Scanning Retrospective, No. 3

Foresight Snippets – No. 3

[Originally published] 15 December 2000

  • What price the “.tv” domain?
  • You’d better be good! Darth Vader is coming to the lecture hall
  • Everything old is new again: phone numbers vs URLs

​​What price the “.tv” domain?

In the older economies based on land (Agricultural) and manufacturing (Industrial), it was a country’s natural (read “physical”) resources which were the key inputs into its economic engine. A lack of natural physical resources was a hindrance to economic growth; an abundance of them was a pre-requisite for a strong national economy. Well, the South Pacific nation of Tuvalu, whose physical size is just over 25 square kilometers, has found itself blessed with a very valuable virtual resource in the new Information economy — its Internet domain name “.tv” — which promises to increase the per capita income of its 10,600 inhabitants to among the highest in the world. It has sold the use of its domain name to an American company in a deal which will yield some $50million over the next twelve years. It has already received some $15million — which should be compared with its annual national budget of $14million! So, in this case, a tiny, physical resource-poor country has had an economic windfall just for having a desirable Internet domain suffix — and by finding a buyer willing to pay for its use.

Source: ZDNet News,4586,2530263,00.html

​You’d better be good! Darth Vader is coming to the lecture hall

In the early Star Wars films, Darth Vader kept in touch with his evil boss The Emperor using a form of super-duper video-conferencing — a three dimensional image projected into the air. Now, in reality, a new technology called teleportation conferencing is being used to transmit a lecturer’s image from a remote studio to a lecture theatre in much the same way — by superimposing a life-size three-dimensional image of the presenter in the space behind the lectern where s/he would normally stand. The problem with conventional video-conferencing is the lack of “presence” experienced by both sides. This system is said to overcome this problem and provide both the audience and the presenter with a much more real sense of “presence.” The presenter can even make eye contact with members of the audience, so don’t try taking a nap! “But when an ethereal presence appears before your eyes,” asks the article listed below, “will you really concentrate on the message and not the abracadabra behind the image?” Initially, perhaps. But one day it will be commonplace, and we’ll think no more about it than we do of the “magic” of the mobile telephone.

Source: Inside Technology Training Web Site
(Thanks to Barbara Camfield for bringing this item to our attention.)

​Everything old is new again: phone numbers vs URLs

An Australian company has claimed a world first — by trying to replace conventional “www.” and “dot-com” addresses with ordinary telephone numbers. The web user types in the country code and area code, followed by the telephone number of a company (or individual perhaps) with an appropriately registered numeric address. The system then takes the web user to the appropriate web page. There are a few points going for this idea: (1) most phone directories in the world are either on-line or soon will be; (2) it resolves the issue of “cyber-squatting” — the practice of registering Internet domain names in the hope of later selling them to the appropriate owner at a profit; (3) people’s phone numbers are (usually) unique — especially mobile phone numbers; and (4) with the coming of WAP, accessing web pages on WAP mobile phones will be much easier if numeric addresses are available rather than typing in the usual www domain addresses.

Source: ZDNet News,4586,2658477,00.html

Foresight Snippets are interesting, intriguing or weird things we find during our strategic scanning which may or may not have direct obvious relevance to Swinburne, but which do provide signals about what the future might be like. Brought to you by the Foresight & Planning Unit.

An archive of the Foresight Snippets and a list of Frequently Asked Questions are available at [deleted].

Copyright © 2000 FPU and Swinburne University of Technology.
Feedback is welcome. Send feedback to [deleted].

NOTE: In all the posts in this series, the original source URLs are left exactly as they were when published 20-odd years ago. This means they will almost certainly be dead links (or good ol’ 404 errors). I do not have the patience or inclination to follow-up or find any archived or re-located versions of those web pages (because, well, life is too short). But, if it really bugs you, I invite you to see if you can find archived or relocated versions of those dead-link pages. And if you do, let me know, and I’ll update these posts with due credit to your detective work.

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