Internet World Canada
Feb. 04, 1999
Table of Contents:
- Slide 1: e-business and the future of the Internet.
- Slide 2: What is really going on.
- Slide 3: Only just begun.
- Slide 4: Millions of e-businesses.
- Slide 5: Power to the people.
- Slide 6: Portals everywhere.
- Slide 7: Open Standards Rule.
- Slide 8: The killer apps of the next generation.
- Slide 9: Role of public policy.
- Slide 10: How to survive (and thrive) on the net.
INTRODUCTION: It is my pleasure to introduce our speaker today, John Patrick, Vice President, Internet Technology, IBM Corporation. As IBM’s chief Internet technology officer, John leads the company’s efforts to create innovative technologies that will web enable computer users worldwide. He also serves as Chairman of the Global Internet Project, a group of executives from a cross section of international companies, working to insure private sector leadership in the development of the Internet. John has been with IBM for 31 years. He started his career in various sales and marketing and management positions. In 1992, John became Vice President of Marketing for Personal Systems, and was responsible for creating the successful Think Pad brand. He has numerous professional activities outside of IBM. He’s a founding member of both the Worldwide Web Consortium and the Global Internet Project. He’s a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a member of the Internet Society and the ACM. He has spoken at many Internet World shows throughout, I guess, the world. He’s talked about some pretty interesting things, and I’ve heard a number of his talks, so I’m really looking forward to hearing him, and I think you will, too. As one of the leading Internet visionaries, we’re pleased to have him with us today. Please welcome John Patrick. Top
Slide 1: e-business and the future of the Internet.
JOHN PATRICK: Thanks very much. Thank you and good morning. It’s always nice to be in Canada. Such fresh air and a wonderful country. I love being here. Especially when I get a chance to talk about the future of the Internet. And I hope this morning I’ll be able to plant a few seeds with you, give you a few ideas to help you think about what is really going on out there. And why the growth must continue. And how do we make sure it does. And will life ever get simpler.
Well, let’s start out by talking about what’s really going on out there. I would say at a high level it’s fairly simple. First of all, we’ve only just begun. And, of course, when you read the papers and even when you’re at a local party or are meeting with some friends, and get talking about the Internet, it seems like everybody is connected.
But, you know, when you think about it, the number of people connected to the Internet like right now, as a percentage of the world’s population, rounds off to zero. There’s nobody connected; we’re just starting.
And soon not just businesses where you click here to buy, but businesses that do everything electronically, millions of e-businesses on the web. The evolution of the new medium is happening at breakneck pace. A little hard to see, actually, how fast its growing sometimes. And it’s not only the evolution of a new medium, it’s the evolution of the new medium.
And, lastly, power to the people. This isn’t about power to big companies or big governments or big universities, this is about power for you and for me, as individuals. (Back to Top)
Slide 2: What is really going on.
So that’s the big picture. Now let’s dive a little bit deeper. What’s really going on out there. Underneath of what we read about and underneath of what we see and participate in individually on the web every day, what else is happening maybe at a lower level that may tell us something about the future. (Back to Top)
Slide 3: Only just begun.
I think there are four examples that help see how profound the evolution of technology is right now. First is instant messaging. How many of you use AOL, Instant Messenger, or something like that? I’m surprised, not too many. Actually, I can’t see anything out there. Well the facts would show, I believe, that there are tens of millions of people using instant messaging, most of them 15 or 16 years old.
But this concept is moving inside the fire wall, inside of organizations of all kinds. And having a profound impact on how people work together. This concept of having a buddy list of people that you work with, people that are part of your organization, or perhaps part of your virtual team, perhaps even a family member or associates outside of the organization that you’re part of. And in this list, you see that group of people. And if their name is highlighted, that means they’re connected, right now, somewhere. You don’t know where they are, but they’re connected. And if you click on their name and type a little message, they get it right now. It’s not e-mail. It doesn’t replace e-mail, either, it’s a supplement to e-mail, it’s a new way of leveraging communications, a very quick, efficient way just to ask a question and get an answer.
I think it potentially is very profound in particular when you begin to think of how you can reach across language and cultural boundaries with this technology.
I’m going to show you a prototype we’ve been experimenting with. This is a simulation of it, actually. I’m going to bring up a message box here for one of my colleagues, Ileus, and I’m going to send him a message. Elias: how is the weather in Miami. Now I’m going to send this message. Now, what happened her? I typed that question in English, since unfortunately the only language I know. My colleague, Elias is Spanish, and my sentence was translated with our language translation technology to Spanish and our text-to-speech technology. John, it is warm and sunny. Elias typed his answer in Spanish and our language translation software translated it to English, and the text-to-speech technology played it back to me in my language of English.
