Theme: Digital threats in Cyber life
Games of ‘cops and robbers’ are continuing into the digital era. Technology brings clever ways of detecting and preventing crime, with monitoring public places, obtaining digital evidence or pinpointing locations of mobile phones. However, the same technology is also used for sophisticated crimes – organising gang movements, co-ordinating attacks, not to mention digital thefts. Tools of social networking have been at the heart of the Arab Spring, but also aided criminal riots in London. Surveillance cameras capture perpetrators of offences but they also infringe on our liberties. Lawful interception is crucial to state security, but phone tapping of victims in order to sell newspapers is abhorrent to us all. Our industry has to be prepared to cope with both angles of cyber life, navigating carefully between right and wrong, risks and benefits…
Theme: Cloud power - for industry, commerce, social networking, at home and on the street.
Most major companies already use the cloud - cloud computing, that is - or are planning to do so within the next few years. Although many of these companies expect to increase their spending on services delivered through the cloud, most are seriously concerned about what services they will use the cloud for, the service providers they will use and the risks they will face - the potential loss of control over their own data and operations and especially the security of their data.
No one doubts the savings cloud-based services can provide, the efficiencies it can bring or even the ‘green’ benefits to be derived, but CIOs and CTOs the world over are beset by doubts regarding both known risks and imponderable possibilities.
On the other hand, the cloud is a relatively risk-free way to take advantage of applications that and access information that just won’t fit in a mobile phone. The growth of mobile Internet access and an explosion of cloud-based services for personal use will parallel the growth of smartphone adoption. Operators - to the extent they can keep building-out their network to accommodate the traffic - the traffic generated by the access to content and applications on the cloud will build operator revenues without diverting capital away from the network. The massive computing power of the cloud will, in the near future, enable even relatively simple smartphones and feature phones to access what today would be unimaginably powerful and sophisticated applications - even for a desktop computer.
To facilitate interaction, businesses are starting to use the cloud to organise social networks within their business environments; they are also exploring the use of the cloud to track and mine information from existing social networks. At the IEEE Cloud 2010 conference a ‘social cloud’ was proposed that would make it possible for ‘friends’ on a social networks to share information, computing capacity and other online resources. But that is only the start. The raw computing power of the cloud will make possible enhanced contextual information - real-time mobile-delivered information about people, situations, places and more - as we come across them - that will greatly enrich the way we interact with others and deal with common or uncommon real-life situations.
The cloud is still a work in progress, an important work, and its final shape is far from known. We know, though, that the powerful resources the cloud can bring to bear in our lives will change the role it will play in business, in mobile computing and even in the way we deal with our social life.
Theme: When everything connects
We are moving towards an era when everything and everyone is connected at all times. The value of a network expands exponentially as the number of users increases - but so does the traffic, the power consumption and at times its vulnerability. Network growth involves a wide variety of hardware, software and financial planning and practical considerations. There are also profound economic and social consequences to a highly - pervasively - interconnected world.View items...