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Making Technology Work: Individual and Organized End Users

This chapter focuses on end users and the technology foundations they need in order to gain the benefits of the national information infrastructure (NII) in their everyday lives. Additionally, it describes how the absence of definitive information regarding end-user preferences is a major source of uncertainty that infrastructure providers must factor into their deployment decisions. As a starting point for analysis, it addresses these questions: How is demand for access evolving? How does the end user access what he or she wants? What equipment and systems compose the end user's means of access? How does private industry translate what it knows about the above into decisions regarding technology deployment generally?

Who Is The End User?

The end user of the NII is potentially every man, woman, and child. The end user may be the person at work using a networked computer environment; the person at home doing on-line shopping, sharing ideas with fellow hobbyists, or collaborating on a work project with remotely located colleagues; a child accessing material in a library, sending homework to a teacher, or playing a game; a traveler changing an airline reservation; the household that has an energy conservation system; or the realtor who relays facts, pictures, and bid and contract details for a house to prospective buyers. Box 2.1 lists some of the categories of usage. User applications range from the critical to the trivial. As the January work-



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--> 2 Making Technology Work: Individual and Organized End Users This chapter focuses on end users and the technology foundations they need in order to gain the benefits of the national information infrastructure (NII) in their everyday lives. Additionally, it describes how the absence of definitive information regarding end-user preferences is a major source of uncertainty that infrastructure providers must factor into their deployment decisions. As a starting point for analysis, it addresses these questions: How is demand for access evolving? How does the end user access what he or she wants? What equipment and systems compose the end user's means of access? How does private industry translate what it knows about the above into decisions regarding technology deployment generally? Who Is The End User? The end user of the NII is potentially every man, woman, and child. The end user may be the person at work using a networked computer environment; the person at home doing on-line shopping, sharing ideas with fellow hobbyists, or collaborating on a work project with remotely located colleagues; a child accessing material in a library, sending homework to a teacher, or playing a game; a traveler changing an airline reservation; the household that has an energy conservation system; or the realtor who relays facts, pictures, and bid and contract details for a house to prospective buyers. Box 2.1 lists some of the categories of usage. User applications range from the critical to the trivial. As the January work-

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--> BOX 2.1 What Do Information Infrastructure End Users Do? As a general observation and as documented increasingly in the news media, individuals and organizations are using information technology in a number of endeavors:     Work: In an increasing number of occupations, work involves some type of networked computing. Within the corporate environment, about 80 percent of computers are connected to networks (IDC, 1995f). Electronic mail has become a popular way to communicate, and complex design collaborations can be carried out effectively in networked environments. Further, telecommuting and other forms of distributed work involve individuals working on line from home or while traveling.     Learning: Networked access to information, be it reference material, training material, or ideas arising through discussion, is becoming an important tool in the workplace and in schools, both of which involve important training opportunities for users. Experience with using information technology at work and in school carries over into more informal, unstructured learning opportunities enabled by broad access to networks for communications and information retrieval from the home, libraries, and other places not normally associated with training.     Financial and commercial transactions: Many financial transactions are conducted by the banking industry in a networked environment, and consumers spend billions of dollars buying goods through shopping networks on cable television. Online purchase transactions (plus on-line browsing, price comparison, and customer-service queries) using a PC are becoming increasingly common.     Entertainment and socializing: The average U.S. household has a television set on for more than 40 hours a week (Veronis, Suhler, 1995). Television and radio provide entertainment, news, and other information. In addition to such broadcast services, discretionary user capabilities (e.g., pay per view, video on demand) are part of the future offerings that service providers expect to develop as more advanced network technologies are deployed. Games and on-line services also provide entertainment, as does socializing or communicating generally. From simple telephone calls to video and data conferencing, messaging, and collaborative work, end users communicate more frequently and in more ways via networks.     Religion: Devout people are sharing faith on line. They hold religious services, complete with sermons and at times including music. There are on-line support groups for every creed.     Others: The above categorization is quite broad and does not do justice to many critical areas in which technology deployment can and does have a major positive impact. For example, endeavors that rely on rapid response, such as civilian or military crisis management, already depend heavily on the networked environment, be it landline or wireless, voice or data communications.

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--> shop and May forum made clear, there is no consensus on precisely how or to what extent end users will make use of evolving information technology capabilities—no consensus on demand. Nor, in the absence of expressed demand, is there a consensus on how large a fraction of U.S. households currently can access desired levels of services. Ross Glatzer, past president of Prodigy, noted that experience with on-line services emphasizes the role of communications as the foundation for how services are used, with information offerings and on-line transactions tightly integrated. He cautioned against overemphasizing any one type of activity or assuming that delivery of information and content will dominate. While this view projects a continuum of uses for the NII, one particular issue shapes many of the specific considerations in this report—the distinction between the worker in the corporate setting or large institution and the end user in the small business or in the home. This distinction seems to have polarized the planning of many business sectors, including that of some of the facilities providers. In the near term, there will continue to be differences in the equipment and support available to different broad sets of users: large and small business users in the office or home will use computers and telephones, not television sets; they may use laptops or other computer equipment purchased by their employer, as well as business software or specialized systems to support remote work.1 As discussed below, they have very different needs for their communications infrastructure, requiring such features as more accessible bandwidth to and especially from the home, continuous access with multiple ongoing connections at once, and different sorts of communications security. Over the long term, the distinction between home and small business users and users in large businesses and institutions will disappear as people work increasingly from the home. The trend toward self-employment, typically home-based, is strong, and the very small business and the home are similar in terms of expertise, purchasing power, space, and other attributes.2 In some instances, there are signs of overlapping uses of information technology for business purposes across home and office. For example, Stuart Wecker of Symmetrix Incorporated observed that ''it is hard for me to tell what is a business user," noting that people now install second lines in residences at higher than expected rates. Moreover, the increasing exposure to computing and networking in work, study, and other institutional contexts will both broaden the customer base and lead to the use of tools mastered at work or in school for other than business-related tasks.8 The explosive growth of experimentation, particularly in the context of the Internet, underscores how the simple pattern of an end user at home performing the same work-related tasks as otherwise would be done at a