Think about the potential of this in a customer service environment, for example. Think ultimately of the ability to be able to ask a question in your language and have the person who is most suited, most knowledgeable about that question to hear it in their language and to answer it in their language and, in turn, for you to hear the answer in your language.
Tremendous opportunity here to reach across boundaries and to break down cultural and language barriers that may exist in the commercial or educational world.
Now, secondly, there are some interesting things going on in the world of video. I don’t know how many of you may have been watching this particular experiment. I give Disney tremendous credit for what they did here. It was a very bold experiment. And, of course, they were avalanched, as all really good new things are.
But what they were doing was to broadcast a football game in the traditional way, but also to provide a web site that allowed people to interact with that game, to be able to see statistical information, to be able to make certain requests of replays of information and statistics and so on.
Now, what was quite interesting about this, and the reason that I labeled this symbiotic video, is that people did both. It wasn’t a binary thing: where some people watch television and some people use the PC. A lot of people did both. Can you imagine: people sitting there with their Think Pad or notebook computer in the family room interacting with the game while they were watching it on television.
I believe this is profound. It shows the beginnings of this convergence that has been talked about for many years.
Now, what’s going on with children is also an interesting phenomena under the covers. I don’t know how many of you have been experimenting with this great new technology. Lego, a wonderful company in the Scandinavian part of the world, it’s been around for many years creating Legos, little pieces of plastic that you snap together to make different objects.
Now, the yellow portion, the rectangular yellow portion that you see here in this robot is actually a computer. And inside that little yellow plastic box is a microprocessor that can run five programs, can store five programs. Each program can have nine separate threads multi-processing capability. It can sense light, it can sense motion, it can bump into something and be programmed to react in certain ways. You can program them to spin around and do acrobatic things. You can program them to play music.
Actually, the kid that built this robot is 53. This is my robot. It’s tourbot (?). I got it for Christmas. I think the most interesting part about it was I was so excited, I went to the Lego Mindstorms web site to register my new robot kit. And I’m filling out the form: there’s name, age, parents’ ID. So kids of all ages are experimenting with this new technology. And I believe it’s very profound, when you begin to think about how children grow up interacting with technology of this type.
And, of course, in the educational arena, profound changes are also happening; not so obvious, perhaps. These four universities — just a collection of four, there are many others that could be pointed out — but these four universities in England, in Korea, in Mexico, and here in Canada have 400,000 students on 80 campuses. And they have 10,000 faculty members offering a wide range of courses. But what they’re doing to distributed learning on the web is growing their course offerings 20 percent per year. And soon they believe they’ll be able to reach about a million students. This is very profound. (Back to Top)
Slide 4: Millions of e-businesses.
Well, let’s move forward a little bit and talk about this concept of e-businesses. E-business is not about click here to buy. E-business is about click here to initiate the supply chain, click here to start just-in-time inventory flow between Company A and Company B. Click here to let a new employee step through the on-boarding process, joining their organization. So it’s a very profound super-set set of things, not just the e-commerce part that we’re most familiar with.
And we see this evolution of e-businesses happening across many dimensions: Main Street businesses, mainstream businesses, and business-to-business. Let’s take a brief look at each.
Main Street businesses. These are small businesses. I was giving a talk in Chicago, I believe it was, a year or two ago, and afterwards the gentleman came up to me and told me about his business called CapShack.Com. John Einkorn (?) is his name. He left quite an impression with me. John is one of these people who has always wanted to have his own business. Do you know somebody like that? Or perhaps you are that way yourself? You have a hobby or something you’ve always had an interest in and you just can’t wait to retire or change jobs or have your own business.
Well, that’s what’s happening on the web. So we’re all familiar with the mega players that make the press every day, but under the covers are millions of possible e-businesses springing up, like CapShack.Com, where you can buy the finest, best, cheapest, and easiest-to-get baseball caps on the planet.
Chad Chackett (?), another person that I have met, in person actually, at his gymnasium in Portland, Oregon. And Chad had been running this gymnasium for a long time. And on the side, he started a business on the web called the Global Health and Fitness Program. It’s a wonderful business. It’s a place where you can go and get answers; you can set up a customized exercise program. And, more recently, a customized nutrition program. This is the ultimate in one-to-one marketing, when you can go to a web site and specify your own particular needs and lifestyle and have a vitamin prescribed exactly for you, with a proportion of Vitamin A and B and C and K and whatever that meets your needs. Well, I talked to Chad recently, I said, “How are things going at the gym?” He said, “Oh, I sold the gym. I only have the web business now.” So e-businesses on Main Street, millions of them, all over the world. Just think of that little jeweler in Italy or making a fountain pen or pair of designer glasses now being able to reach markets all over the world. Now, what about mainstream businesses? The companies that we grew up with; the companies that we’ve known all of our lives, what are they going to do? Sometimes you may get the impression from things that you read that it’s only the new companies that are going to thrive. These new companies that started from a plain piece of paper with a new idea. Will the companies that already exist just all go away? Or will they also be effective e-businesses?
