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trip report from the ninth World Wide Web conference in amsterdam, the netherlands

wednesday 17-may-2000: second day

home - panel session: towards a WAP Wide Web ? - keynote: "the convergence of Internet and television technologies: how will it change the living room experience ?"

panel session: towards a WAP Wide Web ?

members of the panel:

first, the panelists listed the main features of the World Wide Web (WWW) and the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and their underlying standards.

  WWW today WWW tomorrow WAP today
application layer HTTP 1.0/1.1 HTTP 1.1 WSP / WTP
security SSL 2.0/3.0 TLS 1.0 WTLS
transport layer TCP/IP TCP/IP with extensions WDP

*) XHTML 1.0 is a reformulation of HTML 4.0 in XML 1.0


the moderator asked what type of content authors should provide today: HTML, WML or both or even more ?

the panelists basically agreed on the statement, that the issue should be raised differently: content provides should try to separate content, layout and behavior. if they manage to do so, the same content can then be presented differently on different platforms: workstations, mobile devices and even on paper. Cascaded Style Sheets (CSS) help to separate content and presentation. however, mobile devices also require different user dialogs due to their limited capabilities. this approach does not only help mobile users, but also users with disabilities, because e.g. aural browser have similar limitations and restrictions as mobile devices. therefore the mobile working group joins forces with the people behind the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) to work on standards which will better support the deployment of devices with limited capabilities.

The panelists predicted, that WAP will be around for about one or two years. the mobile phone, as we know it today, will eventually disappear. it will be broken up into two or three devices: an ear-piece which can be worn all day long, a sender/receiver device with no buttons or keys and a PDA-like device for input/output. the later will turn into a general user interface for multiple devices. it will serve not only as an electronic agenda, address book and as a browser, but also as the input/output device for the mobile phone, the TV set and so on. all these devices will exchange information via Bluetooth, a new wireless communication standard for distances up to ten meters - later maybe up to a hundred meters.

the panel concluded:

WAP it's not just presenting the same content as on the Web, only in a different format.

WAP users usually do not just browse, they look for particular information such as phone numbers, addresses, movie schedules etc. unlike with wired devices, their current location - and maybe other environmental information such as temperature etc. - may influence the information the user wishes to receive. the mobile user would like to retrieve information such as "where are the nearest restaurants ?", "what cinemas are in the area and what movie do they play ?" and alike. and if she or he likes the film, it should be possible to order the tickets via the phone ...

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keynote speaker paul de bot, Philips Digital Networks:
"the convergence of Internet and television technologies: how will it change the living room experience ?"

paul de bot gave an interesting outlook on how TV and Internet may convergence in the future. he foresees a centralized access to the TV channels and the web for each household. a server-like device will store up to 48 hours of the latest TV programs locally, so that the user can view the news, shows etc. at the most convenient time. the same server will also provide Internet access with up to 2 MB bandwidth. the TV set may serve as display, the PDA as keyboard - and they will communicate over Bluetooth (see panel session above).

the speaker gave a demo of MPEG-4, the new Internet video standard with a very efficient compression method for low bandwidth. it allows to break one picture into several fragments and put them together at the receiver side, which also allows personalized advertizing and other interesting add-ons. he mentioned that personalization requires digital rights management and watermarking to protect copyrights.

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production note:

this trip report was written on a Vadem Clio C-1050 running Windows CE with Pocket Word. It was then transferred to a DELL Latitude notebook and modified as needed. this document is supposed to be HTML V4.0 compliant.

2nd_day.html / 7-jun-2000 (ra) / reto ambühler