Two projects for a faster Internet
Tuesday, April 6, 1999
The Australian Financial Review
By Jeff Bliss, Bloomberg News
International Business Machines Corp., the world’s No. 1 computer maker, is setting up two projects to test new technology in hopes of making the Internet faster and better able to run video images.
Together with Ameritech Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Northwestern University, IBM tomorrow will unveil plans for a project split between Northwestern’s campus and IBM’s Schaumberg, Illinois-based branch. With the help of the Telematics Institute and SURFnet, IBM will open a similar site in the Netherlands.
The centers will experiment with new video applications on Internet technology that’s 1,000 times faster than current World Wide Web speeds. IBM has backed the move to an Internet unfettered by choppy video images and delays in downloading information, and the company has bet its future on developing computers, software and services aimed at companies running their businesses over the Internet.
"We need a better Internet structure than we have today," said Irving Wladawsky-Berger, general manager of IBM’s Internet Division. With the new centers, "our No. 1 objective is to experiment in the real world."
IBM will demonstrate a project with the Singapore government to conduct a videoconference over the Internet with high- resolution, full-screen images and almost simultaneous responses — impossible with current Internet technology.
"The (time) delay factor can be cut down significantly," said Rich Wall, program director of IBM’s Advanced Internet Project.
The company also is working on video software to let workers at different locations receive training or collaborate on projects, such as engineers designing a new product, Wladawsky- Berger said.
"We’re trying to see what it will take to support a real- time meeting," he said.
While these first pilot projects will be conducted with universities and governments, IBM will start working with corporate customers in the next six months, Wladawsky-Berger said.
In the centers, IBM and its partners will try to overcome other Internet bottlenecks. Those roadblocks include the lack of a standard way to divide up the available space in a network for transmitting information, voice and video.
Storage is another focus. IBM will experiment with revving Internet speeds by using storage systems distributed throughout a network, rather than in one system in a remote location.
Later this month, IBM will give money to four universities to foster development of Internet technology.