Feature: Beyond Science: Grids for the Media at IST 2006
Media convergence could seem a concept distant from the scientists and IT specialists working on the grid, but it may provide the next application area for grid technology. Broadcasting and the media industry share the need to generate, preserve and manage huge quantities of digital content, which could be facilitated by distributed systems such as grids. These ideas were recently explored at the IST 2006 conference held in Helsinki, Finland, through a session hosted by BELIEF, the Bringing eLectronic Infrastructures to Expanding Frontiers project.
Â“Several case studies have helped us understand current forms of convergence, like television and mobile,Â” said Stephen Benians, BELIEF coordinator. Â“Other presentations have brought to the fore new domains, such as grid data-mining and journalism, gaming, e-Learning and digital libraries, which have much to gain from convergence and the adoption of electronic and research infrastructures.Â”
The BELIEF Networking Session at IST 2006 brought together e-Infrastructure experts and professionals from different media-related sectors to explore the abilities of e-Infrastructures beyond their well-known scientific potential. Through case studies and real-life scenarios, participants were shown how e-Infrastructures can catalyse and facilitate new working methods and forms of collaboration across a broad sector range. They also discussed how collaboration between industry and research in this area could enable the exchange of technological know-how in ways that are not possible through in-house R&D projects.
Fiore Basile, from the Building Resources for Integrated Cultural Knowledge Services project, attended the session to understand the wide range of possible application scenarios of e-Infrastructures in the diverse sectors that make up the media industry.
Â“There are several interesting applications for digital content distribution, including some for cultural heritage institutions,Â” said Basile. Â“However, before embarking on this technology, non-user communities should consider the cost-effectiveness for small institutions, the management of intellectual property rights and user-distributed content.Â”
Summing up the session, Benians added: Â“Virtuous circles of collaboration and innovation between industry and research can open up new and exciting possibilities by developing and testing new products and enhanced services that will have a high commercial value in tomorrowÂ’s marketplace.Â”
- Owen Appleton, Contributing Editor