Friday, September 04, 2009

If Broadband Was Free And Instant .... Or What COULD Be The Future Of Broadband In A Virtual World

This is obviously a hypothetical question ..... and I encourage you to brainstorm and leave your own ideas as comments.

Now here goes .......

If WAN connections cost practically nothing ... and were so fast and reliable that errors, bandwidth, capacity, and latency were never an issue .... then what amazing revolutionary uses can you think of?

Here's a few to chew on and get the juices flowing ...

1) Appropriate use of location beacons to aid traffic flow (appropriate = without compromising personal privacy) and therefore optimise fuel consumption and speed travel times.

(2) Background health monitoring - e.g. for those with chronic diseases such that the growing array of health-tracking sensors could be something that facilitated less stressful travel outside of the home environment.

(3) Security enabled private monitoring - again allowing for privacy considerations, it would be great if as parents we could glance at our mobile phone and know where our teenage kids were at all times. Naturally you would only want the tracking to be available to authorised users and not subject to abuse.

(4) Genuine energy consumption optimization management within office buildings and private homes - smart AI based programs could monitor building occupancy levels and automatically turn on and off lights. Smart management of air conditioning and heating. Kicking in low energy standby mode for a whole host of appliances.

For me there would be a whole host of quality-of-life enhancements that would become practical and indeed cost-effective with a ubiquitous broadband "cloud" around us.

I know that individually none of the above solutions are amazing or revolutionary. But the cumulative impact of the incremental improvements would be life-changing and perhaps even planet-saving.

To go a bit further ... and maybe even more practical (at least from the business world perspective) ... consider the many office workers in the world today.

Think about it ..... they do need to go to the office, they do not build physical things or manage plant equipment, and do not need to directly collaborate on a continous basis. They could just as easily meet in virtual environments. There would be huge savings in avoiding commuting to the office (time, gas, vehicle costs, environmental impact). Office space could be scaled back (infrastructure savings). As long as the phones are diverted you could have meetings in the virtual world. Documents can all be electronic etc.

The work force could be further dispursed without the need to regularly come into work. Distance would no longer be a factor. Also, as long as the Virtual Environment is setup like a normal office ..... managing the people should not be too different. Although new tools may be needed. I'm sure Microsoft or some other entreprenurial entity would be happy to fill any need.

It would also be possible to build web monitoring of Factories etc into the virtual world using web cameras etc. You could visit a factory in another state or country to see how its operating without actually going there.

Robots could be used as avatars in the real world to interact with the virtual world. A virtual avatar linked to a robot seeing all the same things that exist in the real environment could interact in industry's with manufacturing etc. This is particularly handy in dangerous industries, as it is currently used in bomb disposal but linked to a virtual environment.

That's just a bit of "brainstorming" as a starter. Now ... what does YOUR imagination say? Leave a comment and share!

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