Series: Consumer Communications and Networking

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Natasha Simonovski

Series: Consumer Communications and Networking

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 12:32 — Natasha Simonovski

Recent trends in consumer networking are that consumers are both creators and producers of content (albeit of varying quality!) and peer distribution is the natural model. This is one of the emerging trends that impact how consumers can use devices to create, manipulate, store, and access content — and is surely a much different view compared to only five years ago where most experts still viewed the world in terms of servers and clients, producers and consumers as distinct and separate entities...indeed, there are still dinosaur organizations out there today who are fighting a rearguard action to protect their dwindling revenue streams because they haven't been brave enough to embrace this new model. Trends like this are ones that papers for the consumer communications and networking series should address.

We have also seen the technological reach of existing solutions being applied in unconventional ways where all aspects of our digital lives are being consumed to provide novel platforms where interoperation between disparate technologies is now possible. For example, the automotive industry is now producing cars that include ad hoc networks designed to provide multimedia solutions as well as links to wide area communications via satellite networks. Using these networking capabilities and interfaces such as USB we see automobile functionality being extended. In this sense the boundaries between the car and conventional consumer devices are beginning to blur.

Perhaps the sole technology responsible for the many technological advances we see today is communications. Example communications technologies include the emergence of 4G, LTE and WiMax, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Ultrawideband, TV-band, and Powerline. Applications of these technologies include personal and body area networking, home networking, massive multi-player game networks, ad-hoc networking, and sensor networking. These networks may be connected through networking layers that are cognitive, peer-to-peer enabled, and have the properties of self organisation and management. These networks will become key enablers where we are already seeing ubiquitous content distribution models, for example, television can now be viewed wherever we are and on any devices capable of connecting to one of the many networking paradigms defined above. With these networks we can expect a platform for true innovation where content distribution will overlay these networks using compression, rights management, delivery, and appropriate quality of service mechanisms that can be seamlessly moved over these next generation networks. All of this is made possible by networking, software and middleware that present to the service designer the tools to provide ease of use, security, and stunning interactivity to the end consumer.

 

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