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--> place of employment does not capture the full range of transference of information technology-enabled capabilities. Why The NII Must Reach The Home Particularly in plans for technology deployment to and network access for the end user in the home, the steering committee found areas of uncertainty and confusion. In one view, advanced network services will penetrate into the home because some one application is so important and desirable that it alone can drive the economics of deployment. This "killer app" economic model has, for residential networking, most commonly anticipated entertainment services as the dominant driver. But the problem with the "killer app" metaphor is the expectation that one activity will saturate the market.3 Communications and content providers contributing to the NII 2000 project did not quantify the analysis, but their comments suggested that an application need only capture a significant percentage (even 10 percent) of the national market for telecommunications to justify the necessary facilities investments.4 Entertainment has appeal as a "killer app" for residential use for several reasons, including the obvious one that broadcast and cable are in the entertainment business already and understand it.5 As a result of their efforts, the principal application of communications technology for the nonworking home consumer has been television entertainment. Even for sectors such as telephony that are only contemplating entering the entertainment business, there is a proven market that can at least justify financial speculation. Home entertainment is an important segment of the U.S. communications industry (see Figure 2.1)6 and will continue to grow with the transition to digital technology. As a set of businesses, however, home entertainment represents only a small percentage of the U.S. economy. One reason is that strictly personal use of information infrastructure for entertainment is a function of disposable personal income (including competing demands on household resources) and discretionary time.7 By contrast, business-related use depends on the shift of activities to the home that traditionally or otherwise require a person to be at a different and specific location—literally, a place of business. The perceived inability of providers to construct a business case for investing in residential information infrastructure in the absence of a "killer app" was a basis for frustration expressed by representatives of various business domains. As examined in Chapter 3, comments from infrastructure builders (excluding cable and terrestrial broadcast television providers) indicate that they are slowing their investments for fear

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--> FIGURE 2.1 Consumer spending on entertainment, 1980 to 1993. SOURCE: "The NII in the Home: A Consumer Service," a white paper contributed to the NII 2000 project by Vito Brugliera, James A. Chiddix, D. Joseph Donahue, Joseph A. Flaherty, Richard R. Green, James C. McKinney, Richard E. Ottinger, and Rupert Stow. Data from P. Kagan. that home entertainment may not yield a sufficient return after all (Mills, 1995c). Pessimistic about consumer market prospects, Paul Green of IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center concluded that "the only way that I see that we are ever going to be able to get fiber to the home, barring some discovery of the 'killer app,' is via smaller and smaller businesses installing their own private fiber or renting it from the telephone company. Eventually it will just become slowly democratized." For user domain representatives, it was one matter to hear about infrastructure being built for what they felt was the wrong "killer app"; it was quite another for them to hear that it might not be built for many decades, given that the speculative "killer app" might be dead on arrival. Evidence of growth in the amount of business that will be conducted to and from the home supports the conclusion that the vast majority of information infrastructure use will involve interaction with industries and government: finance and banking, health care, government services (benefits, information, taxation), manufacturing, and dozens of other domains, each of which has, to varying degrees, been assimilating networked infrastructure into a variety of business processes. Inputs from these sectors indicated that business uses in the home, and not leisure uses, should be driving the plans for deployment of bandwidth to the home. This insight is consistent with the slow rollout of fiber reflecting expectations for communications traffic based primarily on conventional use of

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--> telephony (see Chapters 3 and 5). It is not clear, however, whether slow deployment of non-television bandwidth reflects anticipation of gradual growth in the market for miscellaneous business uses, or instead reflects lack of recognition of the eventual market role of these uses. The small body of current knowledge about deployment of application services compounds the uncertainty. Over the long term, however, business-use financing (treating infrastructure as a cost of doing business) should be at least as important as consumer financing in driving deployment (see "Economic Models" in Chapter 3). Overall, business uses will drive the deployment of information infrastructure because they give rise to interactions that will take place in large institutional settings, small business settings that resemble homes in terms of resources, and homes. Together, inputs from infrastructure suppliers and users suggest that no one application domain is expected to drive more than a small percentage of the activity on the NII. Further, the evolution of different product and service elements—such as voice telephony, electronic mail, and various forms of video distribution—is too uncertain to allow reliable predictions about which, if any, might dominate. It is the steering committee's view that NII technology deployment will be driven by the collective needs and aggregate economics of many domains. In other words, the search for a holy grail of information infrastructure does not lead anywhere, but everywhere. Evolving Demand For NII Capabilities User familiarity with information technology and user demand for NII capabilities will co-evolve, a process that will take time and that may also yield unanticipated results. 8 9 The beginning of such a co-evolution is evident in people's increasing willingness and ability to talk about the Internet, as well as in other indicators that user involvement is greater today than a year ago and still growing:10 more people using information technology at work, school, and at home; more advertisements, articles, and business cards including links to a network or World Wide Web (Web) address; and more movies, popular books, and other mainstream media with computer and networking themes. Yet making the transition from interest in and acquaintance with information technology to fuller acceptance, implementation, and use is not necessarily a natural process. In many instances, end users do not quite know what they want,11 and their perceptions often differ by age. Further, it is difficult to make full use of technologies whose potential end users cannot imagine when they are still unfamiliar with the technology.12 Additional barriers to widespread implementation are both technical—how to incorporate legacy systems, how to ensure interoperabil-

