LOS ANGELES -- Will the Internet rainbow yield a pot of gold or is that notion just a lot of blarney?
"Finding the pot of gold has been elusive," admitted Frank Gill, executive vice president of the Internet group at Intel Corp., in a keynote address here at Internet World.
While he promised that users and companies alike would make and save money thanks to the Internet, at least some of what Gill demonstrated won't change that any time soon.
For instance, he demonstrated video and audio streaming technologies that are pie-in-the-sky for the average user, although they may make their way to market next year.
Gill logged on to Wells Fargo Online, then used a streaming video server application to show how a bank might use pretaped video to help users transfer money between accounts. He also made a phone call over the Internet to ask questions about the new Mondex digital cash card.
During a question-and-answer session after the keynote, Gill said he was able to do this with ISDN lines and other special connections most consumers don't use. The phone call was also tweaked to eliminate the latency problems facing Internet telephony right now.
He added that "you have to be careful about making predictions on the Internet ... but streaming media is probably a year away" from acceptable performance in a typical consumer environment.
Gill also demonstrated the newly unveiled JamTV, a Web site produced by Intel and concert producer Jam Productions. JamTV represents a so-called hybrid application -- a concept Intel has been pushing for some time. Hybrid applications rely on users having high-bandwidth multimedia content on a CD-ROM, allowing them to download only small amounts of updated information from the Web.
For example, someone watching a concert on JamTV might simultaneously watch a previously taped interview with the performer that is stored on a CD-ROM. Jam plans to send out regular CDs that, combined with push technology, unlock information that relates to events on JamTV.
Gill also chanted the mantra of cutting PC costs, citing several announcements that Intel and its partners have made this week, including the Wired for Management Baseline specification, the NetPC Reference Specification and the Networked Multimedia Connection (see story).