The internet is reaching its overload limit

25 May 2011

The internet as we know it is approaching overload because it was never designed to handle the weight of people and processes it labours under. For this reason, governments are being urged to invest in their national digital infrastructures to remain relevant.

To handle the constant increase in data and bandwidth-heavy services, investment must be made by governments worldwide in critical ICT infrastructure and the internet must evolve, according to Miguel Ponce de Leon, chief technologist with the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Technology.

He made his comments as key experts from industry and academic institutions, and the private and public sectors prepare to gather for the third annual meeting of the Irish Future Internet Forum in the Kilkenny Parade Tower, Kilkenny on 1 June. The event is jointly hosted by the TSSG and Invest Kilkenny, on behalf of the Irish Future Internet Forum.

“The internet is at the centre of all of our social and economic activities,” Miguel Ponce de Leon said. “Huge capital investments are being made across Europe, the USA and Asia to create a future internet that will meet the unprecedented demands of our knowledge society.

“Ireland must not be left behind. It is critically important that Ireland engages fully in the conception and development of the future internet to ensure the sustainable growth of our ICT sector.

A crucial junction on the path of future internet development

“In the current economic climate, Ireland is facing a crucial junction in the path of future internet development, research and education,” de Leon continued.

“A thriving IT sector has been created in Ireland, but without further investment in more advanced infrastructure and services we could adversely affect the growth of new industry and direct investment.

“Future internet technologies will play a critical role in the development of ‘smart energy’ infrastructures. Energy supply will need to evolve into a dynamic system to provide the smart energy infrastructure needed to support society in 2020 and beyond.

“With a higher proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources, there are increasing demands for design and development of ‘smart’ architectures that support the distributed, in addition to the centralised, generation of energy, which can also adapt to highly volatile energy supplies, such as from wind and solar generators,” he concluded.

Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd, TD, will address the forum, and more than 100 delegates will attend the event, which will address the threats to the future of Ireland’s smart economy and consider ways in which to protect Ireland’s position as a leading ICT research hub.

Speakers at the forum include Kim Cameron, chief architect of identity in the Identity and Access Division at Microsoft; Malcolm Crompton, previous Federal Privacy Commissioner of Australia and current director of  the International Association of Privacy Professionals, and Michel Riguidel, head of the Department of Computer Science and Networks, at ENST (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications).

Participants in the Irish Future Internet Forum will examine how Ireland can develop ‘smart energy’ ICT environments, develop strategies to support greater collaboration between Irish Future Internet activity and non-European initiatives (such as those in Asia, Africa, South America and the US), and facilitate greater collaboration between Irish stakeholders.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years