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--> BOX 2.2 Electronic Commerce and Legacy Systems The electronic commerce domain has a large quantity of legacy systems which it needs to interface to, and ultimately phase-out of as it evolves to more modern systems, applications, and processes. These legacy systems and processes (e.g., paper checks, mainframe-based settlement and payment systems, and electronic data interchange value-added networks) will not go away overnight, and a successful electronic commerce infrastructure must allow the user to easily and transparently transfer between and switch back and forth between the new all-electronic and the older, hybrid legacy systems and processes. —Daniel Schutzer, "Electronic Commerce" ity—and cultural. Daniel Schutzer (in a white paper) and others underscored the difficulty of accommodating legacy systems in the near term to facilitate communication among different domains (Box 2.2) as the information infrastructure evolves. White papers by Thomas Rochow et al. and by Robert Mason et al., for example, commented on difficulties with introducing use of information technology in manufacturing that are also applicable across the board to the several user domains examined during the course of the NII 2000 project (see Box 2.3). A majority of user domain representatives at the workshop and forum indicated that the primary issues inhibiting greater NII use were not infrastructure-specific. In fact, several of the speakers commented on their satisfaction with current communication services, and it is also the case that networking in at least some form is being used increasingly in essentially all industries and sectors (see Box 2.4 and Chapter 5 for observations on business networking trends). Enormous opportunities for savings have long been part of the appeal of business networking applications such as electronic data interchange (EDI) and also underlie, for example, power-utility investment in energy demand management systems as discussed in the white paper by John Cavallini et al. Widespread implementation and use of information technology, however, are complicated by ongoing fundamental changes in nearly every user domain that have as much to do with the information itself as with how it is communicated. In the 1980s, for example, EDI attracted attention as an advance beyond internal corporate networking to support interenterprise communication using standardized trade-related documents. In the 1990s, discussions of electronic commerce have reflected extensive changes in activity within and among enterprises and individuals that now have greater flexibility in exchanging information. Current accounts of indus-

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--> BOX 2.3 Adaptation to the Use of Information Technology in Manufacturing Nothing is harder to facilitate than the change of a work process. This is cultural change, often a change from what has been a successful process in the past. Human beings, perhaps as a result of a built-in predisposition to protect the species from the unknown, are strongly resistant to change. —Thomas C. Rochow, George E. Scarborough, and Frank David Utterback, "Electronic Integrated Product Development as Enabled by a Global Information Environment: A Requirement for Success in the Twenty-first Century" … [T]here is concern that the learning cycle for small manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) … to implement information technology is too long and too costly for them to effectively make the transition to the NII environment. The solution to the problem is not simply one of assuring that every SME can purchase and install a new information system. Instead, the solution requires an understanding of how a complex combination of structural, technical, managerial, and economic factors affects the diffusion of information technology in SMEs and puts at risk a significant component of the nation's manufacturing base. —Robert M. Mason, Chester Bowling, and Robert J. Niemi, "Small Manufacturing Enterprises and the National Information Infrastructure" try and sector-specific problems concern how different industries conduct business and/or evolve, both in terms of overall structure and business processes and in terms of the assimilation of all kinds of information technology into those processes.13 14 Within each domain the barriers differ, but contributors to this project delineated some broad themes. Data formatting standards and legacy systems are pervasive concerns. Difficulties have surfaced in the context of EDI, collaborative databases, and other applications that involve document handling and exchange, and the white paper by Stephen Zilles and Richard Cohn speaks, for example, of the need for standards to support all steps of document use—production, viewing, reading, reusing, annotating—and links standards to architectures. Another cross-cutting concern is labeling and identifying people, places, and organizations, as Ed Hammond points out in a white paper. Yet another related concern is lack of cohesiveness within industries and organizations themselves. Richard Sharpe of the Hartford Foundation explained at the January workshop that health care "information is totally fragmented. The business is

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--> BOX 2.4 Demand for Networking in the Business Domain Many business and public sector domains have made significant investments in networking, as reflected in their purchase and use of private networks—local area networks, wide area networks, virtual private networks, and so on. A May 22, 1995, International Data Corporation analysis (IDC, 1995a, Figure 13) arrayed several different industries according to their responses in three categories regarding networking: 1. The degree to which representatives indicated that they considered networking to be critical; 2. The number indicating that most electronic information is transferred by using computer-to-computer communications (as opposed to fax) among large business sites; and 3. The proportion deeming electronic commerce critical. Each sector's responses to each of the three were as follows:   Response (percent) Sector (1) (2) (3) Business services 74.0 25.3 26.4 Banking 71.0 22.1 13.7 Insurance 71.0 12.1 10.3 Retail 59.0 23.7 13.4 Transportation/communications/utilities 55.0 11.9 10.9 Process manufacturing 53.0 13.1 9.1 Discrete manufacturing 51.0 10.5 4.8 Education 49.0 20.8 9.4 Government 48.0 18.9 3.2 Health care 35.0 6.8 7.8 Notwithstanding perhaps predictable differences among infrastructure users by domain and by size of organization, there is evidence that the floor is rising. Growth in activity and sophistication among domains that came later to electronic networking and information services suggests that large interdomain gaps in networking are unlikely to persist, although some specialized needs are likely to continue or emerge (CSTB, 1993a, 1995a). not a system. It is a cottage industry, with each cottage having a different approach to the netware." In addition, the cultural metamorphosis required in the transition to use of information technology within each of the several user domains is a reality that telecommunications providers must factor into their deployment decisions, according to project participants. Several speakers at the