Well, I think it’s certainly the latter. And you see the tremendous resources of major companies now shifting and moving very rapidly to become effective e-businesses. And many of these large companies really do get it and are having very effective programs and services on the web. And ultimately, I think, there will be many very large successes, actually, in companies that we might consider to be mainstream.
Sears Craftsmen Tools, a name that has been well-known all over the world for many years, and now you can go to the web site and buy a two-horsepower table saw.
Well, what about business-to-business versus business-to-consumer? What will the proportion be? I don’t think anyone knows. If you look at the total gross domestic product in America, it’s about 50/50 actually. If you look at it in terms of the web, it’s a bit hard to measure but, for sure, it’s mostly business-to-business. And I think probably will continue to be something on the order of five to ten times as large as business-to-consumer; albeit business-to-consumer is more visible to us as individuals, and also in what we read. Because business-to-business is happening behind the scenes.
There are many examples of this, both large and small. But one I think is quite significant is this company that started in New York City about 18 months ago: it’s called Intralinks. WWW.Intralinks.Com. This little start-up syndicates loans. So if a very large bank has a request from a company to borrow, let’s say, a couple of hundred million dollars, that large bank will go to the Intralinks site and post the details about this loan: the terms and conditions, the name of the borrower, the specifics of the loan. And other potentially participating banks, hundreds of them, can go to this web site and learn about this loan and they can click here to participate.
It’s a very secure site; everything is encrypted. It has very granular security so that views of the loans are only available to the appropriate people. And when a loan syndication starts, the financial analysts, the administrators, the attorneys, the bankers, all work together in a managed work flow syndicating, collaborating, putting together this loan. And when it’s time to close the loan, there are no phone calls or faxes or brief cases full of closing documents to come to the conference room to sign. Signatures are handled digitally in an encrypted environment.
Now, this little-bitty company that started 18 months ago has now closed a little bit less than $150 billion of loans.
So when we read about some new web business that did $10 million in a quarter, we go, wow. And here is, behind the scenes, a company that has syndicated $150 billion of loans. Now, that’s not their revenue, of course. They take a fee. I don’t know what their revenue is. But they are a very successful business. That I do know.
CyQuest. Now, on the surface, this looks like a business-to-consumer site. It’s a click-here-to-buy site. Save money, buy it now, et cetera, is the language that you see. But when you look more closely, you begin to see that this is really a business-to-business site. This is a site where a scientist at 2:00 o’clock on Saturday morning can go and find a microscope or a Petri dish or test tubes or chemical testing materials, interact with people who are experts in this subject matter, and consummate the transaction. Three hundred thousand items available for sale through this industrial-strength catalogue on the web. So businesses, e-businesses of all kinds.
Now, the question that immediately comes to mind: if there are going to become millions of e-businesses, can the Internet handle it? Will the Internet fall apart? Well, I think, upon close examination, you see actually a very rich set of things going on here. The last mile, that connection into your home, which really should be called the first mile, shouldn’t it, but for some reason, it was the last mile from the perspective of those who were building it, and so that’s what it’s called. Will we ever have band width in the home satisfactory to meet our needs. And I think that answer is unequivocally yes.
And the reasons are very simple: competition and technology. There are many ways to get band width into the home. There used to be one way: a standard, analog modem connection. That was it. But today, there are alternatives. There are cable modems. There are new, improved ways of using existing telephone wiring called Digital Subscriber Line. In fact, there are seven or eight different flavors DSL.
We also have satellites. We have wireless. We have cellular. We have LNDS. We have a little of different — the Power Grid, as well — many different ways, each in some way threatening each other, causing a leap-frogging to occur. Nothing could be better than to live somewhere where you see this competition.
I believe it was Phoenix, Arizona, where I saw this phenomena begin to happen, where a cable offering was introduced in something on the order of $39.95 a month, or 768,000 bits per second. A few months later, the telephone company introduced a new offering: $34.95 a month, one million bits per second with DSL.
DSL, by the way, has the potential to do many millions, tens of millions of bits per second. It’s really a brand-new technology. Remember when 300 bits per second was what you could get out of a modem? Remember when trade magazines proclaimed that 14.4 was the end, that it couldn’t ever go any faster? So I think we will see with DSL an evolution as modems become more sophisticated and the digital design technology miniaturizes this and builds it into chips on the PCs and other kinds of devices. We’ll see quite an explosion here.
