Panel summarys: Plenary, Diginomics, Service Infrastructure

Mustafizur Rahman has sent  in his notes from some panels:

Below you will find summaries of three panels: the Plenary Panel, including the introductions and keynote speech, the Service Infrastructure panel and the Diginomics Panel.

The notes have been prepared by Mustafizur Rahman. All of these sessions are also available as podcases.

Morning session with John Darlington, John Hand and keynote by John Varney

Introduction to Next-generation Internet (NGI) and Digital Economy (DE)–John Hand

  • Accessible, engaging to all parts of society, trust, security for all, sustainable exploitation
    • underpinned by flexible social/technology infrastructure
  • Affect real collaboration and co-operation between disciplines, embed in business process

Summary of Keynote by John Varney (CEO of Maximum Clarity, former CTO of BBC)

  • Future media is here – if you can think, it’s already here!
    • social networks already changing business, (local) government, changing way of life/work
  • networks are important – they create social as well as creative and monetary wealth
    • movement of data -> collaboration -> business transformation – the world has changed!
    • social networks are no longer just recipients of info, but producers for one another
      • democratise info., culture – disruptive – no turning back!
      • people value generated – more people, more value, convergence through device change
  • Three types of wealth of networks
  1. Social wealth – social good, behaviour (eg, Facebook)
  2. Monetary wealth – corporate enterprises (eg eBay)
  3. Creative wealth – bring out creative thinking, innovations in org. (eg YouTube, MetCafe)
  • Rebalancing of power of info. through info. symmetry – challenge to the modern High Priest
    • citizen journalism bringing in “my view of the truth” – took 150 years from press to blogs
      • 9/11 – last event for broadcasters to be in full control of a major story
      • Tsunami in Asia – broadcasters were not there, talked about geology instead of situation
      • Tube bombing – new age of coverage – broadcasters excluded, ppl upload to YouTube
        • affected told story at origin – dramatic, personal – owned by ppl, not by the media

Recommendations / Future Gazing

  1. Innovate through collaborations – experts “gather” to deliver for Co, democratise workplace
    • few years away from Death of The Organisation as we know it!
  2. Explore rise in micro entrepreneurism – small injection of funds (eg Kiva) having larger impact
  3. Engage with public – brings unexpected perspectives, novel ideas, develop new reward models
    • open source innovation, not limited to SW but in drug discovery and other challenges
  • Computing Free Enterprises emerging in next decade – utilising cheap services in the Cloud
  • Need to embrace that new generation rejects being told, they will get things themselves
    • Power Brokers are on their way out – “Church vs State” all over again
  • Broadcasters need to understand new narrative of individuals in emerging Internet
    • printing press was novel but radio took 30 years to develop from reciting books
    • TV started as radio with pictures before evolving into different drama
    • Internet – digital story telling will increase richness over time, still in early days
  • Creativity/pure science will be crucial for creative thinking

Panel Discussion moderated by Gareth Mitchell (Imperial College/BBC Planet)

Panellists: Dan Applequest, John Burrow, John Darlington, Gary Graham, John Hand, Nick Lyon, David de Roure, John Varney

Audience: ~50% scientists, some entrepreneurs, students, media and others

Summary of General Discussion

  • Emerging narrative for the Web
    • will evolve beyond TV/radio on the web/podcasts
  • Grid/Cloud computing – idea whose time has come: servers-> services
  • Currently not fully utilising the power of the Internet
  • Understand how technology can fit together to facilitate/enhance the Digital Economy?
  • Consume to produce
    • eg share music in peer-to-peer networks to produce new music, attract funding/sponsors
  • Generation gap – new generation used to not having to pay for digital goods like music
  • Producers must be rewarded
    • need innovative methods to share yet monetise
      • old world: pay at point of purchase
      • consider payment at point of consumption (eg Live Nation)
      • pay proportionate to each individual consumer’s value (based on usage?)
        • exchange privacy for better value/cheaper goods?
  • (media) companies need to first innovate supply chain, business models, etc
    • then employ technology to implement/enforce it
    • current rights regime is old and broken
    • DRM will not work with hundreds of millions of growing user base
    • iTunes “gadget” model is not sustainable
    • Primary revenue no longer music recordings but concerts and merchandise
    • Shift towards more involvement with consumers (eg MySpace for artists)
    • (illegal) sharing in many cases helped boost revenue, open new markets!

Recommendation / Future Gazing

  • Internet blackout is unlikely – will organically grow to accommodate: 10G coming soon
    • technologically expanding but how will ever increasing capacity get funded?
    • BBC iPlayer put pressure on ISPs
      • Misrepresented – ISPs want more traffic – avenue for further revenue
    • ISPs must provide differentiated services (like mobile phones), not be just “dumb pipes”
      • SMEs to pick up services, ISPs move into background but work with SMEs
  • Increasing reliance on Internet to organise life -> needs smarter “life support services”
    • more personalised but not intrusive
    • it will need to “understand” me
    • Currently, still duplicating what we had done before but now on the Internet
      • complete new usage will emerge in the future
    • single point of entry (eg through laptops, mobiles) will be gone – we become the network
  • Increased collaborations
    • link society to business, input what future might be like
  • Current academic endeavours will need to be overhauled (new DTCs already in the works)
    • process and innovations are changing
    • more interdisciplinary, more intense, not just faster but new science

Service Infrastructures (Panel Discussion moderated by David de Roure)