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--> forum noted that infrastructure providers' involvement in helping end users to accept advanced communications capabilities and use them in new ways might accelerate the demand for services. As Thomas Rochow of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation pointed out with regard to manufacturing, "We are talking about a sector of our economy that really has to learn how to crawl before we can walk and then run. If you help us do that, you might be surprised that we can help you co-evolve with us for our mutual benefit." Fostering the adoption of information technology is arguably a task for both the user domains and the facilities providers, given that infrastructure providers have a business interest in being responsive to customers' needs. From the providers' perspective, each application domain has its own language, perspective on its problems, and need for a somewhat tailored approach—all factors that can slow progress. Whether or how well assimilation proceeds, it may also pace the rate of market growth, inasmuch as it speaks to the problem of market penetration in a given domain. In their white paper, Mason et al. note that smaller manufacturing enterprises that may be only at the beginning of the so-called "learning curve" are responsible for up to nearly 40 percent of the nation's manufacturing employment. Richard Sharpe remarked, "Health care is a sleeping giant. This is a major sector, a trillion-dollar business opportunity for you folks who are selling your wares." Variations in requirements imply, in particular, that there is no coherent voice through which users can express their needs up front. It also implies that no one domain may have sufficient clout to sway investment choices one way or another to meet its needs. Thus, when infrastructure builders aim for a constituency that represents a common denominator or compromise among different flavors of demand, it is easy for users in any domain to feel that "they're not talking to us." The lack of specific requirements or variation in perceived requirements could be a problem for those who must decide what infrastructure to build through processes involving up-front commitments to long-lived facilities characterized by economies of scale that are paid back through volume use. As David Messerschmitt of the University of California at Berkeley observed at the forum: Do the needs of various user groups, such as doctors and hospitals and Joe Six Pack, differ radically? If so, we need to think of perhaps different network solutions that are somehow "gatewayed" for these different communities. Or are their needs actually very similar, and not different enough to justify that segmentation, so that we can benefit from the economies of scale of defining a more homogeneous NII network infrastructure?

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--> The discussion here (see Chapters 3 and 4) does not conclude that separate networks are required. The End User As Consumer In the effort to stimulate consumer demand for information technology, affordability, ease of use, and interoperability of available devices stand out as basic considerations. Affordability is a concept that applies to a product's entire life cycle; it includes both the initial purchase price and other costs incurred over a relatively long expected period of use (consumers generally cannot recover the costs of their durable goods in the same way that businesses can recover the capital of past investments and invest it for modernization15). Joseph Flaherty of CBS Incorporated summed up the situation as follows: "So while the network questions might be bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwidth and access, access, access, the consumer questions are cost, cost, cost and life, life, life of the facility." Project contributors associated with television manufacturing and services emphasized the consumer experience with electronics: relatively low price points, long-lived products (especially in the case of the more expensive items), and compatibility. In contrast, contributors associated with the computer industry observed that consumers are investing in personal computer (PC) equipment even though it costs more than entertainment devices, although given the relatively high initial costs, customers are unlikely to upgrade regularly. Costs for equipment are only part of the challenge in increasing consumer demand. Another is the price of service. While broadcast television involves no service charge, Brugliera et al. note in their white paper that basic cable service averages about $300 per year and premium channels an additional $100 per year each, levels that consumers are aware of and can factor into their expectations. Average monthly rates for basic telephone service, according to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) statistics, are about $11 for residential customers and about $43 for single-line business customers (FCC, 1994, pp. 304-305).16 In contrast, online service pricing has been volatile, currently averaging around $10 per month for about 10 hours of "basic" service. Price levels affect willingness to move from one pattern of consumption to another (e.g., from videocassette rental to use of video on demand) and to use new kinds of products. In addition to the issue of overall cost are the issues of predictable cost and easy payment for services, as emphasized by Leonard Kleinrock of the University of California at Los Angeles in the context of nomadic computing needs, which combine portable and alternative computing and communications arrangements (see Box 2.5). The features sought by

