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Implications of Push Technology for Information Management Laura Larsson Health Services University of Washington revised June.

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1 Implications of Push Technology for Information Management Laura Larsson Health Services University of Washington revised June 1998

2 Objectives n to learn what “push technology” is n to look at who is pushing information at us n to learn about the different methods of receiving pushed information n to see if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages n to learn what to do about “pushGlut”

3 The Past and Present n newspapers n radio n TV n magazines n comics n newsletters

4 “Push” Technology n today we are in a new era of information dissemination n personal considerations (the content user) n business considerations (the content producer)

5 Personal Considerations n for those who have access to it, email is generally considered by many to be their personal favorite news delivery system n but it does not quite satisfy the need for regularly updated (hourly) business or health news n nor can it provide us with graphics with its visual excitement

6 Personal Considerations, continued... n the Web is pretty passive - you go to it and rummage around until you find something useful amidst the irrelevant information n not always very efficient since you can get thousands of hits n difficult to have the time to search AND to evaluate the results

7 Business Considerations n having the consumer stumble across your site is not good business n business needs a way of getting information to you, the user, and to their employees n push is also known as "webcasting"

8 What is Push Technology? n the "push" technologies are new services, which have created software tools, that learn what information you want to receive via the Web and bring it to your desktop n they push (via email or the Web) personalized information to your desktop n webcasting was introduced by the PointCast Network in May 1996

9 What is…?, continued... n enables businesses to u develop a consistent base of users u target their content and advertisements more effectively u offer end users the information they need

10 Push Agents n the software which grabs the information provided by the content provider or push vendor for you is known as an agent n you download or purchase the software from the content provider through a server

11 Channels n the topic areas are called “channels” n a channel is a mechanism for transmitting Web-based content and applications n channels feature selected content from the Web sites of services that have affiliated with the respective providers

12 Content Providers n the people and companies which provide the push vendors with information are called “content providers” u content providers and push vendors can be the same people u e.g., Reuters and AP are content providers for news services u e.g., companies which write press releases or advertising are also content providers

13 Push Vendors n provide different content/information because they have contract with different content providers n provide access to varying numbers of channels (topics) n usually requires specific software (for downloading or caching the content) n prices: free through variable pricing through a subscription

14 Selected Push Vendors n Air Media, AirMedia Live Internet Broadcast Network n Alpha Microsystems, AlphaConnect StockVue n BackWeb, BackWeb Technologies n Berkeley Systems, AfterDark Online n Caravelle, Transceive

15 n DataChannel, DataChannel n Diffusion, IntraExpress n Firefly, Firefly n InCommon, Downtown n Intermind, Communicator n Marimba, Castanet

16 n Microsoft, IE 4.0 n NETdelivery, NETdelivery n Netscape, Communicator n PointCast, The PointCast Network n Smartpartner, FirstFloor, n Wayfarer, INCISA n Source:

17 AfterDark n is a series of screen savers which brings news and information direct to your desktop n Sports Illustrated Online, USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, and ZD Net Computing Central, stock quotes and sports scores n you can customize the news you want, and determine how often the news is updated. n download After Dark Online from

18 After Dark Image

19 AirMedia n content providers include CNN, Reuters, Knight-Ridder, US Newswire, UPI n offers various service plans running from free, PowerUp, to their Premier Plan for $5.95/month (plus email notification is $9.95) n headline news and stories n uses application software n notification of updates via animated icons n

20 AirMedia Image

21 BackWeb n has 40 channels (games, online shopping, software, etc) n download program n gives user multimedia n can create specialized channels for businesses n hard disk drive hog (takes up lots of space) n

22 BackWeb Image

23 Downtown, InCommon n uses a toolbar, called a channel bar, to deliver information n green square indicates new content n easy to add channels and to personalize content n use buttons to enable you to do the personalizing n

24 FireFly Passport n produces tools which enable content providers to register and push information to users n innovative profile management tool (Passport Office) n advanced collaborative filtering technology (Catalog Navigator) n helps users find others who share their tastes while enabling sites to learn about their users’ interests (Community Navigator) n

