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Forging a more human-centric network

October 15, 2014

John Hayduk   

Blog Contributor

In my previous post, I explained the importance of the internet being built on a solid network, because any faults could have serious consequences. At the same time, how do we also look ahead to build the most human-centric network possible?

As the number of devices on the network increases, so does the volume of configuration data. This is a problem that remains unsolved. From a policy point of view, it’s important we have mechanisms in place to prevent any device or group of devices from consuming more capacity than intended to prevent the wider network from clogging up.

We also need to achieve balance between openness, i.e. allowing a reasonable amount of data to pass through, and having control of the network and the devices. Needless to say there is also a cost implication as well. Good security isn’t cheap, and you must also make security controls flexible enough so connectivity retains agility. Any issues with software bugs or network mal-performance will be amplified with the Internet of things. It’s up to service providers to deliver these mechanisms and policies, and the industry needs to recognize it.

That leads us to some interesting new questions—questions that shift our attention from supporting the network for the network’s sake to supporting the network for humans’ sake. How do you balance the evolution of the Internet with the evolution of how people use technology?

It’s true that technology now evolves faster than human behaviour.  And yet, human imagination is an infinite resource, whereas network capacity is not. This two-way tension raises some interesting questions such as:

  • How do we ensure that the network is resilient, sensitive and self-healing enough to handle unpredictable strains on capacity given the explosion of devices, connections and not-always predictable usage patterns?
  • On the flip side, how will the evolution of the Internet impact the evolution of human behaviour?
  • How do we get human beings to deal with faster rates of change than we’re used to? Some people are already struggling with today’s technology, so how will they cope with greater levels?
  • What mechanisms will enable us to check the vital signs for the network and know that everything is functioning normally?
  • When an anomaly arises, how do you make sure that the network remains in an operating state?

These are the questions that will shape how we evolve along with our new digital environment, and these are the questions that will safeguard not only our digital future, but our shared human future, as well.

How is your environment evolving? Leave John a comment below, and follow him on Twitter @john_hayduk