Top 10 Gigabit Apps

April 1st, 2014 by Shar Steed Post a comment »

This is a guest post by Will Barkis, PhD. Will is a Gigabit Evangelist and, until recently, led Mozilla’s gigabit innovation efforts for the past two years as Project Lead and “Gigabit Developer Evangelist” on the Mozilla Ignite Challenge and subsequently as Director of the Gigabit Community Fund. Before Mozilla, he worked on computer & information science & engineering policy at the National Science Foundation for two years, helping launch the US Ignite Initiative with a team at NSF and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and working on a number of tech policy issues. He can be reached at @willbarkis; wbarkis [at] gmail.

The gigabit future is here

Grand Reopening of the Lucile H. Bluford Branch - March 6, 2010

Gigabit-per-second networks are rolling out around the world and across the country. To paraphrase William Gibson, the gigabit Internet is here, it’s just unevenly distributed.

Gigabit networks are a substrate for a fundamentally new set of uses of communication and information technologies. New learning experiences. New job opportunities. New possibilities for how we live our lives and take action in the world.

Gigabit is not just faster Internet. It means moving from the world of the telegraph to the world of the telephone. From today’s Internet services to telepresence, ubiquitous computing, intelligence everywhere and immersive experiences.

“Gigabit” is also not just literally faster Internet. It is used sometimes as shorthand for the next-generation technologies at the heart of the US Ignite Initiative such as ultra high speed, real-time, programmable networks.

Essentially, these tools create a bigger surface area for the mind.

How will gigabit empower the end-user?

Bob Metcalfe, Aaron Deacon and I recently participated in a SXSW panel on “Building the Future with Gigabit Apps”. We spoke about uses of technology that will make a difference in people’s lives, Internet plumbing and the need for social infrastructure to make these benefits real.

To demonstrate how these technologies are going to benefit our communities, empower end-users and improve our lives, we decided to describe some of the real gigabit prototypes that are currently being built and tested.

My co-panelists asked me to lead that discussion and share my “Top 10 Gigabit Apps” because I have worked closely with many of the specific groups building next generation applications, including the Mozilla Ignite teams and Mozilla gigabit community, the US Ignite community and many in the research community.

“Top 10 Gigabit Apps”

These are my top 10 real-not-theoretical gigabit prototypes as of SXSW 2014. They are generally public benefit efforts. Almost all of the projects are open source and most would welcome additional support and team members. Each specific app also represents a general feature to me, commented in italics.

10) Software Lending Library // Access anywhere
Check out software from the library remotely with a great user experience

9) Simulation-as-a-Service // Ubiquitous real-time computation
Remotely access modeling and compute resources

8) Cizzle // Collaborative environments
Experience & modify 3D environments simultaneously with others

7) PlanIT Impact // Storytelling & user engagement
Participate in community decisions w/ big data visualization and 3D

6) Easy3D // Immersive worlds
Easily share, annotate & collaborate on 3D

5) Tie: Rashomon Project & Real-Time Emergency Response // Empathy machines
Experience multiple-user perspectives simultaneously

4) Tie: File transfer & YouTube 4K/8K streaming // Fast information
Move large files, stream 4K/8K video, etc.

3) engage 3D // 3D videoconferencing
Create engaging remote experiences using real-time 3D telepresence

2) Tie: UltraGrid, Connected Collaboration (HD multipoint), BigBlueButton // Real-world quality communication
Feel like you are talking to someone in person

1) Remote Process Control via Reliable Communication Protocol // New possibilities
Make the Internet more reliable for tele-surgery, 3D printing and more

“Missing from the list…”
This top 10 list is a snapshot in time. Bob even quipped that it’s possible that none of these apps will be on the list in a year.

What’s missing from this list? And what feedback do you have for the apps on the list? Please share your insights in the comments below or by email.

Lastly, join us in the gigabit barn-raising!

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” observed legendary computer scientist Alan Kay. So get out there and build the gigabit future!