This is one of those fringe kind of things to think about. What is the ultimate goal of such things as Citrix Presentation Server? From the most simple aspect, it is about accessing computer resources remotely in the most transparent way possible. The attachment to a particular computer desktop has been successful separated by using technology originally invented around 1995. New things became possible. Users were impressed with the ability to do work from anywhere. Administrators and managers were impressed with the ability to share resources and be able to centrally manage the users without having to centrally locate them.
As always, the simplest cases fall out the quickest. As time goes by, the more advanced solutions are built. Eventually, the well dries out and it becomes necessary to rethink how things are approached.
From my perspective, we are at a crossroads. We are reaching towards a more diverse solution that addresses some of our most core desires and needs. We will never be satisfied with where we currently stand based on our idea of progress which therefore we will indeed move on from where we stand today.
This crossroads involves bridging over from thinking about things individually into a more co-operative mode. This idea has many views in the current scape. The concept of doing distributed computing is an example of our need to get computing to bridge multiple CPUs in multiple computers at the same time. Usually this focus is designed to get the most bang for the buck and to increase the speed with which solutions are reached.
I see something else coming. It is called telepresence. The model allows for the ability for senses to be redirected to another location. Obviously this is still years away and would require something similar to how it was depicted in the Matrix movies, but the basic ideas exist in the current Citrix products.
As a user, you want to be somewhere else. This could be the sake of a meeting with co-workers or just that you want to check your email using your work’s email system. This is where it gets a bit more interesting. Given that the user’s desktop has been split, it means that the remaining framework needs more focus. What would it take to make Citrix a better provider of telepresence hardware and software? Does it really make sense for Citrix to be interested in such a field? Well, it might not be and that would be fine too.
I could argue that this area is ripe for expansion. The philosophy goes something like this. If you can make telepresence easy and effective, there will be that much less a need for centralized work. In other words, you can work effectively from most any location including even places like your home. In not saying that it is not impossible to work from home today. In fact, I’ve been doing it since 1999. The point is that the technology is poor in relation to telepresence and it is time that this area is more fully expanded. I suspect that problem comes from thinking too much based on current models instead of trying something new.
In Australia ADSL2 is available with bandwidth upwards of 22000 kbits/sec. The trend is to higher and higher bandwidth and so far most of that bandwidth is just about getting faster downloads. The gates open to things like video on demand and better video conferencing but the real opportunity lost involves allowing NEW things to exist based on this generous bandwidth increase.
Okay, so here’s the question. How much data does an eye take in during one second? If someone knows the answer, please let me know. I’m thinking that eventually the amount of data gathered by an eye will be surpassed by the bandwidth available on the Internet to an end user. Given the possibility of creating hardware that is mounted like glasses that knows what the eyes are looking at, the focus points could have a higher density than what is at the peripheral vision region. No longer does it become a matter of a fixed resolution picture at a fixed depth. It becomes a dynamic creation based on the user’s perceptions of light coming from the bandwidth transmissions coming from a far.
It is very exciting to think that it might really be possible to be present in a far location based on sensory input. It really would make a difference to how I deal with my team in Sydney. It would blow away the current teleconferencing model and make it seem not only that I was there but that I can be at two places as once.
I wrote this blog to explore something that I have been thinking about for years. It surprises me to feel some excitement about a field that many would consider boring.
Given the trends of the world, I would argue that telepresence is the future of how people will do business. Location becomes irrelevant if you can go somewhere in a flash with the same impact as being there.
Of course, this is still years away.