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--> Adequate Bandwidth in Both Directions In a typical corporate network environment the end user is able to receive and send data at the same rate. This symmetry is also present at lower speeds when a PC is connected to a network via a modem through conventional telephony or ISDN circuits. However, because of the features of some advanced technologies such as those used by the cable industry, the service that cable providers are anticipated to provide is typically highly asymmetric: users are able to receive data at a higher rate than they can send data. Chapter 4 gives more details on the performance to be expected. Although this upstream or reverse-channel speed is adequate for many applications, many believe that it may become an increasingly limiting factor in achieving the promise of an advanced NII.34 It is important that network architectures take such potential limitations into consideration and allow for future upgrades to assure that demand for ever-increasing bandwidth can be satisfied economically. Multiple-Session Capability Network access must be able to support multiple sessions simultaneously. Corporate networks are able to provide this capability today. For such a capability to be available to the home, some sort of packet switching is required. Packet switching allows a user with a single telephone connection to communicate with multiple remote sites. Inexpensive packet switches are now being marketed for the home or small business that will allow multiple individuals (workers or family members) to have network access simultaneously without having to sign up for multiple service connections. Increasingly, ISDN and conventional telephony modems are being used from the home to carry data packets exactly for this purpose. Current data modems for cable now being evaluated also use the packet mode of transmission to support this objective. Continuous Availability of Service Continuously available service is important because it saves having to dial up to be able to receive information. For example, a user can be notified of received mail as it arrives, not just when the user thinks to check for it (the assumption is that the user is not billed for passive connect time). When availability is continuous the user can offer a service on demand—the user can become a provider. Continuous availability of service is often found in large business or institutional settings. In the home today it is most evident in televisions left on for long periods of time.

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--> Real-time, Multimedia Communication The network must be able to support advanced, real-time, multimedia communication capabilities. Audio and video will become increasingly useful modes of information delivery. Consider, for example, video clips as a part of a Web page advertising some product or a component in an electronic mail message. Another important application area is teleconferencing, especially video conferencing, which many think will be a key facilitator of "telework." The requirement for multimedia, real-time communication implies a need for adequate bandwidth (ISDN may not be enough), bidirectional bandwidth (the teleworker will both send and receive a teleconference), and specific tools for bandwidth management. Improvement of compression is allowing better and better video to be supported on comparatively narrow bandwidths. Video conferencing on 128 kbps looks much better and is much cheaper today than a few short years ago. Nomadicity Network access must be available from multiple points—at work, from the home, on the road—whether tethered to a wireline system or through wireless capabilities. Different mechanisms for access will most likely have different characteristics, both in the physical and logical connection, but the applications must be able to scale with available resources. Nomadicity (any time, anywhere access) is a critical capability for an advanced information infrastructure (see Katz, 1995). It bears on lower physical and services levels of the architecture as well as middleware and application levels. The challenges of providing for nomadicity were outlined in forum comments and in a white paper by Leonard Kleinrock; see Box 2.10. Nomadic users must adapt to differing bandwidth levels from different locations and increasingly will embrace wireless and wireline transmission at different times and locations .35 Supporting them places a premium on interoperability and accommodation of differences in the nature of the error rate, fading behavior, interference levels, and so on between wireless and wireline networks as well as accommodation of multiple wireless architectures that may or may not involve base stations. Security Security considerations will be increasingly important. Although the need for security is currently appreciated more in businesses than in homes, even in businesses there is limited awareness. The topic of security is well beyond the scope of this project, but contributors clearly noted

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--> BOX 2.10 Nomadicity The kinds parameters we have to worry about are the usual ones: bandwidth, latency, reliability, error rate, delay, storage, processing power, interference, interoperability—and, in addition, size, weight, and battery power, another set of key concerns in the things we carry around with us. … We have to deal with the unpredictability of the user, of the network, of the platform. We have to deal with graceful degradation. We have to scale with respect to everything: number, size, quality of service, and so on. —Leonard Kleinrock, University of California at Los Angeles the need for capabilities that allow for the protection of individual privacy, the security of funds transfer and protections for intellectual property, and the integrity of material transmitted. Several contributors commented on how this issue is being tackled within industry domains (e.g., banking and finance, manufacturing), including attempts to use the Internet more securely; deployment issues relate to securing of infrastructure links and end-to-end applications and therefore affect all levels of the architecture and all players, including users themselves. Dependence on networking activities in more and more social and economic activity will broaden concerns about security. Irene Greif described this process at the forum: Once your community is all hooked up so that everybody can talk to everyone else, if you volunteer to organize a PTA committee to do a surprise party for the teachers, you are going to have to figure out whether the discussion bulletin board that you have put in place for that process can be read by all of the teachers, the principal, some of the students, all of the parents. You will be doing access control and database design, and building a whole application. That is not easy. We have had quite a bit of success in the business world with groupware products, getting some of those kind of capabilities out of the hands of the skilled programmers, MIS [management information systems] departments, and into the hands of office workers. But that is still very far from what home users will want. Concluding Observations As outlined above and based on many inputs, the steering committee concluded that the following capabilities are essential service features of an information infrastructure evolving to meet end users' varied and in-

