Keynote: James Werle, Steven Abram, Liz Lawley #IL2011

James Werle, Internet 2 director:

1996: 28% of U.S. people on Internet and they spent half-hour per month online

2015: Internet use expected to quadruple. 2 devices per person worldwide. IP traffic dominated by video. 5 years’ worth of video every second.

Video conferencing, cloud computing, real-time gaming, immersive/3D environments

All require high bandwidth.

50% of public libraries report slow access at least part of the time. 75% were not able to increase their bandwidth in the past year.

Internet 2: national fabric of state and regional not-for-profit educational and research networks: four-year universities, museums, etc. Gates Foundation report on “Connections, Capacity, Community”

What keeps you awake at night?

Steven Abram: polarization of opinions. Everyone’s against something, nobody’s for anything. Apple fanboys will defend censorship of books on iPhone app. They’ll ban the SI swimsuit issue, political apps. Advertising is coming to books; that’s the purpose of the big digitization projects. You are the product. Content spam (e.g., medical works that don’t tell you about side effects, Demand Media).

Liz Lawley: Bandwidth is an issue. We’ve been complaining about that for years. This is basic, like plumbing. We’re not spending enough time talking about network neutrality. Are you going to have a meaningful piece of this bandwidth? Lots of video, but most of it’s crap. Fears about cloud computing. I have a lot of stuff on Google Docs, and it keeps going down. Content doesn’t have to be immersive in a technical sense to be immersive in an emotional sense.

James Werle: Agree bandwidth is coming, but is it coming to a library near you and can you afford it?

Liz: We need to pay attention to “freemium services.” What do we pay for and why? Why do I pay for some of my apps? I pay for Evernote because I like the flexibility of getting to it from any device. People are willing to pay for a good experience. Context often trumps content. The way you present something really matters. How they feel about that experience, do they feel successful? They should come out of every experience saying “I’m awesome!” Interface, experience, interaction on a much higher level.

Steven: When it’s freemium, you are the product. It’s about segregating the power users from other users. Google Plus’ demand for real identity has to do with tying names to credit cards to market to them. Amazon’s public library deal: we served up our customers to them. I’m appalled at the lack of discussion. I’m not against it; I’m just appalled at the lack of discussion. We probably need regulation for an information economy. What is ALA doing about this?

James: Is it possible to have a unified voice?

Steven: I’m not suggesting a unified voice. I just want the discussion to be informed by our voices.

Single disruptive technology trend?

Liz: I’m watching “gamification.” Can be a disruptive trend. It’s difficult to do these things well. People are still interested in tangible things. Paper is not going away. 3D printing. (I didn’t know about this. See Youtube video, for example)

Steven: Printing human body parts. Subscription models for content at the consumer level. Frictionless commerce.

Liz: QR codes not nearly as interesting as RFID. Phones will all have RFID. Scan your wallet to pay for things. Feels magic. Risks? Sure. But the potential …

Steven: It will change user behavior. We need to ask who’s going to pay to move that content to the top? Are the drug companies going to write medical info? The car companies consumer info?

Liz: Video “Rendering synthetic objects into legacy photographs” Inserted dragon into picture of dining room, even getting the lighting right. Harder for us to know what’s real.

James: Videoconferencing. Tele-immersion: like being in the same room with someone who’s far away.

Steven: We’re close to “Save me, Obi-wan.” Being somewhere, scanning body parts, etc.

Liz: Google Hangouts is group video chat that just works. Skype is still clunky. Tech needs to work. You have to make it accessible and make it work.

Steven: It changes things when you can see the person and their emotions.

Liz: It makes a difference to be in the same room with people. I don’t do distance teaching. When I can see the whites of your eyes, I can tell if I have you and I can tell if I’ve lost you.

Anything you want the audience to leave here knowing?

James: Internet 2, video conferencing.

Steven: Be more radical, find our voice. Spend more time understanding the other point of view, rather than demonizing. Remember our principles and be radical about them.

Liz: I want you to remember what it’s like to be a kid, what’s playful and magical. Think about ways technology blends into the background. Some people turn on Google Hangouts and just let it run.


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