Developments in next generation applications and services NOVEMBER 2011

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1 Developments in next generation applications and services NOVEMBER 2011

2 Canberra Purple Building Benjamin Offices Chan Street Belconnen ACT PO Box 78 Belconnen ACT 2616 T F Melbourne Level 44 Melbourne Central Tower 360 Elizabeth Street Melbourne VIC PO Box Law Courts Melbourne VIC 8010 T F Sydney Level 5 The Bay Centre 65 Pirrama Road Pyrmont NSW PO Box Q500 Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230 T F Commonwealth of Australia 2011 This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to the Manager, Editorial Services, Australian Communications and Media Authority, PO Box Law Courts, Melbourne Vic Published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority

3 Contents Executive summary 1 1. Methodology 3 2. Introduction 4 3. Connectivity 6 E-health 7 E-education 8 SoHo and teleworking 9 Application security Video and voice Extending connectivity services 4. Collaboration 13 Cloud applications 13 Social media 14 Visual collaborative applications Distributed applications 17 Distributed grid computing 17 Security Motivation Projects and applications 6. Issues for regulation 20 Increased complexity 20 Increased fragmentation 20 User-centric responses Conclusion Glossary 23 acma iii


5 Executive summary Next generation networks (NGN) provide common internet protocol (IP)-based accessible infrastructure that is increasingly available to customers. In the past, dedicated networks delivered single services, such as the voice telephone service. By allowing interconnection to other like networks such as the internet, NGNs effectively remove carriage technology barriers to provide a broad foundation for next generation applications and services. This has implications for providers, users and regulators, as it not only changes the shape of applications and services, but also the nature of interaction in a converging industry. In this report, the term NGN is used broadly to describe a suite of technology developments that are occurring in core and access network architecture environments and are facilitating the development of innovative applications. Its focus is on the inherent NGN properties of: > connectivity (always-on communications) > collaboration (sharing and centralising resources and capabilities) > distributive networking (aggregation of disparate resources and capabilities). Next generation applications primarily provide connectivity that is characterised by being always on and readily accessible. Connectivity is providing the catalyst for e-health and teleworking service solutions. There are also ongoing developments in next generation access network infrastructure, such as fibre, wireless and femtocells that extend broadband connectivity and are supporting developments in video telephony and high definition (HD) voice applications. However, the shared infrastructure of next generation networks poses challenges in managing the security and reliability of information. Collaborative applications rely on the high-speed network connections of next generation access services along with cloud computing for data storage and management. Many of these applications, most notably social media applications, are both device-agnostic and platform-independent, which reduces take-up barriers. Cloud computing is changing the existing application service model from requiring software installation on a local machine or the purchase of application-specific infrastructure to one that accesses collaborative applications on a common access platform. This enables people to share, discuss, innovate, create, value and produce information, regardless of their location. Such flexibility brings many benefits for users, but also increased fragmentation of service components. This challenges regulatory models based on assumptions that service provision can be directly related to a specific carriage service or carriage service provider (CSP). Distributed applications combine the resources of thousands of individual computers to harness computing power to solve complex problems. Because a distributed application system segments a large task into many smaller tasks, computers around the world can each perform a small task simultaneously to reduce computation time from years to months or even days. Next generation access networks make distributed applications possible by providing the connecting infrastructure to utilise the disparate computing and data resources. The growth in use of multi-function devices, which are always connected to provide access to multiple applications, adds to an already complex service environment. Intelligent smartphones can activate decisions made under different circumstances acma 1

6 months or years after a user has installed an application, and connections can be created without user awareness. This smart functionality tests the bounds of users reasonable awareness and informed consent provision. The challenge for regulation is to accommodate not only the changes in the next generation access technologies used to provide convergent communications services but also the fragmentation of service components across different service providers. This includes service initiation agreements and the variety of techniques that can be used to deliver services and applications in the next generation environment. 2 acma

