Peering Into the Future

While I was at VON last month the phrase “peer-assisted streaming mesh networks” passed through my brain. But it didn’t really trigger any insights until last night.

I was at a seminar about “next generation Web ad networks.” (Tell me, is anything today not next generation?) One of the presenters was from SkyRider, a company that helps people distribute and “monetize” content on peer-to-peer networks.

It was then that the full disruptive possibilities of mesh networks clicked for me. For network designers, mesh networks are attractive because they are self-organizing and self-healing. This makes them well-suited for disaster communications.

But here’s where it really gets interesting. Peer-assisted mesh networks — which are expected to start hitting the market in the next 6 to 12 months — will amplify the Internet’s all-to-all connection. In other words, you will no longer need to post the video of your trip to Paris on You Tube. You’ll just stream the video directly from your computer — likely with an ad from Sony.

It’s like a whole new World Wide Web. Now, that’s disruptive.