Tag Archives: future

The future of email

Despite the numbers being suspect (see Return Path’s post here for a good look at why); the following chart from Morgan Stanley got me thinking.

Email and Social Networking Growth

As a result, I just posted my thoughts about the future of email over on the DMA Email blog on how email’s future is destined to continue but as just one of several “tools” within the social network toolset. It also looks at what this means for marketers going forward. Rather than republish the entire post here; please click here to view it in its entirety.

what if your IP was portable?

Thinking about the internet and its makeup. Today, when you connect to the internet, whether it is from your phone or from your computer, it is given an IP address from whatever ISP you are connected to. If you travel somewhere and connect to the internet somewhere else using the exact same device it is given an entirely different IP address.

But what if it wasn’t? What if it was your own permanent address? Just like the address you live at, or your phone number. Suddenly whereever you are you could be reached over the global Internet.

I want to give this some more thought, but I started down this path due to the impending popularisation of IPv6 which will allow for further IP addresses (given to unique devices that connect to the Internet) to become available (compared to IPv4 which we use today).

Of course the Internet is not built this way – you can’t take IP addresses with you wherever you go – so the structure of the entire Internet would probably need to be altered to achieve this; I guess this makes it completely non feasible. But there is another way to get this same functionality without a fundamental change to the internet. Dynamic DNS – it has been around for ages, and used by geeks worldwide to alow their home Internet connections to act as Internet servers. The basic principle is that when a device connects to the internet, it connects to a known location online and identifies itself, effectively acting as a phone book. Using this system you, in effect, have a portable Internet connected identity similar to a portable IP address.

Why is this useful? Do we need every device to act as a server or be reachable? One possibility is that it could work as a form of authorisation or authentication tool – identifying centrally what 3rd party systems are allowed to know about an individual. Another obvious one is as a form of standardised Internet enabled communication device.

There must be more..

TV service providers – the future

Having looked at the future of bandwidth, I started thinking about video as this is the major consumer of bandwidth today is video.

There is a huge amount of growth in this area online. Amazon’s Unbox, Cinema Now and iTunes all provide movies online and each file is 1.7GB in size. At 24Mbps this would take just under 10 minutes.. at 50Mbps the same movie would download in (unsurprisingly!) half the time. The time saving is nice but it’s not instant – from a consumer standpoint, you cannot beat now. Some form of instant start with it downloading in the background is much better. As per Virgin Media’s TV on Demand service. Using this method the speed increase makes little difference.

So where does the speed increase really start to help? The Livestation service allows you to deliver TV quality content via broadband. But so what? I can already get TV quality content. It’s called my TV 😉 They need to offer more than just the normal TV does. I am looking forward to seeing what this will be, at the moment the service is in beta and I wonder if it will end up being a platform licensed to existing TV providers instead.

BT Vision is an example of where the TV is being improved upon, but it is nothing new. Cable and satellite providers have been doing it for ages. Video on demand. So same thing just via a different medium. Still using the quickly evolving internet technologies may allow for a faster evolution of services than others. This evolution of services would increase bandwidth requirements if only because they would make the user consumer more content.

One improvement that has already rolled out on cable and satellite is HDTV. Providing HD over broadband for example would use around 15Mbps of bandwidth (compared to around 8Mbps for standard TV) so suddenly 24Mbps doesn’t sound like much. Whilst quality content and ease of use is still the major decision maker, things like HDTV, cross platform integration and other technologies are going to have an effect.

It strikes me that bandwidth will matter eventually. Homechoice was one of the first to integrate the TV and broadband connection but everyone I know who tried it has left now, which speaks volumes. It will be interesting to see what Tiscali will do with it now they have bought the service. It is no small ask but potentially, Virgin Media can put themselves in a strong position. They obviously need to provide quality content on demand and improve its interface but if they can innovate and take advantage of their bandwidth scale then there would be little the other broadband providers could do.. except Sky. They have been the innovator, bringing out products like Sky Plus and integrating its online services with its TV packages. Today, Sky is the company in a strong position.

Sky also have the bandwidth scale at least one way (the way that matters) via its satellite system, Virgin Media has bandwidth scale both ways. Historically, the old cable companies haven’t taken advantage of this but maybe now they are owned by one company – Virgin Media – things could change. BT doesn’t have the bandwidth scale past 24Mbps in the short term – will Sky and Virgin be able to take advantage?