7 1. Methodology The ACMA undertakes research into Australians use of and participation in communications and media to understand the broader changes occurring in this environment. Technology developments that introduce innovative services and applications, change supply arrangements, and impact on consumers service use and preferences challenge some of the concepts and structures on which current regulatory arrangements are based. This research assists the ACMA in identifying the application of regulation to existing and new platforms, services and applications in a converging communications environment. Information in this report has been gathered using desktop research and focuses on those applications and services facilitated by next generation networks. This report is the fourth in a series examining the pressures of technology changes and developments on current regulatory arrangements: > Technology developments in the digital economy (August 2010) provides an overview of the major developments in networks and services that support the digital economy infrastructure technologies, smart technologies and developments in the digital community. The report details how digital technologies affect the interaction between individuals and organisations that now communicate using multiple forms of media in a variety of environments. > Developments in home networks (February 2011) explores digital communications developments occurring in the home network environment. It examines technological developments and product migration issues for homeowners, service providers and those in the industry that enable service delivery and digital content in the home beyond the network boundary, where the consumer has an increasingly active role. > Sensing and monitoring Recent developments (September 2011) examines the technologies that support data collection and information-harvesting, and how particular sectors of the digital economy are taking advantage of developments in sensing and monitoring. It also discusses some potential implications of these digital capabilities for users. Infrastructure developments are discussed further in this current report. Comments on this report are welcome and can be submitted to the following address: Manager, Technology Applications Section Australian Communications and Media Authority PO Box Law Courts Melbourne Vic 8010 acma 3

8 2. Introduction Next generation networks (NGN) provide common accessible infrastructure and are increasingly more available to the customer through broadband access technologies. In the past, vertically integrated dedicated networks delivered single services such as the voice telephone service. By allowing interconnection to other like networks such as the internet, NGNs effectively remove carriage technology barriers that provide a broad foundation for next generation applications and services. They also create an opportunistic low-risk environment where new applications can be implemented first on a small scale to test the market, and then globally. In Australia, NGN services and applications are already delivered by the major carriers and service providers that operate core next generation networks. These applications and services are available to users via technologies layered over legacy access networks. The NBN is expected to provide next generation access infrastructure through fibre to the home to fully integrate with service provider networks. Next generation access services facilitate access and carriage while the applications provide an interface for information exchange. They differ from traditional access services as they are always on and enable the integration of voice, data, images and video applications. Figure 1 depicts the next generation structure that enables the hosting of converged applications in a shared environment. Figure 1 Next generation environment 4 acma

9 In describing the next generation service environment, this report identifies the emerging applications by categories defined by the fundamental NGN properties: > connectivity (always-on communications) > collaboration (sharing and centralisation of resources and capabilities) > distributive networking (aggregation of disparate resources and capabilities). The current application, network and service-specific regulatory frameworks are being challenged by these technology developments. This report focuses on the developments in NGN access technologies that have spurred growth in connectivity, and collaborative and distributed applications. It examines regulatory implications arising from this more complex and fragmented service environment. acma 5

10 3. Connectivity Broadband technologies and penetration play an underpinning role in the development of connectivity-based applications. Next generation applications built on connectivity are primarily based on the always-on or accessible concept. In Australia, the next generation access networks of both fibre-optic cable and 4G wireless, through their ubiquity, low latency and high bandwidth, will promote the use of richer media applications with multiple simultaneous services. 1 NGN connectivity applications rely on minimum threshold coverage requirements for the application to have utility. NBN Co intends to make available enabling broadband infrastructure to all Australians, which will potentially provide universal access for next generation applications. In that context, the National Broadband Network (NBN) is expected to drive developments in information exchange, storage and access, interactive applications such as two-way communications, automated monitoring that moves data to people rather than people to data, and application-based overlays such as private networks. For disparate information technology architecture which can comprise multiple requesting clients and responding servers to work effectively, continuous network connectivity is required. Figure 2 outlines the basic connectivity components of web services that support many next generation applications. The underlying building blocks of all IP-based networks provide the necessary addressing and communications protocols. At a higher layer, the universal resource locator (URL), as a text-based identifier, provides the connectivity of web-based applications. Figure 2 Client server architecture This chapter explores further the connectivity applications in e-health, e-education and the residential environment of teleworkers. 1 S. Acharya, ITU World Radiocommunication Seminar highlights future communication technologies, ITU, media release, 6 December acma

