31 March 2009
Social media and IP developments driving technology trends
ACMA’s 2009 update of developments in technology, Trends in Communications and Media Technology, Applications and Use has identified five key developments that are placing pressure on media and communications regulation.
‘Investment in broadband, digital and Internet-Protocol (IP)-based infrastructure, and the ongoing evolution in web standards are influencing technology developments in Australia,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman.
Internet Protocol (IP) is becoming increasingly integrated across a range of networks and services. The key developments evident from the embedding of IP platforms are:
- an increasing use of IP-based video across a range of networks and applications providing further impetus for professionally produced content on the internet;
- a continued evolution in cellular and other wireless networks and mobile operating systems, all capable of supporting packet-based transmissions and new software applications; and
- the use of web-based computing systems like cloud computing that enables use of centralised computing services, which will materially influence the way people work and the way companies operate.
The rapid expansion of social media meanwhile is fuelling developments in:
- social networking and the rise of new media influencers; and
- the personalisation of web experiences, including location-based services.
Trends in Communications and Media Technology, Applications and Use provides an overview of infrastructure, applications, social and economic trends and developments, and anticipated developments over the next five to ten years. The report focuses on developments since the release of ACMA’s Top Six Trends in Communications and Technologies in May 2008.
‘The views set out in the paper are not put forward as predictions, and nor is this an attempt to pick technology winners or losers,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman. ‘It postulates that the foundations of convergent communications and media services are now so well advanced that attention to current and emerging regulatory pressure points has become an unavoidable and a critical element in ACMA’s forward planning and how it successfully bridges to the future.’
New emerging regulatory challenges identified in the report include:
- an increasing public interest in data portability between web service providers, and the management of online identity, data and reputation; and
- the impact of evolving cyber-crime economies which operate across the internet.
Some of the changes identified further embed established regulatory pressure points, particularly:
- the increasing demand for and use of radiofrequency spectrum to support IP-based services and the evolution of high speed data on mobile networks;
- managing privacy where there is an increase in location-aware services and the use of personal information for behavioural marketing; and
- changes in the way content is produced that allows distribution across multiple platforms.
‘While expectations in the short-term are likely to be qualified by the current economic downturn, the developments and trends outlined in the report indicate ongoing significant change in the sector over the next five to 10 years,’ Mr Chapman said.
A copy of the report is available on ACMA’s website.
Media contact: Donald Robertson, ACMA Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7980.
Trends in communications and media technology, applications and use follows up on developments since the release of ACMA’s Top Six Trends in Communications and Technologies report (Top Six Trends) in May 2008.
The report provides an overview of communications and media infrastructure, applications, social and economic trends and developments in 2008, and anticipated developments over the next five to ten years.
Some continuity from the Top Six Trends report is provided through references to incremental advances in trends and developments flagged previously, such as spectrum sharing, deep packet inspection, the semantic web and social web.
While the report has a technology focus, a section on the social and economic implications of technology developments has been added. The new section recognises that the use of technology also enables innovation and change that affects the way that Australians communicate, stay informed and conduct their business.
This report contributes to work ACMA is undertaking to inform its understanding of the operation of regulation in the communications and media markets, and in particular the impact of convergence on ACMA’s regulatory activities. In 2008, voice over internet protocol was a major area of ACMA interest in the effects of convergence on voice regulation.
ACMA will continue to update this report on a regular basis.
Research was conducted using desk top analysis over the period April – November 2008, focusing on developments of significance reported on over the period.
ACMA’s research program in 2009
ACMA has regulatory obligations to report and advise on telecommunications, radiocommunications, broadcasting and the internet.
This report supports ACMA’s statutory responsibilities to be informed and advise on technology developments and service trends.
Other research ACMA is conducting under this program include reports examining changes in consumer use and attitudes towards communications and media services, business models, and spectrum management arrangements including auction design and pricing for allocations.