25 HeadLiner, Lanacom n said to be a competitor of PointCast n free software from n features the ability to display headlines in the conventional manner (news ticker, screen saver, and web page articles) n also uses a unique and extremely nifty display called the NewsTitle viewer u this is a ticker that scrolls news for you in the title bar of your applications

26 SmartPartner, FirstFloor n supplier of web-based document delivery products and technologies for application developers n agents, targeted notification, and off-line viewing n program is called Smart Catalog and is available from

27 Individual’s HeadsUp n Is a personalized, interactive news service (30 day free trial) u high-technology, business & financial services, and healthcare n n scan >20,000 stories and 700 sources n delivery by fax or email

28 Intermind (Software) n you select which topics you'd like to receive from the Web sites you specify n maintains a database of information on a user's hard drive from which it builds HTML pages that are presented in their browser n employs a “publish-and-subscribe” system n enables businesses and individuals to easily publish customizable channels of multimedia content and push it to customers or employees

29 Intermind, continued... n Communicator 2.0 is due in June or July n is expected to include a "dynamic publisher" option that allows providers with database content to generate updates on the fly based on users' interests u e.g., H.O.T. Coupons can provide coupons based on your Zip code automatically n

30 Individual’s Newspage n requires proprietary software (Headliner) to manage the news from this site u headlines delivered in three formats; Ticker Bar, Screen Saver or News Title bar n create a profile of your interests after registration n

31 Newspage Image

32 Newspage: Health Topics

33 Marimba Castanet (Software) n a software tool for content providers n uses Java-based software and delivers Java-based software n multimedia n variety of channels of information including games, databases, audio... n

34 Marimba Image

35 Microsoft's Webcasting n Microsoft's Channel Definition Format is primarily based on XML (eXtensible Markup Language), a proposed standard which lies somewhere between HTML and SGML in graphic flexibility. The World Wide Web Consortium has a draft of XML at the W3.ORG" u Source: Vin Crosbie, Webcasting listserv, March 13, 1997… n

36 Microsoft Active Channel Image

37 NETDelivery n "Community Marketing" - link people with common interests and shared affinities to organizations that offer valuable information, products and services n delivery of catalogs and information n subscriber "Bill of Rights" that protects users’ personal information n

38 Netscape Netcaster n Netcaster is the new component of Netscape Communicator that enables push delivery of information and offline browsing n users can subscribe to the information they want and have it delivered automatically n offline browsing of downloaded info n background downloading and user-scheduled updates n Marimba Castanet support n

39 Netcaster Image

40 PointCast Software n is the most well-known push service n was the first push service to broadcast up-to- the-minute news directly to a viewer’s computer n pioneered the concept of broadcasting personalized news and other information tailored to the interests of each viewer n download special software which streams information across your computer’s screen from

41 Pointcast’s Success n works with businesses to create “extranets” n companies create business-to-business extranet broadcasts by selecting webcasts from desired partners and suppliers n PointCast is already pulling in an estimated $7 million per quarter just from ads u source:

42 Wayfarer INCISA n designed primarily for corporate users to push information to their employees n delivers updated information within 15 minutes n combines businesses content with content from outside content vendors n delivers headlines using reusable Shockwave animations combined with custom graphics and sound n

43 Really Personal n create your own Web page on Excite or Crayon n **Laura’s Channel (Excite) n **Larsson Times (Crayon)

44 Laura’s Channel Image

45 Larsson Times Image

46 Larsson Times, continued...

47 Summary of Push Methods n stand alone programs (PointCast) u streaming u program goes out and comes back with headlines and information n wallpaper/screen saver programs (AfterDark) n Web page programs

48 How Do You Know When New Information Has Been Delivered? n push clients notify users u green lights on your computer u through E-mail u playing a sound u displaying an icon on the desktop u popping up an application u displaying headlines on a screen saver, wallpaper, or a scrolling ticker tape

49 Who Uses Webcasting? n religious organizations n newspapers n businesses n universities

50 Questions to Consider before Signing Up to Get Content n can you select the content you want and as much of it as you want? n can you decide how you want to get the information? u by downloading a program (agent) u surfing to a content provider’s site to get the information you need u do you want a screen saver, a banner, or ??

