of the 1990s did not appear in the form that the conventional wisdom of the 1990’s anticipated, to a certain extent that is still true. For example no one really predicted that television advertising would, instead of being supplanted by Web-based advertising, surpass it and in fact become a major way of getting to the Web-based merchandisers. One can expect continual adaption and evolution in the way people live and conduct business and leisure to be the norm and not a true killer app despite what the promoters of popular social media sites might say to the contrary.”

Dave Rustin, a digital serial entrepreneur and former digital global corporate executive, responded, “Fiber optics is the enabler. The largest bankruptcy in telecommunications history is just a slight example of how picking up oceanic fiber optic capacity shifted economies, education, and learning. Having oceanic fiber strands bought for pennies on the dollar enabled off-shoring to occur. Off-shoring had less to do with trade agreements or policies as it had to do with cheap, available optical bandwidth. Only a fool or someone psychic can say what 2025 is or ‘killer applications’ will be—they have yet to be created. They will be created by better education systems, public/private collaborations in research and development with universities and corporations, and university start-ups. Advancements by way of technology applied in capital formation are desperately needed whereby the access to capital is not through the old angel, venture capitalist, and PE paradigms of today.”

Tim Mallory, information science professional, responded, “Just faster speeds will occur, possibly by multiplexing bandwidth paths. It will seem new, but it will all still be ones and zeroes. A real breakthrough would be to find a replacement for binary code. Experimental science and information theory, though, predict that one ‘bit” is the smallest information quantum. This does apply to sequential media—but what about analog and quantum processes?”

Mike Caprio, software engineer for a consulting firm, responded, “There will be no significant increases in bandwidth in the United States between now and 2025 if the current state of affairs is not completely disrupted. The monopolistic corporate oligarchies of telecommunications providers will not allow it.”

Will enhanced interconnectedness lead mostly to video entertainment on steroids? Rex Cornelius, retired Information science professional, wrote, “Application development since the 1990s has been driven by use of devices for entertainment. I can imagine further development, but not a new distinctive use for bandwidth.”

Jim McQuaid, former chair of the Benchmarking Methodologies Working Group of the Internet Engineering Task Force, responded, ” The idea of ‘killer apps’ is overrated. However, if we succeed in increasing bandwidth to the home sufficiently, television as we know it will end. Broadcast is likely to be overcome by Internet-based television and movies.”

Michael Maranda wrote, “I expect change to be incremental. Part of it is a failure of imagination and a desire for entertainment and escape. More video sharing and more gaming? These are not impressive. We’re not building the infrastructure in a creatively open way nor are we cultivating the technical skills to manipulate an open infrastructure. The absence of these keeps technological change beholden to old models of revenue generation and locked down networks.”

Ben Fuller, the dean of sustainable development at the International University of Management in Windhoek, Namibia, commented, “Gigabit connectivity will mean the ability to both collect and transmit a lot of data in real time. The key question will be whether or not apps will be able to take that incoming data from a large array of sources and put it all together in meaningful ways so it can be transmitted back to users. Or, will it be just multiple streams of The Simpsons? Associated with computing power will be the technologies that underlie immersive media experiences. If someone can get interactive 3D technology right, then a wide range of applications becomes possible. I can see major opportunities in many fields, like education and medicine.”

  1. See The World in 2014: ICT Facts and Figures from the ITU http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Documents/facts/ICTFactsFigures2014-e.pdf