So I’m very optimistic, actually, about band width into the home, coupled with the fact that we will see, I believe, wide-scale caching, buffering, local storage of content. That green box that’s on the telephone pole outside of your home, may have smart disk drive in it. ISPs likely will install large caching servers with hierarchical storage management capabilities to enable content to be distributed throughout the network around the world, perhaps broadcasting on a period basis from satellites.
Now, what about the backbone? If we have all this connectivity into homes and businesses, can the backbone handle it? Well, first of all, think about that 288 modem as sort of a benchmark, think of that as a one-inch in diameter garden hose, bringing information into and out of your home. Through DSL, wide band capabilities that will be available in many homes soon, that one-inch garden hose will be expanded to three feet. So you know what you get through that one-inch garden hose, think about what may be possible through one three feet in diameter.
Now, the backbone currently you can think of as being six feet in diameter on the way to 100 feet, through the implementation of fiber optic technology. Fiber optic is far more powerful than perhaps we realize. We used to think about fiber as a strand of glass, and you’d shine a light through that strand, and that’s a one. You’d turn the light off, and that’s a zero. And that’s how you would transmit information.
Well, today, we don’t think about fiber optic technology that way; we instead think of that single strand being opened up into 16 windows. And through each window into that single strand we can shine a separate light each in a different color. And soon that 16 may go to 40. And the 40 may go to 100. So we already see the potential of 100 streams of light through a single fiber, and perhaps 48 fibers in a single conduit. Thousands of miles of these conduits being laid all over the world.
It’s not an American phenomena, either, by the way. It’s happening in Europe, it’s happening in Asia. In fact, in Singapore, they have fiber to curb in residential neighborhoods.
So we will be seeing a tremendous expansion of the capabilities in the backbone. And along and parallel with this expansion is the development of new standards and new prototypes for how the network will operate. This is happening in the world of something called Internet Two, or next generation Internet. And very sophisticated, high-speed networks, such as Canary here in Canada, are connecting into the Startap in Chicago, to which is connected a new backbone called Abilene, of the Internet Two organization. And we’re beginning to see already the evolution of the Internet much like the Internet we know today evolved about ten years ago.
The world of packets. This is an important concept in the evolution of the medium. Today, as you know, if you pick up the telephone and call a friend a thousand miles away, the two of you have captured a circuit, and no one can use it but the two of you. It’s not very efficient.
In the world of the Internet, information is broken into packets. A packet typically has 2,000 zeros and ones. And those packets can be intermixed with different kinds of packets. So there will be packets that represent parts of e-mails, parts of web pages — such as this — and, yes, parts of telephone conversations, parts of radio and TV broadcasting, police radio, all kinds of information in a world of packets, intermingling and taking very high utilization of available paths.
Telephony and video becoming real. You don’t hear people joking any longer about the quality of Internet telephony. We all know that it really doesn’t take that much band width to have high-quality telephony over the Internet. And as we begin to introduce new standards — as I mentioned a moment ago — that provides differentiation of these packets or discrimination of the packets — if you will — the ability to tell the difference between a packet that is part of an important business video conference from another packet which is part of an e-mail. And the e-mail packets can be shifted over into the slow lane of the information highway, and those business video conference packets moved into the fast lane and accelerated through the network.
And the standards for this important work called DTSR — differentiated services — are nearing completion right now, perhaps in the next couple of months.
And the last part about the new medium is AO — always on. When you think about the net today, you’re sitting in the chair and you decide, well, see, I’m going to Toronto tomorrow, I need to check the weather. Would you go over to your PC and dial your ISP and wait for the whirring and hissing of the modem and then you connect? Oh, boy, now I’m connected. Then you go to some web site to check the weather. Well, probably not unless you’re planning to do something else at the same time.
But if, on the other hand, you’re always on, and it’s just a matter of going over and clicking the mouse at your weather icon, you might think quite differently about it. And as people have more and more cable modems and DSL and wireless capabilities which are always on, this will greatly change the propensity to use the Internet, I believe, and will cause quite a change over the next couple of years. (Back to Top)
Slide 5: Power to the people.
Now, what about this notion of power to the people? The power of the click of a mouse. It’s all about people. This is not about power to big companies or big governments or big institutions; it’s about power for you and for me. We will decide what we are interested in and when we are interested in it and the degree of depth to which we want to explore. Editors will continue to provide a very valuable service which is to provide a point of view, which is quite valuable. But we will decide whether we want to read the headline or the short form of the story or all of the story. We will decide if we want to hear Elton John sing Candle in the Wind again now, we do. If we want to go see the temperature on the solar panels of the Voyager mission in outer space, we’ll check it right now.
