A Universally Connected World… everything and everybody (1997)

JRP Reflecting

Reflection – written July 20, 1997

This is a view of the future from one fellow traveler of the planet. It has to do with a universally connected world which I believe is emerging at a breakneck pace. This is not a new thought but I may have a new twist on it, especially when it comes to the kind of opportunities such a connected world may present.
What I see happening is the emergence of a global local area network. A network built on open standards. A network soon to have, perhaps, accessibility by a billion people. People everywhere having access to this global area network, enabling every business, every institution, every government to think of their local area network as a way to reach all of their constituencies. In addition to large numbers of people being connected I believe we will have even larger numbers of things connected. At the turn of the century maybe a billion people and a trillion things. Internet addresses everywhere. I’m not talking here about e-mail. I’m talking about the ability to address things. We know that every PC has a TCP/IP address. Soon, everything will. Your phone. Your pager. Your car. Can you imagine a vending machine sending a message to headquarters saying “I’m out of 7-Up”? Can you imagine your KitchenAid dishwasher sending a message to the server in your basement, sending a message in turn back to headquarters saying “Please send a repairman. I need a new impeller blade”? Can you imagine your car running a little Java applet sending you an e-mail saying “It’s time for an oil change”?
Some people think that we will never have enough TCP/IP addresses to enable all these things to be connected since there is talk of running out of addresses already. However, the next generation of TCP/IP, called IPng or IPv6, is just around the corner and it has exponentially expanded addressing potential. One estimate puts the limit at just under 1,600 IP addresses per square meter of the planet. That assumes a less than optimal allocation of the addresses. Clever addressing may result in a limit closer to one million million addresses per square meter! It surely appears that addresses will not be a limitation. In fact various schemes already exist to connect and address large numbers of things without using tcp/ip at all. A company called Echelon has enable millions of devices around the world to be connected using a simple protocol they call LONWorks.
The Result
One Internet is what is evolving. A universally-connected world. And this universally-connected world will result in the natural evolution to the new medium. A new medium where everything and everybody can communicate. Portions of this single Internet are cordoned off behind firewalls to protect against unwanted intrusion: This is what we call the “intranet.” Portions of this single Internet are very high speed, very private connections between Company A and Company B, or Department A and Department B. Some people call these connections “extranets.” But it’s all one network and people and devices will be able to communicate if they want to. The result will be a whole new world of data and applications. Huge numbers of tiny cameras, sensors, monitors, communications relays, etc. will be connected and will create new data. Some of this data will reside on a very local level providing control feedback to manufacturing processes or home controls. However, a lot of data will be “rolled up” from these micro networks to LANs and WANs which will feed the data to databases for recording and analysis. This will provide the basis for the creation of applications that will have a dramatic impact on information technology as we know it, not replacing it, but extending it.
Related information
Paul Saffo at the Institute for the Future has written a paper called “Sensors: the Next Wave of Infotech Innovation” that presents an expanded and related view of this area.

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Washington (Working)

JRP Reflecting

Reflection – written June 14, 1997
My journey to Washington started out on Monday evening, July 14, when I boarded the Delta shuttle. It was a harrowing trip that had to be restarted the next morning. I arrived at the National Press Club where IBM was hosting a planning meeting for all of those meeting with the President and the Vice President. This club is a venerable Washington institution, where presidents, would-be presidents, prime ministers, kings, and the like hold press briefings and press conferences. It was amusing to note on a flyer in the elevator that the special Club event that week was a training program on how to use the Internet!
The “pre-meeting” was hosted by Jerry Berman of the Center for Democracy & TechnologyRoger Cochetti, IBM’s Washington-based Program Director for Internet Policy & Business Planning, reviewed the schedule and we spent some time sharing our view points on the important issues to be discussed in the meeting withVice President Gore. There was amazing consensus. It was a great opportunity to renew some old friendships and make some new ones.
We went as a group (about 25 of us) over to the Old Executive Office Building, the ornate 19th century office building located next to the White House that houses the White House staff. After going through a thorough security check, we went to the Vice President’s office, where we were led into a Baroque like conference room that the Vice President uses for his official meetings. Soon, Commerce Secretary Daleyand Vice President Gore arrived and our discussion began in earnest. A little later, the President arrived and we got into a broader discussion about the Internet and its role in our society. All three officials showed a significant depth in their understanding and support for the role of the Internet in making our society better.
Following the group meeting with the President and Vice President , we all went to a small auditorium in the same building where there was a large group of reporters and members of Congress. In this public and highly publicized event, the President and the Vice-president both reported favorably on the dialogue that we’d had and the heads of the National PTA and of America OnLine both addressed the important issues facing all of us as we deal with the question of how to make the Internet more friendly to children.