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--> creasingly general-purpose needs: high data rates to the end point, adequate bandwidth in both directions, multiple-session capability, continuous availability of service, real-time and multimedia access, nomadicity, and security. Together, they compose a very different set than is currently available. Comments by representatives of various user domains suggested concern about two alternative and undesirable prospects. On the one hand, decisions regarding financing, timing, bandwidth, symmetry, standards, services, and virtually every other aspect of residential and small-business access appear to many to be driven today by the presumption that home entertainment is the residential "killer app." Industry and government service representatives, concerned about their business or functional needs, are unsure what will result under this scenario. Would the infrastructure deployed as a result be of sufficiently low generality to lock out either some currently viable applications or deployments, or some future ones? Or would deployment of any sort be slowed because of uncertainty about the viability of this business model? On the other hand, responses by different infrastructure providers to varying business pressures might result in an NII characterized by heterogeneous technologies and architectures, interoperating poorly, if at all. Investment in the reengineering of access facilities to the home will be slowed by the difficulty of making an integrated business case for infrastructure deployment, because the potential uses for infrastructure appear in a number of business sectors and are difficult to evaluate. At the same time, development of multiple delivery systems can foster innovation in technology and businesses and can provide more choices to meet diverse user needs and wants. Will citizens and sectors of the economy, as they become sufficiently sophisticated in their use of a range of applications, recognize the implicit cross-application demand for general-purpose capabilities too late to motivate timely provision of such capabilities? The disconnect between users and infrastucture providers must be resolved largely by the user and application domains better articulating their needs and making clear the importance of enabling broad infrastructure use. This is something the user domains have not done well. A second approach to bridging the gap is to bring the infrastructure builders into the industry or sector planning and implementation processes so that the two can deal jointly with the technical and financial models required to serve both. A good example of this approach is represented by the North Carolina Health Information and Communications Alliance established by the state legislature but funded almost entirely by private industry. This project, truly a joint effort of state government, health industry professionals, health industry information vendors, and infra-

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--> structure providers, illustrates that installing infrastructure can be handled more quickly and easily than can working through the political, social, and high-level barriers to use—problems that are expected to take several years to resolve. Despite real concerns and choices, the near-term barriers to end-user access are not the technical features of the access infrastructure. A modern modem and Internet access from a Macintosh or "Windows" PC constitute a sufficient baseline for the next stage in widening access to general-purpose information infrastructure. Users today have concluded that they can experience the World Wide Web quite successfully from a home or a school over telephone lines. One possible path forward involves encouraging further use so that people can learn how to benefit more fully from the information technology. Rather than emphasizing the need for more bandwidth as a minimum, users should perhaps focus on minimizing barriers related to cost, ease of use, a natural process of familiarization and acceptance, and maturation of standards and interfaces, so that the consumer is better able to purchase and integrate the needed components. The enduring issue of standards and interfaces for consumer equipment has ramifications that range to the competitive position of U.S. companies, given the international nature of information infrastructure goods and services. For data access, the steering committee sees a trend toward an Ethernet interface, the so called 10Base-T standard, as the connector for consumer data devices.36 In the television industry, the organization of the next generation of product (e.g., the eventual role of the set-top box and the television) is not currently clear. A number of developments point to progress in the area: the Advanced Television Systems proceeding at the FCC is likely to settle on a wide range of characteristics of digital systems for broadcast television, 37 the preponderance of which will apply to all methods of network distribution; MPEG-2, while not a complete system, has standardized a wide range of digital video characteristics, and the Advanced Television standard is expected to be consistent with MPEG-2; telephone companies have begun the process of procuring video equipment, several settling on an architectural structure consistent with that described in the white paper by Ecker and Mobley and based on a separation of security and network functionality into two parts—network equipment (a network interface module) and other features in consumer equipment (a digital entertainment terminal); and standards bodies (such as the Digital Audio Visual Council) are currently working toward standardizing digital video over cable television systems. It should be noted, however, that there are advocates both for the marketplace setting the standards or for technologists seeking to do the

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--> same by setting standards prior to the introduction of a given technology. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. Notes 1.   See CSTB (1994c) for a discussion of technology needed to support telework. According to a recent survey of Internet users, over two-thirds connect to the Internet from the office as opposed to from home (see Swisher, 1995). 2.   These comments apply primarily to white collar work, but the increasing role of service activities in all manner of industry and sector implies that the kind of work that can be done from the home composes a growing share of the occupational mix. 3.   "Killer app" is a term of art that refers to an application that enables the information infrastructure environment in a way not economically possible before. This is in marked contrast to "killer technology," a term in the electronics industry that refers to a new technology that drives prior technologies out of the marketplace (e.g., what solid-state electronics did to vacuum tubes). 4.   The need to generate adequate return on investment fuels the search for the elusive "killer application." While derided by some, it is a simple expression of the business appeal of something that sells in large (enough) volume to support the kind of traffic aggregation that makes increasing bandwidth supply cost-effective. The value of simply covering a significant percentage of the market seems particularly apparent in the cable industry, which, while considerably smaller and more cash-poor than the telephone industry, appears committed to extensive and expensive facilities upgrading to hybrid fiber coaxial cable systems based largely on the revenue expectations associated with entertainment. Wendell Bailey and James Chiddix observe in a white paper that the networks being deployed are sufficiently general-purpose that they could support other applications besides video entertainment if the market demands them. For example, Time Warner is now providing wireline telephone service to customers in Rochester, New York, in competition with the incumbent telephone carrier. Bailey and Chiddix calculate that with 15 percent penetration of homes passed, the incremental cost of supporting telephony will be under $1,000 per customer in the short term. Increased penetration and improvements in hardware price-performance could lower this cost further. (Cable and telephone company entry into one another's lines of business depends, of course, on regulatory issues in addition to economic and technical factors.) Cable systems originally designed for delivery of video to the home do not typically have large numbers of connections to business premises or to facilities of interexchange carriers; interconnection with the local telephone company is necessary to provide these connections, as has occurred in the Rochester case. 5.   Because of the video component, entertainment is linked to higher bandwidth than is conventional telephony, leading some to argue that if the infrastructure is built to support entertainment it will support other applications. The amount of support it can provide will depend on architectural parameters (e.g., symmetry).