11 E-health The Australian Government is tackling the issue of rising healthcare costs and an ageing population by reforming Australia s healthcare system. 2 One of the key drivers in reforming healthcare includes e-health, which aims to change the way healthcare is delivered by adopting new and advanced information and telecommunications applications and services customised for healthcare. 3 E-health solutions seek to complement or substitute the consultation and monitoring processes between medical service providers and those who require these services. According to National ICT Australia (NICTA), three key barriers to widespread e-health communications adoption in Australia are regulation, innovation and interoperability. NICTA highlights that pervasive broadband access, which facilitates the connectivity between patient, healthcare provider, service provider and healthcare facility, addresses these barriers. 4 While some e-health applications are being delivered over existing broadband technologies, the NBN access network is expected to improve universal access to e-health services, decrease costs, and provide a faster and more efficient service. 5 The National E-Health Transition Authority 6, a government body established to develop ways of electronically collecting and securely exchanging health data, has noted that future e-health projects and applications, such as the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system 7, will require faster and more reliable next generation access technologies. 8 For example, a patient s PCEHR may contain highquality medical images such as a magnetic resonance image (MRI) and computeraided tomography (CAT) scan that can be transferred and downloaded by the medical specialist for diagnosis in order to propose and monitor treatment more easily. 9 Next generation access services bridge the distance between the specialist and the facility by using technologies like HD video or telepresence for patient to specialist consultations. Video for healthcare requires high-grade image acquisition hardware and software, with controlled levels of ambient light and reflections, image compression techniques and high-quality visual displays so a specialist, at the other end of a communication, can correctly validate and diagnose a patient s condition with confidence. 10 Video consultations may also promote enhanced and more efficient use of a specialised workforce. The NSW Department of Health has implemented 2 Department of Health and Ageing, National Health Reform, viewed 5 July V. Della Mea, What is e-health (2): The death of telemedicine?, Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2001;3(2):e22, viewed 5 July National ICT Australia, Telehealth and pervasive broadband; Australian and International experience, viewed 5 July Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA), New inquiry into the National Broadband Network, February 2011, viewed 5 July National E-Health Transition Authority, viewed 5 July Department of Health and Aging, Personally controlled electronic health records, viewed 5 July Peter Fleming, The Future is Now: Electronic Health in Australia, Korean, Australian and New Zealand Broadband Summit 2011, viewed 5 July National E-Health and Information Principal Committee, National E-Health Strategy, 30 September 2008, tional%20ehealth%20strategy%20final.pdf, viewed 5 July American Telemedicine Association, Telehealth Practice Recommendations for Diabetic Retinopathy, February 2011, viewed 5 July acma 7

12 videoconferencing consultation covering multiple metropolitan, regional and rural NSW healthcare facilities. By connecting each healthcare facility, doctors are able to engage in real-time consultations with patients, especially at remote healthcare facilities where specialised support to other doctors is prohibitively expensive. 11 The Grampians Rural Health Alliance (GRHA) 12 achieved a similar outcome by connecting more than 40 healthcare facilities in western Victoria with high-speed access services to provide customised videoconferencing units that enabled rural healthcare facilities to maximise resources by reducing travel demands on doctors, and better coordinated support for patients and their families. 13 Automated healthcare monitoring is another application that relies on the high bit-rate and bi-directional capabilities of next generation access technologies. As medical sensing devices become miniaturised, they are following the trend in consumer electronics of being connected to the internet. These devices are able to sense, monitor and transmit vital patient information in real-time, which can assist the patient s doctor in decision-making and the treatment process. The capability to transfer important patient medical statistics to the healthcare provider may also result in fewer non-essential clinical visits and give patients more personalised healthcare. An example of at-home patient monitoring is a cardiac device that can automatically send vital information to the doctor, without any patient intervention, using a Wifi connection. 14 Over 200,000 people worldwide are using remote monitoring of cardiac devices. 15 E-education Improvements in the connectivity of computing devices, coupled with the proliferation of fixed and wireless next generation access services, has facilitated a shift in the way primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions deliver education to students. According to the University of Melbourne, students expect to have access to a range of technologies to support their education at any time of the day, from any location and on a range of devices. 16 These educational services can also support learning at a distance for some students who want to attend a metropolitan university, but for some reason cannot physically attend. Monash University describes this process as moving data rather than moving people. 17 E-education applications have similarities to those in the e-health environment as they use interactive consultation and emerging haptic applications. Haptic applications deliver tactile feedback of remote mechanical mechanisms through local tactile controls and remote sensors. Such learning practices may include interactive telepresence conferencing for a virtual classroom an online collaborative environment for fellow students to study and have virtual reality experience or thirddimensional learning with haptics. These integrated learning services can be facilitated by ubiquitous connectivity and fast data rates shared by the campus and the student s point of learning. The availability of anytime connectivity is also made possible through the use of other next generation applications. For example, Apple s itunes gives 11 NSW Health, Submission to the Inquiry into the Role and Potential of the National Broadband Network Discussion Paper, viewed 5 July Grampians Rural Health Alliance (GRHA), viewed 5 July Voice and Data, Rural health alliance turns to videoconferencing, Vol. 10, No. 3, May 2011, pp Biotronik, viewed 5 July Access Economics, An improved HTA economic evaluation framework for Australia, May 2009, 039/$FILE/039_Medical%20Technology%20Association%20of%20Australia%20pt%203.pdf, viewed 5 July University of Melbourne, Inquiry into the role and potential of the National Broadband Network, viewed 5 July ibid. 8 acma

