• United States
by Ann Harrison

Business students tune into P2P

Feb 25, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Cyberposium 2003

A roundtable discussion at the recent Cyberposium 2003 conference at Harvard Business School revealed some interesting insights into how companies view the future of P2P networking. Many people are beginning to see file sharing as ”the killer application.” But the really smart business people will be the ones selling the picks and shovels during the boom in P2P use. 

Ron Sege, CEO of Ellacoya Networks, which provides telecommunication services, is excited about the potential market for P2P technology. At any one time, noted Sege during his speech at the event attended by MBA students and academics, some six million people are sharing seven petabyes, or a million gigabytes, of music, videos and other files over file-trading networks. He points out that P2P networks are one of the fastest growing consumer technologies in history.

P2P services are estimated to eat up 70% of the Internet’s bandwidth, which is great news for Ellocoya Networks. The company develops products that improve network performance for broadband operators. The more congested the network, the greater demand for tools that maximize efficiency.

Of course lots of people at Cyberposium were attempting to answer the one big P2P question: will people pay for content that they can get for free?

RealNetworks, which makes the RealPlayer technology for viewing online video and other media, reports that yes, consumers are beginning to pay for subscription content services. The first content that subscribers felt was valuable enough to pay for was video content from ABC and CNN. The first pay-for-play product that RealNetworks is developing is Major League Baseball.

Participants at Cyberposium decided that they wanted recording artists to be compensated with digital rights management software. But they also wanted P2P users to have the fair use of the material that they download. They didn’t comment on the collision points between these two positions, but at least they understood the business opportunities of P2P.