The SMASH project is investigating user needs for local storage in the home environment to enable the cost effective use of future Multimedia Services. Based on this investigation a storage system consisting of a hierarchy of storage technologies will be developed. This system should satisfy both the demand for large storage capacity as well as the need to access the stored information in a fast and interactive way. The main objective is therefore to show the technical feasibility of an integrated storage unit that is connected to the network and other consumer equipment and enables the efficient downloading, storage and retrieval of information for all multimedia applications.
The project aims to develop technologies that are suitable for consumer use. Magnetic tape will therefore be chosen as the medium for mass storage. Studies will be done to increase the storage capacity of a tape system and to improve the access time. For the interactive use of multimedia services a rewritable disk system will be used. Studies will also be carried out on ways to interconnect a tape and a disk system in an optimal way. To the user, a combined tape-disk system must behave as one integrated system. Therefore studies will be performed in the following areas:
The development of applications which can benefit most from local storage will also be essential. Such applications will be tried out on early prototypes of the SMASH system and will be further developed jointly with the development of the storage technologies. Investigations and tests will also be performed on how to interface the SMASH system with other equipment in the home. Developments in the other projects of the Domain will be followed closely and there will be suitable co-operations with other ACTS projects.
The verification of the developed technologies and applications is a very important aspect of the project. Suitable trial experiments can only be done after a SMASH prototype system has been developed and finalised. Trial experiments will start during the second phase of the project. During this phase some SMASH prototypes will be built and their functions will be verified in these trial experiments. One such experiment will be carried out at the University of Ljubljana using the SMASH system in a remote education application.
The development of a user friendly and cost effective storage system for consumer use requires the further development of several key technologies. Improvements in recording heads, fast access systems and the realisation of fast transfers between a tape and disk system are very important. The development of new techniques for file management, for addressing large amounts of data and for the automatic allocation of information on different storage subsystems are also key issues. The handling of encrypted information inside a storage system is another important aspect. The parallel development of all those technologies is needed for the SMASH system to be finished in the given time frame.
The SMASH prototype system requires the development of several key components. At the end of the project all key components are integrated into the prototype system. The end result of the project will be the demonstration of an integrated storage system, based upon state-of-the-art advanced key components, that will contain a disk and tape system.
There is no doubt that in the future the consumer will receive massive amounts of
digital information in the home. It is to be expected that the consumer will want to save
some of this information for later use. Besides the current consumer interest of saving
interesting multimedia information in the home, new interests will be raised in the near
future. We expect that the SMASH project will also have a significant impact in the
educational area where distant learning and smart access to educational material are
Furthermore the possibility to automatically download information via the network at times when a consumer does not actually need it (e.g. during the night) will be much appreciated. The user can then browse the downloaded material at a later stage and make his/her selection. All this is only possible if a cost effective storage system becomes available for the home.
Therefore the results of the SMASH project are expected to be of great benefit to the future users of digital information.
AC119, AC120, AC121, AC122
Source of the above text is the collection of ACTS97-project summaries.
Meanwhile the project has been finished and we would like to
refer to the SMASH Final Report for full results.
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