Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Great talk by Andrew Odlyzko here today

A talk by Andrew Oslyzko is always worth seeing/listening to! Indeed he posed this very question to the highly engaged audience - would we have attended if there were no slides/pictures? Answer, 100% yes. And would we attend if noone was allowed to speak (including him)? answer almost 100% no.

Several things I thought worth noting...

internet growth has slowed (from 100% to 50% or so - although some agencies still have it a bit higher) _ my take on this is that the internet growth is a series of step functions, and we've now got to the point where the only way to go up is a Very Big Step (i.e. fiber to the home) - my view (I put this to the speaker) is that a really worthy New deal project for the EU and US to do to invest our way out of recession would be to incentivise a set of parties to fix all the national utilities (e.g. 30% of UK water is lost in leaks) by employing a bunch of building industry people who are rapidly getting unemployed otherwise, to go dig up roads and put in new pipes including new fiber

the speaker claimed that there's little growth potential in the fixed internet - this may be true (modulo FTTH) but there's serious growth potential in 3G (High SPeed Packet)...

he claimed cloud computing doesn't really add up - his figures depend on someone uploading their entire disk - i think this is a bit misleading (his figures - a 300G drive, being uploaded over a 300kbps uplink takes 3 months) - in reality, IP backup is incremental - i don't back up the drive - jsut the deltas - over the lifetime of the machine (in my house, about 2-3 years) that might be a bit over 100% of the whole drive - no problem there then.

his coolest point was video download - everyone talks about streaming - andrew asked
"how many people want faster than real time video" - around 30% of the Cambridge audience said yes! this is unusual - most people don't get it - but the reality (e.g. a video flash player from youtube shows this in the grayed out bar ahead of the current play point) that a lot of the time you do get faster than streaming - at least 2 major reasons this is good
i) its essentially increasing the number of overall costumers (conservation law and work) and so you get a bunch more videos on average -
ii) an extreme case i that i am about to go on a trip and want to download several movies to my player - clearly i dont want to stream them - i want them ASAP!

I pointed out this is just the inverse of the TiVo time shifting case (or as Sky put it pause (and rewind) "live" TV - this is basically
Fast Forward (name of a startup from Berkeley a while back, who were too far ahead of their time:)

Last but not least - it isn't the sustained rate you want on your access link - it is the peak you get for bursts and the lower latency for those bursts - for human impatience (read, Game Players) this is key....

I couldn't agree more!!!

1 comment:

fvramos said...

A very nice and precise summary of this excellent talk. You've underlined all major points. And your FTTH question/proposal to Andrew was definitely relevant. Indeed, it was one of the best talks I've been to. Very good. More of these are always welcome! :)

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misery me, there is a floccipaucinihilipilification (*) of chronsynclastic infundibuli in these parts and I must therefore refer you to frank zappa instead, and go home