Saturday, June 09, 2007

Will it all come to a grinding halt?

Three things happened that grabbed my attention this week. They all had a common thread.

First: Jane Nicholls @ *** ICT U Can! posted a clip where she introduced flixn.

Great stuff (again) Jane. Lots of educational and real world application.

Second: A good friend posted me a link to Blaise Aguera demonstrating Photosynth. Amazing stuff, and well worth viewing. My friend said he can't wait until this is everyday life.

Third: I spoke with some colleagues who earlier in the week had successfully trialled an inter school video chat. One beach side school showed off their beach to another beach side school, (1200 km apart) and they both shared their beaches with a school at Broken Hill, (on the fringe of the Great Australian Outback). About 1500 km from both. Check out the map here

So what's this common thread?

Well, as I type this, there is a debate happening in Australia regarding the necessity (or not, sadly) of a roll out of greater broadband services to our nation. (It's an election year in Australia). We currently have some government members stating that there is really no great need for faster internet. This is from the country that has the dubious distinction of having our (ex) Minister for Communications, Information Technology and The Arts, being called the World's biggest Luddite , by the The Register.

Innovators are currently reaping the benefits of a relatively untrafficked network. The unfortunate thing is that as more and more people adopt the technology and put it to productive use, then the network will groan and strain and ultimately fail under the load of the extra traffic. How will your LAN cope? What about your WAN? Is it able to cope with the exaflood?

Readers of this blog are innovators and pioneers in their respective fields. The technologies we are creating, discovering and putting to productive use are mostly dependant upon fast connection speeds and high volume data throughput. As educators our goal is to promote change in thinking. As the following diagram (from Going Virtual: Technology and the Future of Academic Libraries) shows, there can be no change or move towards a 21st century paradigm unless we have a reliable technological base.

What will happen to your local networks when every family in your district/region/state starts using flixen at the same rate as email. What about flixn spam?
Will members of your family be able to simultaneously be involved in an immersive high bandwidth experience like second life? What happens to video chat between schools when every student wants to share, rather than just one teacher?

Is your network (remember, the internet is just a network of networks)going to cope or break?