BT's chief technologist exhorts: waste bandwidth!

"It doesn't seem like a day goes by without some other interesting breakthrough" in content and applications, he said, and the job of the telecom industry is to keep up with markets driven by the explosive demand. At the same time, constant breakthroughs are making it possible to divide the spectrum on fibre networks and radio waves into narrower and narrower slices, meaning an almost unlimited supply of bandwidth.

"Our single biggest area of huge productivity is bandwidth," he said, speaking at a telecommunications conference in Spain yesterday. "It's absolutely obvious that we ought to be wasting bandwidth everywhere, in order to make everything else simple."

Cochrane predicted that an explosion of media content is around the corner and will include movies that can be downloaded as simply as today's music lovers can download songs via Napster. The motion picture industry may be forced to adopt a new marketing paradigm, practically giving away content over the Web, while making the bulk of its revenue off merchandising items like toys and t-shirts, he said.

As a sample of things to come, he said that he had downloaded from the Internet a movie trailer for "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace," and black-market versions of the entire film were available online, for free, a week after it premiered in cinemas. The problem, though, is downloading films in a reasonable amount of time.

"You want to try downloading 'Star Wars' even over a T-1 line; it's incredibly frustrating," he said.

In the long term, a major threat to today's telecom industry comes from what he called "parasitic networks" formed by the cooperation of multiple low-power wireless devices using standards like Bluetooth, Cochrane said. An individual could potentially send data from a tiny device contained in a piece of jewellery; that data could then pass to another person's handheld device, then bounce to a "blue box" in a nearby house or school, and so on, finding the shortest path to its final destination, all without any reliance on a centralised network.

In this scenario, he said, "we have a world where people, because they're no longer bolted down, come together, and there is chaos." Hierarchical systems are "dead in the water ... low, flat networks is the only hope." Decentralised systems based on IP (Internet Protocol) are the obvious choice for the near-term future, he said.

Cochrane closed with an admonition to his audience, most of them professionals from the telecom industry, in the form of a quotation from Charles Darwin: "Who will survive? Not the strongest, not the most intelligent, but those most responsive to change."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Perera

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?