13 university lecturers the ability to upload their recorded content for anyone with access to itunes to receive the content, generally free of charge. 18 SoHo and teleworking The home computer and mobile phone have had dramatic effects on the profile and flexibility of the workforce. Next generation access networks extend connectivity, mobility and teleworking applications into the small office home office (SoHo) environment. Developments, such as the virtual office and virtual desktops, offer all of the features of a modern office without the need for all staff to be physically located in one office. The SoHo teleworker or business will increasingly be able to function as if located in the central office. 19 For the SoHo business, the equivalent of desktop virtualisation is the acquisition of business applications and services from a cloud application provider. Next generation access services enable the SoHo entrepreneur to take advantage of and other office software from the cloud and pay for only those resources when they are actually required. 20 Application security Security of information becomes an important consideration when using the shared infrastructure of next generation networks. A common teleworking concern about the security and segregation of business traffic from other domestic traffic can be addressed through the use of a zero or thin client host and a virtual private network (VPN). A thin client is a computer program that provides a virtual window to applications and content contained on another computer known as a server. A VPN ensures secure and reliable communications over open shared networks such as the internet. Security can be implemented in a number of ways depending on the application, the type of user and application restrictions required. These technically based mechanisms may be applied to different layers within the next generation architecture. The IPSec VPN establishes a secure encrypted tunnel from a remote site to a central site. 21 As it is implemented at the network layer, all traffic for that connection is secured. IPSec is the set of security extensions to the internet protocol developed by the IETF. 22 IPSec tends to be used for secure connectivity of separate sites within an organisation. It impacts on the configuration of the clients and servers. Consequently, SoHo teleworkers and mobile workers are moving towards a less complex session-based or secure sockets layer (SSL) VPNs. 23 As SSL VPNs are implemented at the application layer, the secure VPN traffic can be interleaved with the user s traffic that may be simultaneously sharing the same internet connection. An advantage of an SSL VPN is that it does not require additional software to be installed, 18 Apple s itunes U, viewed 5 July Small Office Home Office (SoHo), Home-Office, viewed 5 July PRWeb, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Microsoft Windows Azure, 21 Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol, viewed 5 July An Introduction to IP Security (IPSec) Encryption, viewed 5 July VeriSign Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): How it works, viewed 5 July acma 9

