3D real-time content will drive the Internet
Interview with online media expert Philippe Martineau
Content will be an important factor for the shaping of the Future Internet. The question is only, which content and which media will drive tomorrow’s online world. Eurescom mess@ge editor Milon Gupta asked online media expert Philippe Martineau about his vision. Mr Martineau was director of consulting and support services at Microsoft France until 2004. He is currently board director of French software company Prologue (http://www.prologue.fr) and CEO of IT consulting firm Eureva. One of the core trends he envisions is that there will be a transfer of computational power from the edge of the network to a more network-centric architecture, thus radically changing the way users experience content.
What do users expect from future media, and how will the games industry meet this demand?
Philippe Martineau: Difficult question – maybe kids are more knowledgeable than we are about Future Internet media. They know what is cool and what is not; they are able to re-appropriate technologies and turn them into planetary phenomena. Recent examples of such changes through re-appropriation by younger generations are SMS, instant messaging, and social networks. However, we have barely scratched the surface of what future media could be. Games are also part of the future-media universe, and they particularly leverage interactive 3D networked media.
Accessing tomorrow’s networked media with a swift 3D avatar is probably something our kids would give up their smileys for.
How will tomorrow's media impact the Future Internet?
Philippe Martineau: I view contents linked to technologies as the key driver to impact the Future Internet. Take for instance Pixar: originally, it was a firm doing a software rendering technology that turned into a multi-billion-dollar company, thanks to the appropriate contents. In tomorrow’s media, 3D real-time interaction, in combination with the appropriate contents, could drastically impact the Future Internet by putting extremely strong requirements on user-dedicated bandwidth, network latency, and quality of service. The two biggest challenges are probably network latency and quality of service, assuming the ever-increasing bandwidth trend continues.
So, the technological challenges to overcome in order to provide truly networked 3D real-time media interaction on a proliferating variety of devices are huge, and gaming will provide the appropriate user experience for the acceptance of such future media.
Which requirements do game developers have towards the Future Internet, and what are the challenges to overcome?
Philippe Martineau: Today, game developers are already pushing the boundaries of the network in terms of requirements.
Tomorrow, as large-scale content providers, the gaming sector will pose formidable challenges: on the one hand, to deliver ever-increased bandwidth, to bring an unprecedented high-definition gaming experience to the user; and on the other hand, bringing this experience in real time and flawlessly to the end-user, impacting scalability, latency and quality of service provided by the network.
Games, because of being the most demanding networked media, also provide the ideal application to benchmark new protocols that guarantee a quality of service. Thus, games will help in achieving the ultimate goal of making the network transparent.
In which way will the Future Internet change the business of media, entertainment and telecoms?
Philippe Martineau: Meeting user needs is a complicated process that requires cross-disciplinary research and development, as well as imagination, daring and chance; in the past years, the gaming industry has accumulated successes in that respect, to the level of being an undisputable reference driving innovation and creating a new industry.
The business of media and entertainment shall master content creation with the help and for the benefit of the users, on technological platforms, while telecoms network operators can ensure that the content is delivered in a reliable way.
Such a vision applies very well to games that leverage real-time 3D, because telecoms have the opportunity to monetize a premium service. However, new business models and still deeper industry transformation are yet to come. In order to have more insight on the latter, it might be wise to ask your kids.
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