Google Fiber has been in the headlines ever since it was announced in 2011. Google’s fiber-optic network is established in in Kansas City, and Google is in the process of rolling out service to Provo, Utah, and Austin, Texas.
Google Fiber’s record-setting gigabit speeds have excited consumers, techies and journalists alike. Tons of startups have made their home in Kansas City since Fiber’s arrival. The same is true in other areas, where providers like Verizon Internet and Midcontinent offer fast broadband service.
With 100 times the speed of an average Internet connection, Google Fiber is revolutionary. And it’s going to take a lot of innovation to unlock its full potential.
Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of the Ethernet cable, has exhorted developers to start trying. He explains that “in the 1970s, many doubted there were uses for even 50-kilobit-per-second Internet. But soon application explorers came up with remote login, file transfer, and email. Pioneers have since found new worlds in publishing, commerce and social interactivity. Today, while investing in gigabit generations of Internet, we are again sending out our application explorers.”
Gigabit Explorer Challenge
In the same spirit, US Ignite has partnered with KC Digital Drive, Mozilla and Google Fiber to create the Gigabit Explorer Challenge. 8-10 developer groups will be invited to Kansas City for a weekend to develop new technologies that take advantage of increased bandwidth and faster Internet speeds. Here are some technologies we’d love to see come out of the Gigabit Explorer Challenge.
Tech We Want to See at Gigabit Explorer Challenge
There are a number of technologies for creating home servers, but most can only be used to access files over a local connection. While this is convenient for streaming media in your home, it’ll now be faster and easier than ever to access media from outside your home. Easy, open-source home media server technology would allow customers to take advantage of their fast home Internet connections.
It would also be great to see faster remote PC software. Modern remote PC software is designed to minimize bandwidth usage – trying to stream a PC’s display over slow connections is tricky and results in severe lag. But new gigabit connections are fast enough to allow uncompressed screencasting. Being able to access your home PC from a phone, tablet, or other computer should be easier with faster in-home connections.
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Many teams and businesses use Skype and other video chat services to communicate. In the past, bandwidth has been a limiting factor for digital video communication, but gigabit speeds are enough to share more than video.
Faster speeds should lead to better communication tools, which will allow teams to communicate better. Many software developers already work in remote teams, but extra bandwidth can improve the ways can share and collaborate in real time – and make it easier to work from home.
Better Server Processing Technologies
Cloud computing is a huge buzzword these days, and many companies are moving their data storage and processing to the cloud. With gigabit speeds, it’s entirely possible to send and receive huge amounts of data in real time.
Companies that deal with computer-intensive work, like photo or video editing, may find it more efficient to do processing and rendering in the cloud. Employees can access files and software remotely. With slow Internet speeds, workers’ efficiency is greatly decreased. But with gigabit Internet, designers can use even low-powered computers as a display for processor-intensive software running in the cloud.