14 as it can use the web browser as the client. It is used for browser-based home banking and e-commerce applications. Video and voice Next generation access networks support video telephony, HD voice and telepresence applications, which all contribute to a successful teleworking experience. With next generation access connectivity, the voice transmission quality is based on efficient use of digital pathways rather than coping with the restricted transmission capabilities of twisted copper pair. HD voice employs wideband codecs, which add significantly to the clarity and tonal quality of the communication. G.722 is the broadband codec standard for HD voice and it can be found both in high-end handsets and some non-branded IP phones. 24 G.722.2, also known as adaptive multi-rate wideband (AMR-WB), is increasingly being used for mobile handsets to improve the quality of experience. 25 The adaptive nature of AMR-WB is typical of next generation services, as it reflects the adjustment of the quality of the voice service for the bit rate feasible for a specific connection. Work is also nearing completion in the IETF Codec working group on the Opus codec, which is planned to have multiple operating modes to accommodate many different applications from extremely low-latency high-quality links between production studios to voice applications on very low bit-rate channels. Video is the key to creating a better office-like experience, through the use of telepresence to provide for face-to-face meetings. Telepresence delivered over next generation networks enables high-quality bi-directional connectivity of video and audio; this, coupled with a customised environment to create a same room experience, including eye-to-eye contact, is what sets telepresence apart from traditional video conferencing. These systems are becoming less costly and smarter, employing centralised video routers that not only monitor all end points in a meeting, but also match the capabilities of each end point with the current state of the window or pane in which the image is viewed. The telepresence system adaptively changes the audio and visual resolution in response to the conference participation activity of each location. 26 With next generation access services, the link to a location can be optimised for a more immersive experience, allowing for multi-site conferences in a SoHo environment. 27 Telepresence is a focus in international standardisation activities. Standardisation efforts are currently underway within ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Study Group 16 28, the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) Activity Group (TIP was developed by Cisco Systems) within the International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium 29 and the ControLling multiple streams for telepresence (CLUE) working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) G.722: 7 KHz audio-coding within 64 Kbit/s, viewed 5 July G.722.2: Wideband coding of speech at around 16 kbit/s using Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB), viewed 5 July H.264: Advanced video coding for generic audiovisual services, I/en, viewed 5 July Vidyo, viewed 5 July ITU-T, Question 5/16 Telepresence systems, viewed 5 July Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) Activity Group, viewed 5 July ControLling multiple streams for telepresence (clue) Working Group, viewed 5 July acma

15 With both telepresence and video telephony, full HD clarity is also influenced by the quality of the camera or webcam. Before the availability of next generation access services, bandwidth restrictions and signal degradation in transmission were major determinants of video quality. The improved transmission provided by NGNs enables better use of the capabilities of camera and display features. Extending connectivity services There are considerable ongoing developments elopments in next generation access network infrastructure to extend the connectivity of fibre-optic fixed access and mobile wireless s broadband networks. These developments include the infill of wireless blackspots in buildings using femtocells small small cells intended to provide mobile phone coverage within a single small building and connect to the core mobile network via the customer s broadband connection. Next generation fixed access cess networks are facilitating femtocell adoption where additional indoor mobile network coverage is needed. A high proportion of mobile customers access both voice and data services at a predictable fixed location such as the home or work. For the mobile network operator, femtocells may allow the operator to offload data or voice services from the macro-cellular network. Optus is currently offering a femtocell solution in the Australian consumer market. 31 Of more relevance to the teleworker or mobile worker is the proposed smaller version of a femtocell a low-power personal femtocell or attocell (see Figure 3). An attocell has a very short-range range small base station for mobile phones that can be connected (via USB) to a computer with internet t access. The attocell relays phone calls and mobile internet access over the broadband connection and allows mobile phones to bypass international roaming or other charges and operate as if on their home network. 32 For example, a mobile network operator might allow an international traveller to connect their attocell via USB to their notebook computer in their hotel room. If the notebook k was connected to the hotel s Wifi service, the guest could call home using a mobile telephone via his home mobile network and only be charged as if making a call from home, thereby not connecting to another carriers mobile network and avoiding expensive roaming charges. The attocell extends the reach of a local mobile cellular network via a broadband and connection to anywhere in the world. Both femtocells and attocells extend the underlying access to support connectivity applications. Figure 3 Attocell prototype Ubiquisys femtocell technology Source: Ubiquisys Optus, Optus 3G Phone Zone, viewed 7 October All VoIP News, Personal femtocell to cut roaming costs on iphone, l viewed 5 July Ubiquisys, / /in/photostream/ viewed 5 July acma 11

