Virtual Society: 2008

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3G was well established by 2008. New incremental changes to the technology further boosted the speed of 3G connections. WiMAX was becoming more popular and offered even higher connection speeds than WiFi. However, the cost of WiMAX was still substantially higher than WiFi and the coverage was limited to only a handful of large cities.

As Moore's law continued to apply, devices became even smaller, thanks to nanotechnology. Internet enabled wristwatches were all the rage in Japan. While still a bit clunky, these devices were proving popular with users.

Pioneering companies, such as financial institutions, government agencies, and airlines, were using biometric systems. Virtual workplaces were overtaking traditional workplaces. East Asian economies were booming while the US dollar had plunged to new record lows. To capitalise on the growth in East Asia, US firms found it easier and less expensive for people to telecommute across national borders than to invest in physical offices in Asia. Now, virtual local companies begin to compete globally in specific market segments.

Some entertainment companies were beginning to come to terms with P2P file sharing. A number of television programmes and movies were available for download over the Internet, some for free and others for a fee. Royalty based P2P file sharing was introduced and quickly became popular in developed countries where users’ feared “terror” campaigns by the entertainment industry. The entertainment industry as a whole benefited from this new model as revenues, demand, and content increased.

The sun rises over Shanghai