IL2011: Wednesday Keynote

Internet 2020: Trendwatch Smackdown
Roy Tennant, OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.; James Werle, Internet2; Elizabeth Lane Lawley, Rochester Institute of Technology; Stephen Abram, Gale Cengage Learning

James  – Internet2

Put changes into a different context. Organization, production, presentation, consumption of information has changed vastly in the last 15 years. Blink of the eye relative to the history of librarianship.

Bandwidth will ultimately determine libraries’ abilities to distribute and produce information.

1996 – only 20 million Americans connected to internet. 28% of libraries offering access. 76% of those were no greater than 56kb dialup. People online a half hour per month.

Cisco – global internet traffic will quadruple by 2015. More devices connected – 2 per person on Earth. 3 billion people (40% world’s population). IP traffic will be dominated by video.

Online video will be the fastest growing driver of traffic in the next 5 years. 2025: 1 million minutes of video crossing the ‘net per second.

75% of libraries reporting that they couldn’t increase their connection speed in the last year.

Serious & dangerous trend where libraries are falling behind the bandwidth curve. Struggling to keep up now, nevermind getting ready to provide what they’ll want tomorrow.

National fabric of not-for-profit, state & regional research & education networks connected by Internet2.

Connections, Capacity and Community: Exploring the Potential Benefits of Research & Education Networks for Public Libraries. Gates Foundation report.

Smackdown. Roy poses questions and panelists do whatever they want with them.

What do you think may be one of the most transformative trends for libraries?

Stephen: polarization of political discussion. Everyone is against something, no one is for something. Apple fanatics defending censorship of what’s available in iBooks?  Censorship of what kind of apps are available? Political apps, SI swimsuit issue. Since when can you tell me what I can or cannot read? Anybody who doesn’t believe advertising is coming to books isn’t paying attention. Why aren’t our voices here saying “this is dead wrong, I don’t want to be the product.”

Elizabeth: Respond to bandwidth piece. I left my computer in my room because connection is so slow I need to download the video for this afternoon now. This is a utility issue – basic functionality that needs to become transparent. More bandwidth is coming. What we’re not talking about is the net neutrality piece. Will you have some of this bandwidth? Deep fears about cloud-based content. GDocs keeps going down. “What was I thinking putting my stuff all online?” More interested in what we layer on top of the bandwidth, political & policy issues. Why the focus on immersive, 3D intensive things? Lots of cool lightweight tech that is immersive in an emotional sense.

James: Question is whether you can afford the bandwidth that’s coming? Is it coming to a library near you?

Stephen: Net neutrality is not over. Bandwidth might come and you might not get it.

Liz: We all need to pay attention to freemium. What are people willing to pay for and why? Which are the apps that I think “I’m not willing to pay for that.” What is it that we’re paying for. Taking notes on phone on paid Evernote, they go on every device she wants, no worries about where the notes live. Wants local copies of everything and willing to pay for it. People are also willing to pay for a good experience. We focus so much on the content in libraries – but context trumps it. Environment, experience, way the content is presented really matters. At the end of the day what matters to people is how they feel about the experience.  They should come out of every experience with you thinking that they did a great job and got what they wanted. She doesn’t hear this often from people who use libraries.

Stephen: Freemium segments power users from non power users. If you pay for flickr you have a different value as an advertising target than those who don’t. G+ real identity – you can tie it to the credit card and create a consumer market. When 11,000 PLs allow Amazon into the catalog with no questions about what the privacy policies are. You have delivered their target audience to them. Appalled at lack of discussion around this. Not against it, against that it’s being done without discussion about what’s happening.

James: Is this unified voice best found through ALA or our state libraries? What’s the best mechanism? Is it possible for us to agree on what should be done?

Stephen: Not suggesting a unified voice, suggesting we inform the discussion with our perspective.  We should be able to buy books without ads as a matter of course.

Roy: Disruptive trend?

Liz: Gamification. Underlying concepts are important and disruptive. Return to a love of tangible things – people are starting to care about the quality of actual stuff. 3D printers have gone from total fringe early adopters to freshmen arriving with one for their dorm. Important for us – we’re good with artifacts. What does it mean when you can print a replica of something?

Stephen: Printing human parts! Skin! (No, really.) We don’t look at commercial tech closely enough. In app purchasing. Subscription based models for content at the consumer model – not the institutional model. We’ve been focusing on seamlessness, world is moving toward frictionless. This will fundamentally shift all of our users’ behaviors.

Liz: QR codes are not as interesting as what’s happening with RFID. Really close – next year or two phones will have RFID readers. Frictionless tech is invisible – feels like magic to the user. Wave your wallet at the speedpass reader and boom! Done. Risks? Yes. Any tech does. Potential for interesting things! You can enable objects – internet of things. Disruptive, interesting things. Engaging with objects.

Stephen: What’s the behavioral consequence of that? We teach people to chose what content they use to make decisions. Changing the dynamics of the choosing environment. Micropayments – music at 99 cents. Who’s going to pay to promote our content to the top? Do you want to have drug companies writing content that gets to the top of the search?

Liz: Video with still photograph into which researchers have inserted moving objects. Like Woah. (Includes a CC licensed photo she put on Flickr.) What’s real and what’s not real? Distinctions harder to make.

James: Video conferencing. Really fully developed rooms set up with tele-immersion tech.

Liz: Most of G+ is a disaster. Hangout is cool. Cheap, works. Had skype forever, still frustrates her. Fact that something theoretically works is not sufficient. Has to be easy and frictionless for the user. If you don’t worry about the interface no one will ever use it.

Stephen: Our facial expressions are essential. Been in a skype talk where it freezes and your face is stuck in some weird way?

Liz: Why are you here? No content delivered here that you couldn’t find online somewhere in some format. There’s real value in being in the same room with other people. Still really important and tech doesn’t come close to giving us that. I know if I have you and I know if I’ve lost you. I don’t know that yet with any kind of tech substitute. Crappy immersion is way worse than no immersion.

Stephen: Fascinated by the ability to have a phone that you talk to and it does what you say. Just a toe in the water.

Roy: Anything you want the audience to leave here knowing?

James: Video conferencing. Try it out. Still a step forward. Look a bit more at this.

Stephen: One, be more radical, find our voice, be comfortable with this. Spend more time understanding the other point of view. Amazing level of innovation requires us to remember our values and principles and be radical about expressing them.

Liz: Remember what it’s like to be a kid. Think about what’s playful, delightful, makes the world seem magical. It’s important to moving forward. Think about ways to make tech blend into the background. Hangout is being used as a background tech – set it up and do whatever, and let people drop in. We’re not conferencing – that’s serious. We’re hanging out.  You can drop in and say hi. Spontaneous space.