Technology, Zen blend in offering

Christchurch-based research company IndraNet says more than 1000 people have requested prospectuses for its share float, which closes in June. Managing director Dr Louis Arnoux says IndraNet is looking for funding to further its research into new technology which, it claims, will transform the way the world communicates.

Christchurch-based research company IndraNet says more than 1000 people have requested prospectuses for its share float, which closes in June.

Managing director Dr Louis Arnoux says IndraNet is looking for funding to further its research into new technology which, it claims, will transform the way the world communicates.

“We are currently living through a very special moment in human history,” says Arnoux, who is also co-inventor of IndraNet’s technology, in the company’s Internet-based investor prospectus (http://www.indranet.co.nz). “Globally, a range of key economic and social phenomena are converging fast ... creating new opportunities and also major challenges for humankind.” While the Internet is indicative of the cooperative, non-hierarchical networking which the world needs to develop, he says, it “remains excessively crude and limited”.

The company takes its inspiration from a Zen metaphor (Indra’s magical net) and a Samurai strategy based on Five Rings — water, earth, wind, fire and void.

IndraNet’s proposed network would outwardly resemble the Internet, with each user site having a computer-controlled transceiver, known as a minder, exchanging data at ultra-high frequency. Ultimately these minders would transmit phone and fax massages, home security and fire data, video, Internet and telecommunications. Unlike the Internet, however, the IndraNet networked systems are “autopoietic”, which IndraNet defines as meaning self-managing and self-evolving, “based on a new approach to distributed artificial intelligence”. Six different functions would be integrated: telethesia, telemetry, telekinesis, telepresence, teleman-agement and telecommunications, known collectively as TelHex.

The minders themselves would comprise the network, with no other infrastructure, cellular towers or fixed lines. According to the IndraNet site this technology is feasible, albeit in a primitive way, with currently available hardware components. “That it has not been developed earlier is essentially a reflection of prevailing patterns of thought in the telecommunications and networking industries.”

The site quotes the famous Zen riddle or koan: “‘You know the sound of two hands clapping. What is the sound of the one hand?’ As far as networking is concerned it would not be too far fetched to say that IndraNet is the answer. The koan was certainly one of the gateless gates that led us into what has become the IndraNet networking world.”

Arnoux says a small Christchurch demonstration network will be set up later this year. The test transmission will probably begin at 5.8GHz, but as commercial systems follow in three to five years they will probably work at 25GHz or 60GHz and may transmit 200 megabits of information a second.

Arnoux is wary of giving too much commercially sensitive technical information away and the Web site description of the technology describes it “by what it is not: through a critical appraisal of the ways of the state-of-the-art”. Current telecomms technology, he says, is “actually quite old and has a life span of two to three years. We’ll be ahead of the competition for 20, maybe 30 years once we’ve demonstrated our technology publicly.”

The group is seeking $3 million in 200c shares, for 4% of the company and Arnoux says several large telecommunications companies have expressed an interest in investing “and perhaps even underwriting the whole business until we become commercial.”

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