IBM’s Digital Communities Business Area Leader provides and overview of the evolution of Digital Communities by exploring infrastructure, government and public usage models, and the sustainability of the investment.
Evolution of the Infrastructure
The author comments that as the infrastructure evolved, the end-user devices transformed from dumb terminals to networked smart devices. These are not limited to traditional devices such as smart phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) but also include intelligent sensors and Internet protocol (IP) video camera. As more devices gain access to the infrastructure, the networks have also evolved. EDGE, EV-DO, UMTS, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and ad hoc networks continue to be more data-friendly, enabling applications such as video streaming and voice over IP (VoIP). In addition, the social element of this convergence should not be understated: The wireless generation expects an untethered life in a culture where mobile technology is now pervasive.
Usage Models of Digital Communities
The author argues that as a result of the ubiquitous adoption of mobile technology, digital communities are emerging globally with two distant but interconnected usage models for applications and services, all of which are delivered through autonomic networking. The government usage model is predicated on government-to-employee (G2E) applications and is predominantly designated for uses “by the government for the government.” The public usage model (G2C) is designed by the government “for the people.” These typically are referred to as municipal wireless networks, or citynets, or other similar terms and are designed to provide broadband access for citizens.
The author presents the IBM’s strategy for developing a sustainable investment model for deploying digital community wireless broadband, which is to focus on the most mission-critical applications first. A number of applications are presented. The inclusion of these applications in the investment model of the wireless infrastructure will allow a more rapid return or a more robust investment.