Background / Observations

  • User-led is essential – User Generated Content (UGC) is growing and increasing value
    • need understanding of (future) technology as a backdrop
      • radical changes in architecture, future may not have laptops – hard to anticipate
      • high expectations for Grid/Semantic Web, now broad uptake of Cloud anticipated
      • “Internet Angels” needed for personalisation, mobile web, 2nd Life, micro-payments
      • workflow systems crucial for automation/new science
        • data deluge – humans can no longer triage manually
  • Semantic Web – needs more than 10 years to mature/be useful (Gartner, 2007)
    • value in mass deployment but individuals do not benefit immediately
  • Increasing number of users and data, UGC
  • Need to be agile to user requirements – upgrade/downgrade without experts/sys admins
  • Bottom-up reuse of information, SW and systems
  • Users no longer limited to single/similar devices

Summary of Discussion Questions on the Future

  • 1. Is the Semantic Web too big?
    • who will build it? general case is too huge unlike the case for Gnome project
    • it is here but will be slow to grow
    • simple tags could get things going to discover/describe entities
    • Virtual Worlds (eg 2nd Life w/217M users) expected to grow to $13B from $4B by 2012
    • Need to look beyond Web 2.0 for federations of virtual worlds, similar to the early “Web”
    • Wireless Transducer Devices (WTDs) discover one another and form networks automatically
      • will push networking to limits with potentially many millions everywhere (not limited to IP)
      • useful for sensors, automotive, smart furniture, RFID, healthcare, defence, EPA, agriculture
      • something like Semantic Web needed to describe/discover/control/access persistent WTD
        • (sensor) devices can eventually help bring down cost – eg lights off in empty rooms
      • increased interplay between physical and virtual worlds
        • WTDs will contribute (data) to Cloud, virtual worlds
        • 3D scanners/printers taking entities between worlds
      • challenges in deployment of the devices in massive scale
      • layers of abstraction facilitated by Semantic Web can help
  • 2. Are Computers/laptops going to disappear in the future?
    • screen and keyboard will be long gone in light of multi-modal systems?
      • screen/keyboard constrain us to fixed devices (even with laptops)
        • perhaps form may change – eg light keyboard “created/projected” on-demand?
        • options for wearable computing?
      • developing world using mobiles in innovative ways – free from being tied to laptops
      • keyboard ties users to textual form of interaction – very limiting, not rich
      • Cloud to forever replace The Grid? Grid is gone (Gartner, 2007) – not discussed
  • 3. What are the new human things that will impact technology? – not discussed

Recommendations / Future Gazing

  • Semantic Web will be pivotal especially for WTDs and virtual worlds
  • Investigate if Grid’s workflow be adopted for the Cloud to harness WTDs
  • Look beyond fixed devices with keyboard and screen (eg laptops)

Diginomics (Panel Discussion moderated by Thierry Rayna)


  • Traditional newspapers are being challenged by blogs, wikis, USENET, social networks, etc
    • 150 years of newspaper with very little change – still 1 size fits all, like from beginning
      • Exact same editorials and adverts (content) for everyone who buys a newspaper
    • today’s readers are much more complex, reflective and are seeking out personalisation
    • customise for reader both on web and print versions (eg using Kodak/Xerox printer?)
    • Readers no longer passive but actively contribute to news/content, more entrepreneurial
      • newspapers/traditional journalists are resistant to change – training, fact checking
        • need to get readers involved in content/distribution and be rewarded
    • Many companies fail to understand Digital Products (DPs) and economics

Summary of Key Discussion

  • Digital Products – three characteristics inherent for first time together in any one product
  1. Public goods – can not be excluded from consumption by non-payer (eg street lights)
  2. Indefinitely durable – loses the customer and any off-springs after initial purchase
  3. Experienced goods – can’t find it, value uncertain until consumed so pre-payment is tricky
  • Which business model to use?
    • Pretend nothing is different – doesn’t work (eg DRM in music)
    • Realise DPs are different
    1. Fund through advertising (eg Google)
    2. Subscription model (eg newspapers)
    3. Tangible Compliments – bundle with devices (eg Windows on a new PC)
    4. Tax funded (eg BBC)
    • no apparent solutions but economics may be able to help – find the strength of DPs
  • also, almost “no cost” for distribution of DPs – but may have huge time cost (eg blogging)
  • Are endangered industries lost forever or can they be revived?
    • No clear solution for Creative Industries (CIs) – consumers no longer reliant on giants
    • Aim to increase profit through higher services, create devices to enrich content
    • DPs may bring social good but someone needs to pay for it
      • use piracy for advertising?
      • enforce copyright laws (for revenue) – only protects the rich and powerful
        • some giants trying to change technology itself for stricter enforcement
    • Current overheads do not work very well with micro-payments for Internet services
    • CI/Music facing challenges
      • use social networks/groups to promote/finance bands
      • initially free concerts to spread word of mouth then charge later
      • Hunting Rights – LastFM tracks your taste then informs/promotes music, local concerts
  • Copyright laws setup to encourage invention/society – now helping or hurting?
    • are they now getting in the way of creativity?
    • Creative Commons allows free usage – good for marketing, getting the word out
      • encourages collaborations through mash-ups, leads to more dynamic products
    • Anti-Counterfeitting Trade Agreement – push control through HW devices.


  • Understand DPs, use economics to find their strengths and to help develop business models
  • CIs need to be more responsive to consumers armed with new distribution/supply chain models
  • Explore Creative Commons to develop collaborations and new markets through networks

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