If we want to open a bank account at 3:00 o’clock in the morning, that’s when we will open a bank account. We will decide what the hours of operation are. If we want to enroll in that new MBA course, based on our schedule, not the course catalogue, we will.
And so organizations that are not in denial about this and who see this as a powerful phenomena happening, will capitalize on it. And yet you do still see web pages that say: oh, well, if you want that additional information that you clicked about, then please call us, 9:00 to 5:00, Monday to Friday, our business hours. And, of course, power to the people means that the people will decide what those business hours are.
One click/one vote will certainly change the level of participation in governments around the world. So I’m not talking here about anarchy in any way, shape, or form, I’m talking about power to the people in terms of expressing and participating and becoming more involved in things that are important.
At the same time, expectations are expanding very rapidly, particularly when you talk to the children. They know what is possible. They have mastered these video games. It’s a marvel to see how these kids can react and handle. They take it for granted, this world of interaction in video.
What kind of e-business applications are they going to expect? Can you imagine teenagers five years from now going to the branch office of any kind of a company — a bank or an insurance company or any kind of a company — and sitting down and filling out a three-part form to enroll or to become part of something. In fact, if you ask a 16 year old kid today, “Can you tell me what an insurance agent is?” They might scratch their head and say, “Hmmm, insurance agent, well, it’s probably a job aplet that has something to do with, I don’t know, insurance, I guess.”
So expectations, I think, are mounting quite rapidly. And last, ubiquitous access. Now, the reason I say this is a function of people is that people will decide how they connect. Today, everyone, virtually, connects to the net with a PC. I believe in perhaps as little as three years from now, the PC will be the minority device on the Internet, the minority device. Well, what do I mean by that? What else is there going to be? Well, some people, of course, will continue to use the PC and use the traditional browsers. And this is one of my favorite pages here, the weather underground, where I go to check the weather.
But some people may prefer to see that same page on their television, which 95 percent of the time is a television for them, but five percent of the time it’s in fact a PC. And other people will choose to have that same web page — and if you can look closely enough, you’ll see that is the same web page — reformatted onto their pager. The birth of proxy servers will be quite important here, and the standards that evolve for this will be quite important. To enable people to go to a web site and have a proxy respond instead. And that proxy server will reformat the information based on the kind of device you have, the kind of device you choose to use.
Still other people will say, you know, I’d like to have that on my Phone Pilot or my IBM Work Pad. And, for a large number of people, this will be their PC, this will be their browser. With a little wireless adapter on it, which is already available in many parts of the world. This will be just fine for a lot of people.
Other people will choose instead to have their telephone be the place that those web pages become accessible. Still other people will prefer to go to a kiosk. In fact, I believe very large numbers of people will use kiosks: people who choose not to own any of these other electronic devices but have an occasional reason to get information, they’ll go to a kiosk. In France, they just announced the development of 1,000 interactive kiosks to be deployed this year. Korea announced a couple of weeks ago a similar program. You can see them in the San Francisco airport. These are beginning to emerge as important connections to the web. And, of course, some people will prefer to use them all, then it will be up to you and to me. (Back to Top)
Slide 6: Portals everywhere.
Now, what about portals? Here a portal, there a portal, everywhere a portal, portal. Will portals be the only place we go? Will people ever figure out that they can go directly to WWW.their favorite company.com? They don’t have to necessarily go through a major portal to find something. Well, I think portals, as we think of them today, these very large, general purpose portals, are very important. They provide a valuable service. I believe they will be successful.
So I’m not suggesting they’re going to go away; what I am suggesting is there are going to be a lot of portals: not one, or three, or seven, or even 20, but hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of portals all over the world for people that have different needs.
Now, let’s explore this just a little bit further. Three kinds of portals in general: all-purpose portals, specialized portals, and community portals. The all-purpose portal is for people who aren’t sure where to find something. They can do a search. And, of course, these portals are all expanding rapidly to try to not have you go through that doorway but rather to stay there and buy something, but they are general-purpose portals. And for many people, these will continue to be just fine.
But other people will prefer specialized portals. For example, the Metal Exchange is a portal that was developed by some people in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at Weirton Steel Company. Some executives there got talking and thinking about common interests of people around metal. So if you’re a designer, an engineer and you’re building something and you’re considering using bronze, you may want to know, well, what is the melting temperature of bronze, what are the grinding characteristics, what sizes does it come in, how much does it cost, how can I interact with people who know a lot about bronze. And, by the way, click here to buy and consummate e-business transactions as part of this portal.