16 Connectivity applications are fundamental to the exchange of information over next generation networks. For users, they provide anytime and anywhere access to both traditional communications services, such as voice, and emerging converged services that are changing the way we work and live. For industry, there is the challenge of migration, innovation and creation of services to capitalise on the opportunities of ubiquitous connectivity. As more people and things are being connected, we are likely to see a corresponding growth in this type of application. 12 acma

17 4. Collaboration Collaborative applications provide the means for people, regardless of location, to share, discuss, innovate, create, value or produce information. Collaborative applications rely on the high-speed network connections of next generation access services, along with access to cloud computing, for data storage and management. Many of these applications, most notably social media applications, are both deviceagnostic and platform-independent, which reduces take-up barriers and encourages their use. Generally, cloud-hosted collaborative applications can be characterised by features of next generation access networks such as general mobility, support for a wide range of services and unfettered user access to multiple providers. Smartphone and tablet devices complement the access network features in providing media, such as pictures and recorded video, that can be uploaded, blogged and immediately presented in a common and collaborative place. The continued expansion of collaborative next generation applications in the personal, social and enterprise landscapes through the use of multiple last-mile technologies and interworking with existing networks has implications for the way that information is created, distributed, managed and consumed. Cloud applications Cloud computing is challenging the service model of installing an application on a local computer or purchasing dedicated infrastructure. Cloud computing is not just the delivery of remotely hosted computing; it also encompasses the provision of collaborative device-agnostic applications and services. There is a number of common cloud applications in general use by consumers. These include webmail, social networking and data storage from various providers. Skype is a well-known cloud application that provides voice and video communication services. Recent integration with Facebook allows Skype to be an online application without having to install software. For the user, the service is provided by a process that will operate as long as the user has internet access. Assisted global positioning system (GPS) is another cloud-based application. Satellite signal recognition and the necessary calculation could be provided from a remote server to enable a faster acquisition and fix of the user s location. The user may not be aware that a remote server is involved in assisting the GPS process. Users familiar with standalone GPS units expect GPS to be integrated into their devices. Skype and assisted GPS show different aspects of cloud applications. With Skype, the user is aware of external assistance, but is indifferent to the location of the server providing that assistance. With assisted GPS, the service is provided with a facility and smoothness that may lead the user to believe that the service is entirely provided from the user s handheld device. Google Docs is another cloud application that provides word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications in a web browser. 34 Google Docs also features a collaborative function to allow multiple users, from disparate locations, to work together on the same document at the same time. 35 Whiteboard collaboration sites, such as Dabbleboard and Stixy, allow users to create a personalised space by 34 Google Docs, viewed 5 July Google Apps for Business, viewed 5 July Dabble Board, viewed 5 July acma 13

18 dragging widgets such as notes, to-do lists and photos, to be shared with other people. The Cloud Foundry, an open source Platform as a Service (PaaS), supports developers in choosing a cloud environment suited to building their software applications. 38 The Cloud Foundry service aims to negate the need for software developers who are collaborating on a project to be concerned with the underlying infrastructure, as all services they require are facilitated from within the cloud. Cloud-based applications enable new services to be acquired quickly and provide cost savings for business. These cost savings may be realised when applications are shared across a number of units within a company or different users. The speed of next generation access services is necessary for users to acquire many applications and to have a richer experience when using them. Concerns remain about privacy and security in cloud computing. One report states that over 80 per cent of those organisations with more than 1,000 employees in the US have at least one cloud-enabled service, yet concerns about the security of their content remain a barrier for them to take up further cloud services. 39 Richard Stallman, an advocate for free software and the founder of the Free Software Foundation 40, argues that cloud applications, also referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), wrests some direct control from the user. 41 Social media The rise of social media would be difficult to imagine without wide access to next generation access networks. The ability to network existing applications, information, converged devices and people has provided rich opportunities for application developers to link resources in an environment of collaboration. Blogs and microblogs allow a user to create and share a personal kind of news that interests both the author and other like-minded individuals. People blog about news, current affairs or technology, or simply share their opinion on any given topic. Readers of the blog may then provide their own thoughts or share ideas and in so doing create a collaborative experience between the blog s author and its readers. With the availability of wireless broadband, bloggers are now just as likely to blog on the go using their laptops, tablet devices or smartphones. Wordpress 42, a popular blogging website, has developed a tablet application that encourages this practice. 43 Twitter where people can share short updates of events to anybody connected to the internet is the most widely known microblogging application. 44 Initially, users were only able to compose tweets from a computer connected to the internet; with users in the US then able to use the SMS function in their mobile phones to post messages. 45 Now, with the prevalence of smartphones and next generation wireless access 37 Stixy, viewed 5 July The Cloud Foundry, viewed 5 July Management Insight Technologies, The Arrival of Cloud Thinking, November 2010, viewed 5 July Free Software Foundation, viewed 5 July Richard Stallman, Who does that server really serve?, 18 March 2010, viewed 5 July Wordpress, viewed 5 July Wordpress for Apple s ios, viewed 5 July Twitter, viewed 5 July Twitter blog, Introducing Fast Follow, and other SMS tips, 10 August 2010, viewed 5 July acma

