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Internet to fuel social computing.

NEW YORK--Over the next decade, the Internet will spark profound changes in the nature of communications, resulting in "social computing" and direct contact with one's customers, according to an Intel executive.

Avram Miller, the company's vice president of business development, told an audience at the Bear Stearns Technology Conference here that the industry is at the beginning of a new medium he dubbed The Connected PC. The Internet will be a heavy focus of this new medium, coupled with new kinds of computing applications.

In fact, Miller argued, new applications have already begun appearing. One, Jumbo, is a shareware selling service run by a bunch of teenagers. Another is Senior Net, sponsored by a group of retirees. A third, Plugged In, was started by a group of under-privileged kids who design web pages.

"This new medium is unleashing the creativity of everyone and changes the way people get access to distribution," Miller said.

"I see bridge as a killer application on the Internet," he said. "It's not about playing cards, it's about talking. It's known as social computing, people interacting through the personal computer.

"And I see this as a major driver to the use of PCs."

Miller cited three elements that will help create this new medium: compelling applications, a communications infrastructure with the proper bandwidth, and the PC itself.

Bandwidth, however, has not kept pace with the ability of the PC, he noted. "PCs are over 50 times faster than bandwidth. All of us using PCs at home spend a lot of time waiting. We need much greater speeds, to rival TV and stereo systems."

One way to achieve this is through the use of CD-ROMs and DVDs, Miller suggested, adding other ways might be through cable, satellite and the phone system.

This new medium also will mean integrated marketing in order to reach out effectively to customers, added Miller, and ultimately it will change the way people view the PC.

"This will make the PC indispensible to our lives and it will change the way we communicate," he said. "PCs will be on all the time."

For Intel, the most important work in the near future will be expanding the market for PCs and helping bring about the media evolution quicker, he reported.
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Author:Veilleux, C. Thomas
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Jul 1, 1996
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