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--> 6.   Terrestrial television broadcasting revenues are derived overwhelmingly from advertising and size the industry at about $30 billion annually (Veronis, Suhler, 1995, p. 104). 7.   New information and entertainment services coexist with currently available services in competing for the consumer's attention and resources. In 1993, the average U.S. adult spent 3,304 hours using communications media, such as television, radio, recorded music, newspapers, books, magazines, theatrical and videotaped movies, and video games. (These data, from Veronis, Suhler & Associates, do not include time spent using telecommunications services such as telephony.) This total has varied within a 3 percent band since 1989, and Veronis, Suhler predict only a modest 1 percent increase in the next 5 years. The most popular media in terms of time spent were television (1,560 hours, almost half of the total), radio (1,102 hours), music (294 hours), and newspapers (169 hours). Educational software and consumer on-line and Internet services are the segments projected to increase most rapidly in terms of consumer use over the next 5 years, at over 20 percent and over 36 percent per year, respectively. Because both start from comparatively minuscule shares of consumer time, they have the capacity to grow substantially without having to drive out mature services such as television and radio. (See Veronis, Suhler, 1995, p. 15) Another recent survey (Hamlin, 1995) by NPD Group found that respondents recorded about 4.5 hours daily spent on "entertainment," which included television-video-music, reading, hobbies, visiting friends, or out-of-home entertainment, and just under 3 hours daily on "other" activities that included such disparate categories as gardening and on-line networking. The contrast between the results of these studies underscores how little is really understood (or consistently described) in terms of consumer behavior. 8.   Kraut's Home Net project shows that the methodologies developed in workplaces are being taken into homes as well (Kraut et al., 1996). 9.   Key issues concern speed of change, kinds of change, perhaps obstacles to deployment due to naive analysis—or absence of analysis about cost-benefit distribution (as documented in Olsen et al., 1993). See Greif (1988) for historical background and technical and social papers. An instructive example concerns the Version Manager added to Lotus 1-2-3: early focus group evaluators disliked the idea of a group spreadsheet but could grasp immediately the need for alternative versions of ranges in their individual "what-if" analyses. Sometimes during the course of a single 2-hour session, some subjects' attitudes about group spreadsheets turned around completely as they talked through for themselves how having personal "versioning" would then make it more likely that they could share their spreadsheets. Incremental change and perceived personal payoff paved the way to acceptance of a technology that initially seemed unfamiliar and of benefit primarily to others. 10.   The rise of the magazine Wired may be emblematic: it "has become the totem of a major cultural movement" (Keegan, 1995). 11.   According to Irene Greif, Lotus Development Corp. has learned about the advantage of supplying more features than a developer can sell at the outset. People who thought that they were buying into LotusNotes to share information later learned the value of the access control and authentication features. The

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-->     design tools also come into play in fairly short order, as end users realize that their group needs something slightly different than other groups. 12.   The majority of individuals who use PC software may utilize only the basic capabilities of that software, without taking advantage of its more advanced features. Similarly, there are those who hardly use video cassette recorder features beyond hitting "on" and "play" for a rented video. Even years of exposure to personal computers have left most end users uncomfortable with the information-sharing potential of NII technologies. Groupware systems have been installed at many forward-thinking corporations only to be rejected by users who were not ready to embrace such technology. 13.   In many instances, these issues reflected major changes taking place within a particular domain and hold significant implications for the NII (e.g., the trends toward managed care and home-based patient care will have profound effects on the health care domain as well as its NII-related requirements). With regard to health care, for example, the Council on Competitiveness observed that "telemedicine will not be used until it is considered a proper standard of medical care, and it will not be considered acceptable care until it is more widely used" (COC, 1994, p. 7). Even industries with considerable experience using networked systems, such as banking, continue to innovate. For example, a new effort to interconnect banks, the EDI Bank Alliance Network Exchange, has been described as an alternative to more traditional forms of electronic data interchange that will provide more flexibility to banks but also affect internal bookkeeping and reporting (see Messmer, 1995a). In institutional settings, in particular, the accumulation of technical infrastructure relates to service demand and use. For example, one of the biggest obstacles to deployment of LotusNotes has been lack of infrastructure. Sales initially were made to large customers who could show installed and working PC LANs and serious support for networking, on the grounds that otherwise the customer would have to make too large a change at once and would not be able to separate issues of infrastructure deployment from those of application-level deployment. 14.   Federal program attention to health care and other major domains that have been called "national challenge" areas has fostered progress in scientific and technical applications of information infrastructure in those domains. As noted in the project white paper by Randy Katz et al., those applications involve small numbers of dedicated (and motivated) users, but they help to validate the promise of information technology and illuminate domain-specific challenges. Addressed as one of the goals of the federal High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative, National Challenges include work in digital libraries, public access to government information, electronic commerce, civil infrastructure, education and lifelong learning, energy management, environmental monitoring, health care, and manufacturing processes and products (CIC, 1995). See also CAT (1994a,b). 15.   Businesses, too, are unhappy with current tax law on depreciation. The mandated 5-year depreciation cycle on computer hardware means that new technology purchases are often delayed while thousands of PCs complete their depreciation term. Says one chief information officer, "You have a tax accountant

