Open user interconnect and quality of communication
Tucker, William David
Blake, Edwin H.
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We looked for and found two situations within the South African Digital Divide where constant and severe macro-scale latencies would most likely interfere with the usage of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions. We describe how these systems tend to exhibit both social and technical macro-scale delays. Our experience building bridges for these communities has inspired several innovations with respect to the design, development and measurement of IP communications systems. The main contribution is the Open User Interconnect (OUI) stack, a communications system model that explicitly includes the user in relation to the underlying network. The OUI stack is orthogonal to the Open System Interconnect stack. There are two outcomes from including the user in the model. First, the OUI approach necessitates the adoption of usercentred methods such as Participatory Design and in the case of the South African Digital Divide, the adoption of Action Research principles. The second outcome is a user-centred measurement notion, called Quality of Communication (QoC), that is a macro-scale spin on Quality of Service. QoC explicitly includes the measurement of user behaviour in addition to system metrics. In conclusion, we suggest that these Digital Divide-inspired contributions may be applicable to IP communications system design, development and measurement in general. The paper concludes with a brief dissertation completion plan.