Friday, October 28, 2005

Prof Barry Vercoe on the new media

After a pleasantly musical opening, Prof. Vercoe discussed the motion of the evolving audio industry, and how the evolving technologies will shape the future of how not just how we will listen to music, but how we will buy it, how we will find it and even how we will play it, as well as the implications such ventures would have for the industry as it currently stands and other media.

Prof. Vercoe's main emphasis was on the speed at which the industry of 'push' - the more tradtional means of accessing music, such as CDs, shops and all the means we are used to - and 'pull' - the new means, such as downloading, p2p technologies and mp3s - are converging, and the necessity of understanding the use and power such a notion can hold.

He centered his thesis on the seven technologies driving the convergence:
1. Audio coding - how music is stored and compressed, with the desire for as much compression in size and complexity in the track as is possible, copyright protection and how the mp4 format fits into this.
2. Time-caching.
3. Interfaces - how we access the music.
4. Network Technology and Infrastructure.
5. Viral communications - a superior means of sending and receiving information than traditional telecommunication networks.
6. Cultural Community Metadata - how, rather than being blanket-bombed by recommendations and advertising (often via collaborative filters), data-mining and language processing can better gauge what we would want to know about.
7. Embedded Processing - how specific processors can work together for superior playback, and the porting core technology of MPEG4 to low cost technology.

He closed his address with two truth-laden statements: first, that technology has created higher consumer expectations; and second, that consumers have shown they will move forward with the technology with or without the industry.


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