Why Using ICAP

When I started writing c-icap, I was considering about focusing on applications for network security. I was planning to use it as a general solution that integrates access lists, antivirus services, and reject/accept-content capabilities for Web and email services. Later, I realized that ICAP can do much more than the "sick brain" of an administrator or a security specialist can imagine.

ICAP can be used for ANY content-filtering and content-modification application. For instance, it can be used for language translation or Web-page personalization. It can be used for real-time streaming processing, for example, for adding subtitles in video-streams or translating speech streams (e.g., from English to Greek) in real time. It also supports various forms of adaptation of the format of a media type such as converting a MS-Word document into an HTML document or converting a Web page into a speech version of the page to assist users with vision problems. Finally, it could support the integration of intelligent mechanisms (e.g., classification techniques and collaboration filtering) to provide personalization with respect to the information needs or preferences of an individual user. The protocol allows for the identification of both the user and the client (e.g., Web or email client) used by the user.

Obviously, such applications can be developed as software packages for personal computers. Several capabilities discussed above have already been supported by existing PC software. So is there any need for a protocol like ICAP? I believe that as the competition among Internet and service providers increases, most of the above mentioned applications will be implemented as services supplied by Internet providers. This is also the case for antivirus software. Most PC users have antivirus software installed in their PCs, which, however, is not enough to stop the rapidly increasing spread of viruses. As a result, Internet and other service (email, Web email, Web space) providers will start incorporating antivirus and anti-spam software into their services. Users should not be expected to deal with the installation and management of complex to use software.

In the future, providers will be able to satisfy sophisticated requests such as: "I have small children that only understand Greek, while I want to make sure that they safely browse the Web. As I'm working at home, I also need full access to Internet services for myself. Can I subscribe to your Family Internet Services program?"

Beyond the scope of Internet providers and service providers, ICAP can be used by small groups or companies that want to support centralized content management, for example, to provide centralized services for antivirus protection or document translation.

© 2007 - Tsantilas Christos.