Greetings from the founder

Jun Murai, Ph.D.
Jun Murai, Ph.D. Founder

Greetings from the founder

The IETF marked its 100th IETF meeting in November 2017, and I participated in the discussion about what IETF 200 will look like. Essentially, since the IETF’s history goes back some 30 years, we were called on to discuss the outlook for the next 30 years or so.

The internet has been built over the course of 30 years. Where is it headed in the next 30 years? This is a question relevant also to those involved in WIDE Project, which marks its 30th anniversary in 2018.

New developments in video signals are a familiar starting point for advances in internet technology. While debate about the online retransmission of terrestrial broadcasts is ongoing in Japan, we have already seen some events simultaneously retransmitted on a 4K-broadcast basis: the New Year Ekiden and Hakone Ekiden relay marathons at the start of 2018 along with the PyeongChang Olympics in February. Internet-based video services like Netflix are starting to dominate internet traffic and the rise of retransmitted live broadcasts and the like is fueling intensive real-time traffic, and these developments are set to have an increasingly large impact on traffic engineering in both fixed-line and mobile infrastructure. And with 4K satellite broadcasts to begin toward the end of 2018, Japan’s video traffic is set to grow in both complexity and scale.

In terms of overall internet architecture, alongside the advance of transmission technologies including transfer protocols like CDN and Multicast, we can also expect to see standardization and the development of services related to transport mechanisms, web architecture, and so on, but the direction taken over the medium-to-long term is likely to be one in which new distributed processing technology systems incorporating the processing of names, IDs, and permissions are the solution to video traffic.

Japan’s Basic Act on the Advancement of Public and Private Sector Data Utilization, which took effect in 2016, is a fundamental law that puts the IoT and cloud computing into statue, with a scope that extends to the use of private-sector data. It holds significance as a national law in that the underlying principle of the law is to encourage the use of private-sector data, once processed to address privacy and other concerns. WIDE Project undertook a research & development project called the Internet CAR in the late 1990s. Having passed its final test, which entailed real-world testing in over 1,000 taxis in Nagoya, the project has laid the foundations for the collection and processing of sensor data and autonomous driving as part of today’s IoT. Internationally, various academic societies have lauded these achievements in the use of digital data, but at the same time, privacy issues are also now being pointed out. The collection of data via the web by Yahoo and Google and the creation of commercial value therein has given rise to new AI technologies through the processing of vast quantities of data. The EU is engaged in ongoing debate about these two problems—i.e., the privacy concerns associated with the aggregation and use of personal information and the regulation of the internet-based distribution of personal information via the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which is aimed mainly at the collection of data by major US companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. In Japan, meanwhile, the principle of the Basic Act on the Advancement of Public and Private Sector Data Utilization is to encourage the use of data. The relationship between technology and policy, including with respect to the debate on cybersecurity, is growing ever more complex.

WIDE Project’s 30-year history encompasses the entire structure of this complex digital technology and data. The technology research & development themes that WIDE Project has taken up since its inception—such as the distribution of large quantities of streaming data, large-scale data processing, and distributed processing on a global scale—are now coming into importance. To ensure that WIDE Project continues to make revolutionary contributions over the next 30 years through its people and the success of its efforts, I ask humbly for your ongoing support of our project activities.

Jun Murai
March 2018