What new technologies are we considering?

Directory. The publication of contact details and other descriptive information is often done on websites, always following local standards. This means that an attempt to contact a party is self-help, but requires manual work: the automation is one-sided only. An LDAP Global Directory uses standardised structures to represent contact information, identities and public-key credentials, and possibly even technical information. This means that it is easier to automate both ends of a communication. Imagine your email showing your ways to call a person, chat with them or send them a document.

Presence. Knowing when someone is online can be helpful. This may involve information about holidays, being on the phone, in a meeting or in a hotel. Such real-time information can be spread through various presence systems, such as SIP and XMPP.

Telephony. There is no reason to treat people as a number. They can be called over the Internet, using their online identity. It is possible to use trust systems to ensure that a calling party is indeed the expected caller, and not a spammer. It is possible to encipher the media streams between parties. All this can be established through SIP for complex operations, and potentially using XMPP for the link to an end-point user. In all cases, we will support telephony over IPv6, which resolves old problems with one-sided media connections.

Chat. Although chat sounds like a hobby technology, it is actively used in organisations as an incredibly potent way to quickly get in contact with a collegue. The implicit agreement is that people can see each other online, but won't greet each other or engage in smalltalk. Chat is only used in such environments when some information needs to be exchanged. This turns out to be very efficient, especially when combined with presence to ward off peers while concentrating on matters. The concrete protocol for this is XMPP.

Posting. Being able to send small stories (or "blogs") into the world is a great way of sharing your interests with others. We aim to support feeds over ATOM and RSS. Feedback can swim upstream using the Salmon protocol. VIsibility can be limited with the aforementioned identity and trust mechanisms.

File sharing. We are looking for ways to post not just textual information, but also more general streams, such as photo streams, and documents. Needless to say that the scope of publication would be controlled under the identity and trust setup.

Microblogging. Protocols are to be determined; there is a wide range of OpenSocial protocols that could do this, but not standard mechanism has yet evolved. One thing we are certainly interested in is to create IRC channels with controllable visibility; this would link in with the identity and trust schema's. Possible applications of that would be a chat session with a group of friends, another with family members, and yet another with a group at work. IRC has survived the years because it is incredibly potent and lends itself to get together as a group. On top of that, users preferring a chat interface can use crossover applications, for instance from XMPP to IRC. What is still missing here, is informal #tagging.

Streaming. We are looking for mechanisms to support streaming of real-time, possibly even live media over a role. As before, visbility can be controlled using the identity and trust setup that we have planned. This is work to be done, but technologies that interest us include BitTorrent and Tribler.

Calendaring. In-house calendaring is becoming normal practice in many companies, but as soon as company boundaries are crossed, it becomes a bit of a drama. CalDAV is a protocol that resorts to polling a web-based calendar location; iMIP is a form to attach calendars to email, where it needs to be picked up manually (or otherwise spammers may book you into a meeting with them) and so there is a need to promote calendaring across domains. The iCalendar file format is standardised, but we see various better ways of exchanging them. The aim is to automate as much as possible about cross-domain planning, ranging from hair dressers to corporate meetings, including iCalendar users as well as those who prefer a paper diary.

...and much, much more!

Read more about...

  1. ...our mission
  2. ...how we are breaking through the technology impasse
  3. ...what our architecture offers
  4. ...what new technologies we are considering
  5. ...the link to concrete projects
  6. ...how to contact us