s Background and Objectives

Improvements to the Communications Infrastructure with Broadband Networks, and the Present Lack of Effective Applications

With ADSL charges dropping regularly, broadband communications is quickly growing in popularity. Constant Internet access over high-speed lines, which was once only affordable by companies, is now also spreading among individuals, demonstrating that broadband networks have made significant advances with the general public. With the number of choices also increasing, as seen in the advent of optical, xDSL, CATV, and wireless communications, we can expect some leaps to be taken in the ongoing conversion to ultrahigh-speed lines and the resulting market penetration.

Proposing a New Form of Communication, and Providing the Necessary Infrastructure

Against this background, the SOBA project plans to spur the development of advanced applications by proposing a new form of communication in line with recent trend towards diversification, and by providing an infrastructure based on the SOBA framework to meet essential broadband needs.

Currently, the most popular methods of media communication are e-mail, bulletin boards, and chat rooms. In addition to these conventional methods, the SOBA Project provides a new form of communication allowing the exchange of various types of information over the Internet using both audio and visual formats, in a session of the users' very own creation.

The goal is to break through the present status in which broadband cannot be effectively used.

  s Project Outline

The SOBA framework that is being developed by this project is based on an entirely new approach in which virtual, dynamic communication spaces, called sessions, are created over the Internet. A group of people can participate in these sessions, easily forming a network application that allows each of them to freely manipulate streaming media, such as moving pictures and audio, within the session.

The project also aims to establish a new, open, 21st century-type R&D venture that will include a small-investment shareholder system to allow ordinary people to join in the process of bringing its R&D dreams to life, and a system for recruiting and providing the opportunity for highly motivated researchers to achieve individual results. The resulting framework will eventually be commercialized as a software development enterprise with an innovative concept for the age of broadband networks.

The project is actively calling on corporate and university researchers to participate, and plans to establish "SOBA user community" as part of its efforts to promote the SOBA framework (for more information, see Organization page ).