Resulting press coverage


Official White House Coverage:

“Family-Friendly Internet” Links

First Amendment

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My first trip through the chunnel

I attended a meeting of the Global Internet Project in London on April 7,  1997. From London, I went to an IBM CEO Conference in Paris. This  presented  a great opportunity to travel through the chunnel using the Eurostar (you can find other pictures in my photo gallery).
Seemed to fit in with my interest in gadgets! The first 50 miles or so took  about an hour but once in France the speed of the train picked up to nearly  200 mph! I was told the tracks are much straighter in France. The ride was  so smooth that the speed didn’t seem to be that fast but looking out the  window convinced me. One of the things that struck me most about the ride on the Eurostar was that I didn’t hear the announcement to turn off all portable electronic devices before takeoff and landing. After a brief three hours I arrived in Paris.

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My first trip through the chunnel

Reflection – written April 8, 1997

Reflections I attended a meeting of the Global Internet Project in London on April 7,  1997. From London, I went to an IBM CEO Conference in Paris. This  presented  a great opportunity to travel through the chunnel using the Eurostar (you can find other pictures in my photo gallery).
Seemed to fit in with my interest in gadgets! The first 50 miles or so took  about an hour but once in France the speed of the train picked up to nearly  200 mph! I was told the tracks are much straighter in France. The ride was  so smooth that the speed didn’t seem to be that fast but looking out the  window convinced me. One of the things that struck me most about the ride on the Eurostar was that I didn’t hear the announcement to turn off all portable electronic devices before takeoff and landing. After a brief three hours I arrived in Paris.

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New York City is always an experience

JRP Reflecting

Reflection – written April 5, 1997

Since I had an early Sunday morning flight to London to attend a meeting of the Global Internet Project and give a talk about the future of the Internet, I decided to take my wife to the city for the weekend. First stop was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We visited theBizantium Exhibition. It was quite spectacular. I can’t say I am very knowledgeable about art but I do appreciate it. I recently added an art section to my Favorite Places to reflect some of the things I have experienced. We had a delightful dinner in the Trustees Dining Room at the Museum and then drove to the Hilton Hotel at John F. Kennedy Airport. On Saturday morning we took a ride over to the International Arrivals Building at JFK so I could stop in at the Immigration office and apply for an INSPASS card. Being the gadgets ‘R Me person that I am the chance to get a high tech way to speed through the immigration line at JFK on return trips from abroad was irresistible The INSPASS card lets you bypass the normal passport checking process and instead simply swipe your INSPASS card and insert your hand in a scanner for a biometric verification of who you are. I’ll be trying this on my return from the Paris ceo conference later this week. We stopped for some pizza and a beer and then met some friends for a Broadway play, Chicago. Wasn’t my all time favorite but some of the music and dancing were quite good. After the show we visited the New York City Public Library. If you haven’t been there, this was an incredible place. Fantastic exhibit of the creation of the first printed Bibles and numerous paintings that I had not seen before. The rotunda was like being in Venice or Rome or Paris. On the way to dinner we stopped by Rockefellor Center and watched people ice skating. Couldn’t resist stopping in the Metropolitan Art Museum store there and buying a few gifts for special people. It is a wonderful store if you haven’t been there. We had dinner at Rene Pujol, an old favorite around 51st and 8th Avenue. Don’t believe anything bad you hear about New York City. It is a beautiful place to visit the cultural side of the world.

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