There’s a similar one for water engineers. They have 60,000 members. They’re not going to go to a general-purpose portal because they have a very specific question and they know they can find it at the water site or at the Metal Exchange.
Similarly, portals for wine. Best one available in multiple languages to allow people to interact, to talk, to find a center of gravity, of expertise around this particular subject.
And then we have community portals. Portals where people go. Very people-centric. Perhaps you might think of these actually as social portals. Blackberry Creek, a wonderful idea a woman in California had in her kitchen one day to build a site that would be great for kids. A place for people six to ten years old to come together. They don’t necessarily understand those general-purpose portals, but they understand Blackberry Creek. That’s where their friends are, that’s where they can talk with others about similar things on their minds.
Likewise Tripod. Perhaps more for people 18 to 30. And then moving on to I-Village for people who might be, say, 30 to 45.
Parent Soup, another example of something in that category, where a person expecting a baby can go and find other people expecting babies, and they can compare notes and talk about their common problems.
And then Third Age which is more for the 45 to 64 year old person, people we used to call seniors. Now when you go to Third Age, you see it labeled The Web Site for Grownups. Where people have a lot of things that they want to talk about with each other.
Now, what’s going on at these portals, these social portals. These are really lifestyle destinations. That’s what Mary Furlong from Third Age calls them, lifestyle destinations. And when people get to these lifestyle destinations, they talk to each other, they share a great deal, they collaborate. But they also buy things.
And so around these portals, whether they’re specialized or social or whatever you want to call them, you see the evolution of a value web where multiple companies who have shared economic interests are tied together through the community that they are part of. At Third Age, for example, if you click on investing, you see e-trade. If you click on buy a PC, you see IBM Aptiva. Are they random? No, they’re not random. They are arrangements that were put together, win/win arrangements between these various companies to be able to build a value web around this portal. (Back to Top)
Slide 7: Open Standards Rule.
Now, moving forward, an important ingredient to the continued evolution of all of the things we’ve been talking about are standards. The Internet was built on standards, it has thrived on standards, and it will continue to be dependent upon standards. The Internet works exactly the same in Canada as it does in America or Singapore or Madrid or wherever you may be in the world.
We’re about to go through an evolution in those standards. It’s been fairly stable, actually, relatively speaking, for the past few years. But I believe we’re about to see a lot of changes. One of the most important is the introduction of something called XML — Extensible Markup Language. XML is to the web of today much what the web of today was to e-mail. In other words, it’s quite a jump. XML will bring structure to the web.
Today, web pages are laid out to look nice, and that’s what the language of web pages does, is it allows you to decide what color, what size, what position information should take on a web page.
XML goes to a higher level and says, what is the structure of this information. How can I relate to this web page and know where the quantity, the price, the date, the first name, the last name, the city, the state, the zip code — how can I find all of these fields of information, much like we used to think about data bases. And, in fact, data base applications will be built increasingly around this concept of extensible markup language on the web.
Software, in fact, increasingly is being built in the web. When you look at what’s going on with Lenox and Apache, you see quite an interesting phenomena where people with a really good idea are able to expand that idea, support that idea, and have it flourish through worldwide collaboration of millions of people. And large companies such as ours, for example, have embraced these technologies and, in fact, have built offerings around them to embrace them, to extend them, but not to change them. To not to make them proprietary. But rather to leverage upon and extend the value built upon what was done on the web itself.
The last two points here that I think are quite important as the web evolves have to do, first of all, with finding things. You know, a lot of progress has been made in the area of search. A long way to go. Getting much better. But we need again to add more structure to this, and we need to have a more common way of finding the sources on the web. I don’t mean the traditional search you might do at a portal, I mean finding people and finding the resources of various kinds: whether they be organizational or physical.
And they key here is LDAP. And for those of you that work in companies that are exploiting the web and becoming e-businesses, I highly urge you to learn about LDAP — the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. It’s a standard. It’s a way of putting a common front end on data bases and directories to enable the evolution of creation of things to be able to find things on the web.
Lastly, digital IDs are quite important and something that needs to move faster, in my opinion, in order to enable us to really gain the potential of the web. Today, when you go to a web site you have a log-in and a password. And then you go to another web site and you have another log-in and a password. And then you go to a third one and you have yet another. What’s the answer to this problem? Well, first of all, you could come up with an approach that results in a single log-in that works everywhere. And that actually is possible to do. You have to get very clever in how you do it because you don’t want to encounter, oh, that name is already been taken. But you could create a log-in that would be so unique that no one else would have had it. Likewise, you could likely create a password that will work most cases.
