The Internet has emerged as a mass communications and information medium. This growth has been driven by an explosion in the number of pages on the web, an increasing number of users, fast and inexpensive Internet access, and improvements in network infrastructure. The Web today, however, is based on documents and can be called DecumentWeb. Each node of this DocumentWeb is a page that is prepared to be a node on the page so that when a visitor wants to visit this page it can be sent to the user and displayed on his computer. Clearly this is because when the Web evolved the main interest was in being able to link pages that were created for representing important information.
Since inception of the Web, in addition to enormous advances in the Web related technology, rapid advances have taken place in several other areas such as available bandwidth, wireless, sensing devices, storage, processing, and audio and video processing. Now wireless devices are adding to the availability and spread of the Internet and the Web even into remote underdeveloped areas. All these rapid technology advances and proliferation of so called mobile phones that are equipped with cameras and powerful computer also as an emerging node on the Web is creating a very interesting situation. The Web as it was conceived in early 1990s is going to evolve into the Web that will provide us experiences using multiple sensory modalities in addition to providing us information just in the form text pages.
Visualize a web in which each node represents an event. This event could be an old event, may be live at this time, or a future event. Also, this event is not only someone’s description of the event or some statistics related to it. It is the event, brought to you by one or more cameras, microphones, infrared sensors, or any other technology that lets you experience the event. Of course it could also be text reports or previews of the event. For each event, all the data and information from sensors, documents, and other sources is united and available to the user independent of the media. The user then experiences the preferred parts of a particular event in the preferred medium.
In this vision, following true Web philosophy, all events are treated equally. The archived video of a News event, such as President Bush announcing the start of the War against Terror, is accessible in the same way as your son’s first soccer game. The source can be anything from CNN to a local elementary school in Tibuktu — whatever or whoever generates an event and considers it worth hosting on the Web will be able to do that. We believe that this EventWeb will be of great interest to current web users for many applications. Many sporting events, meetings, lectures, concerts, and numerous other events that are currently captured using only a few photos and sparse text pages, will use rich media and provide rich experience to users. If you see how fast poscasting is progressing, then you know that the mobile camera is likely to become a rich source of eventcasting in a few years. We see the beginning of this vision already. Sensors are now being connected to form networks for various Internet applications. And Webcams are putting live experiences from a sushi bar in San Francisco to an ant colony in Lansing, Michigan. In short, we are witnessing the beginnings of the EventWeb, just as about a decade ago we saw the DocumentWeb emerge.
There is a more attractive aspect of this EventWeb. The document web contains pages authored in a language. A page in English is useless to my mother who speaks only Hindi. But a Wedding in USA on the EventWeb will be experienced by her as enjoyably as by my friends in USA, particularly if the wedding is of my son. Thus, the Event Web will have much wider appeal among the 80% of the population that does not have access to current ICT because of language and educational barriers.