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February 03, 2010

Anyware

Barbara Kieslinger and Teresa Holocher ran a session on participatory design at this year's Winter School in Innsbruck. This is the concept our group came up with when asked to envision the technology for the 2020 Winter School. The group consisted of me, Jon Dron, Peter Sloep, Hans Poldoja, Sibren Fetter and Gang Chen.

There is no shortage of innovative ideas, either in the fields of creating new devices, new applications and tools, or in applying creative ideas for activities using them. The key battlegrounds are of access and control. The Internet is vulnerable to interventions from restrictive business practices, political repression, and economic inequality.

Anyware seeks to change this.

Anyware is available anywhere. Its pervasive, ubiquitous, and under the control of the user. It is practically impossible for any government or company to prevent access to Anyware for any reason, whether political censorship, DRM, or attempts at platform lock-in.

Anyware runs on anything. It doesn't matter if its a refurbished 10-yr old iPhone or the latest wearables, or a high-immersion ambient environment suite. (Or some gadget you knocked together yourself using some instructables and a makerbot.)

Anyware connects people anyhow. Anyware just adapts to the situation and give you the best experience it can with what you've got with you. Immersion, overlays, video, 3D, audio, text.

Anyware is available to anyone. Its built into almost everything. It doesn't require a subscription plan. It doesn't come with a contract. It doesn't have any lock-in to a platform or a system or a walled community.

Anyware is controllable by you. You can block someone you don't want to interact with using Anyware, but you can't stop other people interacting if they want to. You can control your own level of engagement and immersion in your interactions - anywhere from full-sensory 3D to txt.

Anyware is secure. No-one can eavesdrop on your activities or install malware on your devices, or steal your identity.

Anyware is smart. It sweeps aside legacy restrictions like DRM and proprietary formats and codecs in order to connect people. It evolves faster than any mechanism that is aimed at stopping it.

Anyware is fast. There is no lag. There are no bottlenecks. There are no maximum current connections. There are no dropped connections. It just works, and it works everywhere.

Anyware supports "Anytivities" involving anyone on any device learning and working together. Anyone in the world with a commitment to learning about learning will be able to join the 2020 Winterschool using Anyware, and engage as immersively as they wish to, restricted only by the capabilities of the devices they can get hold of.

Anyware may be a dream, but without it, every other dream of learning technology is compromised.

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