Now, that sort of is an answer. But, on the other hand, if you happen to end up dealing with some unscrupulous web site, you have now compromised yourself everywhere. So this is not a good idea.
Okay, well, what’s the alternative? Well, you could write them down. Here’s what I am at the Wall Street Journal, here’s what I am at the Globe, here’s what I am at Amazon, here’s what I am here, there. I have this big long list. What do I do with this list? I guess I better make a data base. I’m going to make a log-in, password data base. Let see, I better have a log-in and password for my log-in, password data base, ’cause I don’t want anybody to get to this, right? And I better go buy a backup program to back up my log-in and password data base, ’cause if I lose that, I’m stuck. This is not a good idea, either, unless you really want to be a data base manager.
Well, what is the answer? The answer is the public key infrastructure. The answer is to have a digital ID that can be stored in your smart card or it could be on your Think Pad or other physical device. And also a biometric. It could be a scan of your retina, that’s very unique to you. It could be your fingerprint, your voice print, your face print. And the combination of that biometric which is about you, as a person, and your digital ID, which is stored in one of those devices, creates a very unique situation. And now you can enter log-in password, a single log-in and password. And that single log-in and password doesn’t go across the Internet in the clear — which is the other problem, byu the way, with log-ins and passwords. It only goes to your smart card or your hard disk. And it unlocks that digital certificate which contains your digital ID. And, in effect, it empowers that digital ID to go negotiate for you with a server and to establish that that server is actually run by who they say they are and enable them to know that you really are who you say you are. And this, in turn, unleashes some tremendously powerful capabilities. Now you have the ability, as a business, to provide authorization. This person can see this view of information, this other person can see a different view. This person is allowed to trade on margin, this person isn’t. And, third, you achieve confidentiality. Today, people send e-mail blindly — the most sensitive information. It’s like writing it on a postal card and dropping it in a mailbox: you have no idea who’s going to read it. But that’s what happens every day with billions of e-mails.But with public key infrastructure, having a public key of the intended recipient, you can encrypte the message to them. And it can only be decrypted with their private key. And only they have their private key, so you know only they would have read it.
And, fourth, you achieve integrity of communications, which means that you can be assured, through this process, that the message was not altered.
And, fifth, you get non-repudiation. Which means you cannot later say, well, I didn’t order that.
And the problem is we don’t need a single public key infrastructure, we need multiple of them. Some governments may do it, and many people will prefer to get their ID from the government. Many other people perhaps will not trust the government and would prefer to get it from a private company, a for-profit company, or perhaps a not-for-profit company. And I believe we will see many variations of this, but we must move forward as an industry to embrace and to implement this infrastructure.
It’s not the total answer, by the way, to all security issues, but it is a key component. (Back to Top)
Slide 8: The killer apps of the next generation.
Now, moving into the next generation, what are the killer apps? What is it that you can’t do today on the Internet that’s going to require all this band width? Well, I think there are quite a few things, actually.
First is insight, achieving insight. The connection of all these devices that we’ve been talking about, and a lot we didn’t talk about in terms of cars and appliances and vending machines and just an explosion of data. How do we translate that data into information and then translate that information into insight that allows us to achieve business advantage or educational advantage. And the answer is through deep computing, the ability to analyze — without knowing what questions to ask — to be able to find patterns among information.
Large retail organizations have been able to utilize this concept and to be able to discover that when men buy diapers they buy beer. Why would that be? Well, nobody knows. But if it’s true, put the beer next to the diapers. Insight.
E-meetings, electronic meetings. This instant messaging is the tip of the iceberg. That’s a great way to communicate. But you can use that capability to send a URL to a person that says, you know, we need to have a meeting about this: click on this URL I just sent you. And they click on that URL and up comes a white board. The white board for application sharing. This is built on another important standard called T-120. T-120 provides a standard way to be able to share spread sheets, free lance or power point presentations, any application. And to be able to have multiple people, wherever they might be, sharing and participating and reacting, interacting with this information.
And when you see the merger of Internet telephony into this world, you can imagine how instant messaging becomes like an intercom where you can talk to people, in addition to the sharing of applications.
Collaborative design will be greatly enhanced with higher band width, to enable a person, an engineer to be able to hold a physical object in their hand and to be able to rotate it and change it and move parts, and have a person 5,000 miles away be able to see and feel what that person is seeing and feeling.
And function MRI. Do you know about functional MRI? This is a very fascinating, relatively new area. MRI, of course, is when you get in one of these large machines and someone takes a picture of your knee or your neck or your brain, and then they look at it much like an x-ray. Functional MRI is different than that. Functional MRI is where a doctor says to you, while you’re in that machine, bend your knee. And you bend your knee and he sees or she sees, in your brain, what changed. And that provides clues as to what might be wrong with your knee.
