The Irish may take up e-voting yet

7 Jul 2010

The debacle that was the abandonment of e-voting amid uncertainties over security and privacy several years ago may one day reach its inevitable conclusion – it turns out the Irish aren’t that averse to the idea.

Cisco has today released its Digital Expectations Survey, which polled the public’s expectations for technology over the next decade.

Some 500 members of the Irish public guessed at when they thought a range of technology services would be available.

Some of these services are already in use – video conferencing, mobile parking payments and web TV – and others are close to availability – such as 100Mbps broadband – but in a large number of cases, the public’s expectations lagged considerably behind reality.

Irish public’s predictions for technology

Asked when they think people could start paying for parking meters via their mobile, some 74pc said that would happen by 2012. Er, this actually has been around since 2002.

Asked when they think people would start to watch more TV using the internet than you do using standard television reception methods – 71pc say by 2012. Since 2006, most Irish kids and a lot of adults have been avid YouTube users, now they share content on Twitter and Facebook.

When asked if people would watch their gas usage in real time, and pay as you go from your bank account if you choose – 55pc say this would happen by 2012.

Asked when they think people would have a 100Mbps internet connection to their houses – 56pc say by 2015. Well, UPC is launching 100Mbps broadband services this August to 500,000 homes.

The e-voting issue seems less taboo than it was six or seven years ago and perhaps because of the growth of social media as a democratic outlet, the percentage of people who believe they could vote online in elections by 2015 stands at more than 52pc.

On an outer space plain, 80pc believe that by 2020 it would be possible to talk to people in space with the same call quality as a call to mum down the road.

Some 60pc believe that this year people will conduct most of their work meetings by video conference rather than in person.

Cyber politicians

But the rise of social media has its limitations as far as many are concerned and when asked if it would be possible to hold a seat on your local council simply by joining a Facebook group, 66pc said it would never happen.

Fridges capable of ordering shopping automatically when food supplies run low will be commonplace by 2018, according to 54pc, while 67pc believe that people will be able to avoid the spread of germs by having routine GP checkups over high quality video than in person.

Teleporting Star Trek-style will never happen, 67pc say emphatically.

“In the last 25 years, access to the latest technology has moved from being a closed speciality for the knowledgeable few to become an open and collaborative fabric of modern society,” said Kim Majerus, managing director of Cisco Ireland.

“As such, tech-savvy consumers have wrenched control away from the organisational IT departments and are now shaping the future development of technology in Irish society,” she added.

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