19 services, users can post whenever and wherever they choose, and link recipients to rich multimedia applications, more easily than previously. Social networking applications have fostered social collaboration, allowing users to keep in touch with friends or associates, be informed of events and arrange social gatherings. Staying connected is becoming the imperative in the social landscape. Smartphones and tablets have extended the always connected feature to users social lives while on the go. As social networking sites continue to evolve and provide users with more rich media content, such as instant uploads of photos and videos from a mobile device, the need for more bandwidth over the wireless environment is expected to rise. 46 Visual collaborative applications Collaborative applications such as blogs, wikis and text-centric instant messaging have been used to share thoughts and ideas using words and pictures. Video communication links now provide the mechanism for people to communicate, either at work or socially, with each other more fully and in real-time. Although visual collaboration is not a new technique, the recent rise of next generation access services has seen a transition from low-quality one-to-one communication, limited by low bandwidth access, to an immersive group-to-group HD visual and audio experience. High-quality immersive audio is a requirement for group-to-group audiovisual collaboration when a request to repeat or clarify some point made during the conversation may frustrate the groups dynamics. This is in contrast with one-to-one discussion where repetition or re-phrasing may impact on just the two people involved and serve to avoid misunderstandings. As humans can sense and locate sound sources in spatial dimensions, immersive audio can help a participant to locate the speaker if more than one visual screen is used. Examples of some applications taking advantage of next generation access services include Skype group video calling for individual home-users and the professional Cisco telepresence system. The data rate requirements for HD group visual collaboration may be difficult to achieve with traditional wireless technologies. Some fixed-line networks, such as the various classes of asynchronous digital subscriber line (ADSL) technologies, may not meet the bandwidth requirements due to the high upload data rates required. For example, Cisco s home telepresence system requires a minimum 3.5 Mbps upload and download for a full 1080p HD video call and 1.5 Mbps upload and download for a 720p video call. 47 Skype s group video-calling recommended data rates are: > 512 kbps upload and 2 Mbps download for a group of three people > 512 kbps upload and 4 Mbps download for a group of five people > 512 kbps upload and 8 Mbps download for a group of seven or more people. 48 Video traffic is expected to become the dominant driver for more bandwidth in the near future, with some predicting that 90 per cent of all network traffic to be video by The additional upstream capacity offered by next generation access networks provides the capability for fully immersive group-to-group visual collaboration. Significant 46 Google Plus, viewed 5 July Cisco, Cisco ūmi. The new way to be together, data sheet, viewed 5 July Skype, How much bandwidth does Skype need?,, viewed 5 July Cisco, Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, , _ns827_Networking_Solutions_White_Paper.html, viewed 7 August acma 15

20 changes in consumer communications are expected when there is a higher proportion of users with next generation access service connections that will support group-togroup visual collaboration Verizon Investor Quarterly Third Quarter 2010, states that by the end of the third quarter, Verizon had 3.9 million FiOS internet and 3.3 million FiOS TV customers, viewed 5 July acma