51 Questions... n do you know anything about the content providers, i.e., are they well known providers? n how often is the content updated?

52 Questions, continued... n is the content free or worth it if I have to pay? n how much time do I have to read the content? n is the program I have to download easy to install and use?

53 Advantages of Push Technology n designed to enhance the information processing and collection abilities of knowledge workers n they allow us to determine (customize) what is delivered to our desktops, and to choose when and how we want to view it u we can schedule updates when we want them

54 Advantages, continued... n a time saver because you don’t have to spend the time looking for information; it comes to you n because there are two different flavors of "push": one for consumers (individual users) and another for businesses you can tailor information to your needs at home, and at work

55 Advantages, continued... n each information pusher makes different deals with different partners which means you have access to different newspapers and sources of information n the next versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator will have channel changers built in n will eventually enable offline browsing

56 Advantages, continued... n users don’t have to fool around with Boolean logic n You assign an electronic agent to seek out information that falls under a predetermined topic and return it to your desktop

57 Problems with Push Technology n may require a separate program n lack of standards for channels n Setting up a profile can be a problem u With some push technologies, you can only have one "must contain" word or phrase per topic. An "OR" version would help a lot n Still too much dross in with the good information; i.e., push technology may never be precise enough to be truly useful

58 Problems with Push Technology n You will likely never see the kind of valuable information that only a manual search can uncover n Can we trust filters or profiles to provide the most relevant information? n Users may require some help setting up a profile n It can be a big drain on a user’s Windows system resources

59 Problems, continued... n Push technologies don't always work the way you’d like them to work u e.g., a minor interest may assume major importance through no fault of yours n When you click on a newspaper article from the New York Times, you may be asked to pay to read it (SURPRIZE!)

60 Problems, continued... n no overarching table of contents or search engine u All the newspaper/magazine/newsfeeds need to band together to produce a comprehensive searchable current events database n if you subscribe to more than one service, you may end up with duplicate articles

61 Problems, continued... n Users may have to register with a content provider which then determines which content goes to that viewer n The user may also be required to pay for segments of the information on particular sites

62 Problems, continued... n Some of the vendors only archive information for short periods of time (as little as 6 months) u links won’t work after awhile which means you cannot link to that information n The lines between technology providers and content providers will become increasingly blurred

63 Problems... n Philosophical - and method of working - question: n Do people want tools to find information themselves, or are they content to have it served to them?

64 How Do You Prevent PushGlut? n don’t sign up for more than two push services n limit the number of channels you select n watch how often you schedule updates n don’t forget about using email updates instead of desktop push n reevaluate often since new players are coming online all the time

65 Preventing PushGlut... n ask yourself... n if the data you see streaming across your desktop is really valuable enough to use up your precious time, i.e., is it valuable? n is it exactly what you want?

66 Preventing PushGlut... n how many clicks does it take to get to the information? u do you have to drill down to get it or does the whole story display n sometimes it’s easier to be your own filter and go out after what you want through the search engines

67 The Future n personalization of information n channel-surfing may well replace Web- surfing as the pastime of choice on the Internet n likely to be lots of opportunity to be “informed”

68 The Future, continued... n businesses will make money u 36 percent of all advertising revenues on the Internet will be generated by push technologies--a $5.7 billion piece of a $19.1 billion Web market pie u source:

69 Summary... n we’ve defined push technology n we’ve looked at a few examples of companies doing Webcasting n we’ve seen how they push their information at us n we’ve discussed some of the problems n we’ve peeked at the future

70 Appendix: Definition of Push Model n A data distribution model in which selected data is automatically delivered into the user's computer at prescribed intervals or based on some event that occurs. Contrast with the pull model, in which the user specifically asks for something by performing a search or requesting an existing report, video or other data type. n Browsing the Web is an example of the pull model, while PointCast and Castanet are push models. PointCast was the first Internet service to become extremely popular due to pushing selected news and stock quotes into a user's machine at prescribed intervals. Marimba's Castanet provides a push model delivery system for updating applications as well as distributing publishing content. n source:

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