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-->     driving IS [information systems] policy, and that's bizarre." As a result, some companies are quietly expensing their computer hardware, while others are exploring leasing options. See Halper (1995). 16.   Affordability is a concern for small businesses as well as residences. 17.   The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others recently launched a business-service suite (a set of bundled specific services) aimed at small businesses (see Anthes, 1995b) that includes such resource-location functions. 18.   For example, users of collaborative software might be confused in a real-time conference if they are unable to make "here" and "there" references, unless a system translates these for separated users. 19.   The white paper by Avram Miller and Ogden Perry discusses this point further. Early reports of the end-of-year sales patterns suggest that consumer purchases of high-speed modems for home PCs grew, reflecting an estimated increase from 70 to 90 percent of (all) PCs sold with modems, most also featuring installed software for on-line service access (Templin, 1995). 20.   See Veronis, Suhler & Associates (1995), p. 313. Some sources offer a higher estimate, up to 35 percent; see, for example, Maresca (1995). 21.   Other PC components, not central processing unit (CPU)- or memory-related, that carry significant costs include the color display, power supply, communication interface, and disk storage, which have improved more rapidly than the CPU. A breakthrough in the cost of the display unit would rapidly contribute significantly to the prospect of developing a cost-reduced data access device. The white paper by Brugliera et al. notes that the display and cabinet constitute 75 percent of the total cost of television equipment. 22.   See Clark and Rigdon (1995), Ziegler (1995a), and Burgess (1995). Oracle has proposed a $500 "network computer" intended to allow Internet access over telephone lines (see Wall Street Journal, 1995c). Apple Computer has developed Pippin, a multimedia player and Internet access device that attaches to the television. Pippin is expected to be available in 1996 for less than $1,000 (Hamm, 1995). 23.   Attaining universal access was the focus of a RAND Corporation study that called for universal electronic mail (Anderson et al., 1995). There is an obvious economic barrier facing a portion of households that would like to own a PC. One study reported that while 59 percent of households with income of at least $50,000 own a PC, the number is 29 percent for those in the $30,000 to $49,999 range and 19 percent for those below $30,000 (KRT Graphics, 1995). 24.   Each week, 50 hours of HDTV-compatible programming is available now in the form of 35-mm film used in most prime-time productions. 25.   Voice messaging, call forwarding, caller identification, and other services are obvious examples. 26.   The white papers by Robert Roche and Mary Madigan give details. 27.   By extension, various wearable computing and communications devices are also expected to reinforce use of information infrastructure. Features and costs are even more speculative for these products than for larger portable communications and computing devices. 28.   Philips Electronics recently announced plans for a video telephone that could be worn on the wrist and offer Internet access (Bloomberg Business News, 1995).

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--> 29.   This kind of incompatibility between cable service offerings and advanced consumer electronics features motivated the cable compatibility element of the 1991 Cable Act (P.L. 98-549), amending 47 USC Sec. 544. It required that ''[w]ithin one year after October 5, 1992, the Commission shall prescribe regulations which establish minimum technical standards relating to cable systems' technical operation and signal quality. The Commission shall update such standards periodically to reflect improvements in technology. A franchising authority may require as part of a franchise (including a modification, renewal, or transfer thereof) provisions for the enforcement of the standards prescribed under this subsection. A franchising authority may apply to the Commission for a waiver to impose standards that are more stringent than the standards prescribed by the Commission under this subsection." The provision led to standards-setting activities (and associated debates) within the cable industry. 30.   The inclusion of both rented and purchased components assumes some continuation of current business practice whereby some service providers, such as cable multiple system operators, supply equipment to facilitate upgrades, protect against theft of service, and influence how consumers use their offerings. 31.   A fully interactive HCT requires about nine custom-integrated circuits, 975,000 gates, and more than 1,500 interconnections between the integrated circuits. With advances in integration, the number of required integrated circuits may be improved to perhaps two by 1998, which would improve the marketability of the HCT to consumers. 32.   Eventually, technology (e.g., plug-in boards) may support consumer access to the vertical blanking interval, thus facilitating more direct interactivity (Intercast, 1995). 33.   As discussed in Chapter 4, there are a number of options for more advanced transmission services to the home. In addition to copper wire, 60 percent of U.S. homes have cable television service. Since 93 percent of homes are passed by cable service, further deployment of coax access, as for HFC, is relatively easy in these neighborhoods. The evolution of traditional cable systems to hybrid fiber coaxial cable increases the potential for provision of advanced network services with higher bandwidths. Broadcast is another path to the home. There is today limited ability to carry data in the unused portions of the video signal (e.g., the vertical blanking interval), and the anticipated move to digital video broadcast will provide much greater capacity. The rapid emergence of direct broadcast satellite is another path to the home, with similar opportunities for general information delivery. Interactivity for these two paths is hampered by the fact that the telephone is the most likely back channel for the foreseeable future. Cellular, and eventually PCS, telephones are also points of access from the home. However, they are low-bandwidth connections and are likely to be used for data access only when alternative wire services are not available. 34.   ISDN is used to support video and data conferencing, for example, but it is difficult to upload a great amount of data. 35.   Meanwhile, software to support nomadic users is providing options for conserving on bandwidth (e.g., through compressed file transfer and transmission

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-->     of only changed portions rather than the entirety of files) as well as remote control of network nodes (e.g., printers) and security (Watt, 1995). 36.   Ethernet is a mature and inexpensive technology. As other technologies, such as asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), mature and become widespread, it is conceivable that they would be used for such purposes. 37.   The FCC will be building on voluntary standards setting that is ongoing in industry.