Welcome to the newly designed site of the Global Telecom Women’s Network!
This month, Ashurst Morris Crisp and Spectrum Strategy Consultants are hosting a GTWN Power Lunch on Wednesday, November 13th at 12:30 p.m. at the Ashurst Morris Crisp headquarters. The discussion topic for the luncheon will be “Is Content the Killer Application for Broadband?”
We are also featuring one of our member’s articles about this subject, “Europe Online – Building the Next Generation Network” by Candace Johnson.
Europe Online -Building the Next Generation Network For Today’s Citizens Candace Johnson, President Europe Online Investments S.A., GTWN Founding Speaker
Imagine beaming content from one place to another without transporting it.
Imagine talking on the computer while you are downloading a virtual learning game for the kids while sharing the thrills of a classic Hollywood Movie with your loved one.
Imagine creating a meaningful living / work area within the space you desire, be it at home or office, and being totally connected to the world and various communities you have chosen via one device when, where, and how you want.
Imagine pooling the various resources at hand today in the developed world and harnessing them to try and exercise a global citizen’s responsibility, whether at home or abroad, to make the world a little better when we leave it then when we came.
This truly is the promise of Next Generation Networks – networks, which, now liberated from all barriers, serve people in all environments around the world, enabling them hopefully to lead better lives. For just like the Industrial Revolution which preceded it, the Global Communication and Information Revolution is but a tool to help us all create value, or as Saint Exupéry said, « to feel as if when you are posing your stone, you are helping build the world ».
At Europe Online, we have tried to build a network that not only reflects the new paradigm of the digital world but also takes into account the needs of citizens. It is a world, which has become idea-driven instead of market- or technology- driven. It is a world where universal « convergence » and « networking » have not only brought about the « Death of Distance » as coined by Frances Cairncross, but also made « Time stand still », due to the great advances in storage and storage area networking. It is a world, which celebrates and depends on the individual and his or her ability and passion to make his or her impact on the world.
In order to define this « Next Generation Network » and to really architect a network infrastructure which would reflect and fulfill the needs of the new paradigm of the digital world, we at Europe Online devised the following maxim for our satellite-based IP Broadband Next Generation Network:
:: The Medium is the Message
:: Content is Delivery
:: Storage is Transport
:: Push is Pull
The Medium is the Message
The old maxim of the broadcasters of « one to many » has been shattered by the Internet which not only allows but inspires « many to one » or « many to many » communication and production. It is not clear at all if such file-sharing applications as Napster and Gnutella are the copyright “agents of evil” they are made out to be or if they are simply giving rise to a new art or communication / production form, akin to « Theme and Variations » of the Renaissance and Baroque musical epochs.
In any case, what is clear, is that in the Next Generation Broadband Internet Networks, there must be a flowering of content and it must come from new sources. Who better, in the age of interactivity, profiling, personalization, and agents, than the content consumer to become the content creator and communicator? Particularly in Europe, the rich diversity of cultures and languages lends itself to content creation, production and communication where the « medium is the message ».
Content is Delivery – Content is Connectivity
Increasingly, the technology world is beginning to understand that even in an age of unprecedented amount of available bandwidth, it is inefficient to transport the same content multiple times over bandwidth. In an age of « object-oriented technology », this inefficiency becomes heresy to the content or « bit » itself which needs to obtain additional properties to become more valuable to the creator, consumer, or communicator. Hence, the rise in « peer to peer » networks or as this author likes to refer to it « beaming content from one place to another without transporting it ».
In any case, « peer to peer » and « content networks » are much more akin to a distributed network architecture and a “Global Village” approach where every citizen is a player.
Storage is Transport
With the cost of storing data spiraling downwards and the efficiency of storage area networks rocketing starwards, the maxim « Storage is Transport » makes good economic and commercial sense. Thus, Europe Online has created not only a « Digital Library » or « Content Warehouse » on its own premises to host the most popular digital products, movies, games, software, applications, music, etc. at its network center, instead of transporting it mindlessly back and forth across the network, it is also forging ahead with plans to create « personalized digital libraries » on users’ individual network platform devices, be they set-top boxes, Ethernet lans, or individual « blue tooth » servers to be queried via a DVD, mobile phone, MP3 player, refrigerator or what have you.
In the developing world, where bandwidth and transport infrastructure are at a premium, distributed storage networks could be an inexpensive reliable way to disseminate knowledge and simplify logistics. In fact, recent studies have shown that when carefully architected, storage networks could allow a population of 5 million inhabitants to effectively and efficiently communicate on 12 Mbps of bandwidth.
Push is Pull
It is a well-known statistic that over 80% of the Internet community draw up the same top Web sites around the world. Even though this « broadcast » phenomenon in the Internet is paradoxical to the « many to one » and « many to many » nature of the Internet, it is one to be capitalized on in architecting Next Generation Networks. The art of « multicasting » and properly targeting, profiling and personalizing multicasting is one that next generation network operators must master if they, and most importantly, their users are to derive the most benefits from their networks.
Properly used, « multicasting » is perhaps the greatest « community builder » for next generation networks. At the same time, multicasting offers great bandwidth efficiencies as well as content and anonymous- or personalized-user profile aggregation. In the “asymmetric” and «asynchronous» world as the Internet «Push becomes Pull».The Europe Online Network
Against the background of the new paradigm of the digital world and the desire and need to create a « next generation network » along the lines described above, Europe Online set about architecting its network for the 21st century, the era of the «Celebration of the Individual».
In order to create a community of users who would be inspired from and create a rich diverse, new interactive content, Europe Online chose to go on the Astra satellite system, which gathers citizens from the UK to the Urals; from Portugal to Finland within its beam. 27 million individual households in this true cyber “space” have satellite dishes to capture content on their TV’s or PC’s. Another 50 million have cable connections to their TV’s or PC’s fed by the Astra satellite signals. And all fiber, DSL, and mobile networks can take and contribute to the signal as well. The Internet Protocol (IP) content produced by Europe Online, its partners, and its users is encapsulated in the transport mechanism of the DVB – Digital Video Broadcasting Standard – the most promulgated European standard, even above but compatible with GSM, UMTS and the like.
For the storage, connectivity, and transport that equates to the content of the Europe Online Network, huge fiber optic lines connect the « earth » content to the « sky » content on its way to and from the citizen, creator, communicator and consumer, be it via his or her home TV or PC or his or her office PC or TV.
Corresponding disk space, — be it at the center of the network, at content/connectivity partners, at the edges of the network, or at end-users‘devices — provide for the content, its storage, transport and creation. Europe Online Network applications intertwine existing digital TV and radio content on the Astra satellite system (more than 400 digital television channels) with the new interactive content created by, for and with Europe Online content partners, providers and users. Digital Rights Management technologies are used by those desiring them in order to create and be remunerated for value.
Build and they shall come
In the idea-driven world of the Global Communication and Information Society, Europe Online is doing its part to contribute toward building an infrastructure which reflects the lives and needs of our time.