Now, imagine yourself being inside of one these machines and the doctor is, let’s say, 5,000 miles away. Because that’s where the expert is. And rather than you having to go to the expert, you just go to where the machine is, the doctor is where the doctor is, he says twitch your knee. This is not a time when you want to have packet loss. This is not a time when you want to have a message that says, your connection has been dropped, would you like to redial?
In fact, functional MRI requires 1.25 billion bits per second, with pretty close to zero latency in order to be effective. (Back to Top)
Slide 9: Role of public policy.
Now, public policy plays a role, also, as we move forward into this evolution. There are so many issues here, as you know, and so little time. It’s very important to try to anticipate what’s coming next. When we think about the issues of content and privacy that we’re confronting today in Canada, in America, in Europe, in Asia, couldn’t we not have anticipated those issues. Could we not have gotten our act together, collectively, sooner and be on the offense, not on the defense in dealing with these issues. You know, we have very good technology to deal with many of these issues.
PICS, the platform for Internet content selection. It’s a protocol. It’s a very sophisticated protocol that enables very granular information about sex, nudity, language, violence, to enable sites to be able to self-rate, to utilize proxies, to do the rating for them. That allows parents to choose either software on the PC, or to be able to use a label bureau so that you can have the browser go to a proxy which says it’s good or it’s bad. And that proxy will be one that you pick. You might pick the Christian Coalition; the next person might pick the Cleveland PTA; someone else might pick Walt Disney or Betty Crocker. It’s your choice.
So there are answers to — not the total answer, of course. I must add, I guess, that the most important answer on that subject is to look over the kids’ shoulders and tell them you care and ask them what they’re looking at and talk about values. And as parents and teachers, we need to do a lot more of that.
But there are good technical answers here, and we need to get ahead of the game here, try to anticipate them and make sure that we have aggressive, private-sector leadership to address these issues so that regulation is not needed.
Currently, in America alone, there are over 100 bills pending to in some way regulate the Internet. Now, those of you who know the technology, know that regulating the Internet is like regulating the wind. But it won’t stop the political pressure, it won’t stop people from trying, if we don’t move forward. (Back to Top)
Slide 10: How to survive (and thrive) on the net.
Well, lastly, how do you survive and thrive in this exciting world we’re moving in to? I believe, first and foremost, it’s important to start simple. This is not something to study, this is something to do. There’s nothing wrong with having a grand plan, but implementing the grand plan may not be possible. And while you’re trying to implement it, competition is moving very rapidly.
It’s much better to work from the outside in. Remember, that’s where all the people are, and they’re the ones with the power. So you start fast and get connected with those people. And work your way back in through bridges and connectors and gateways to existing applications. You re-engineer those applications as fast as you can, but don’t have that have to occur first.
Build on a framework. It is so important. Web sites today are becoming mainstream, and the design of these web sites is just as critical as the most important, most sophisticated, major systems in existence in the world. They need to be seven by 24, they need to be reliable, they need to be available, they need to be secure, they need to be manageable, because things do go wrong. And how able are companies to manage to this.In the traditional information technology world, 20 years ago it was hard; today companies have mastered this. Someone on a Local Area Network in a large company today, if that application hiccups, somebody’s pager goes off. And they have tools and sophisticated ways to manage that environment.
That same discipline, that same architectural approach must be applied to the web. The days of just surfing around for enjoyment are gone. This is serious stuff.
And, last, I would say get a taste of Internet culture. I still recommend this because — while we don’t need to evangelize, hey, the Internet’s cool, you ought to see this, we’ve all bought into that — but we need to watch those expectations, we need to listen to the kids and ask them what they think of applications.
You don’t have to put the people in your organization, who are outside of the box or think outside of the box, you don’t have to put them in charge, but listen to them acutely.
Well, I want to conclude now by telling you about another group of people that I think is important as we move forward. I keep talking about the kids, I’m excited about the kids. I get e-mails from them. I’ve had some kids come to our Internet lab and meet with them and, boy, we just learn so much from them.
But the other day, I got an e-mail from Joe Franzino. And at first I thought it was a teenager. And Joe said, “You know, I heard you gave a talk at a local computer club in Danbury, Connecticut. Would you be willing to come to our computer club and give a talk? We have a club at the Heritage Village.”
Heritage Village is one of the largest retirement communities in the world. They have 3,500 residents. The average age is 74 — the average is 74. You have to be 55 to get in the gate, you know, to apply to live there. Heritage Village has over 100 clubs, every imaginable subject, and one of them is the computer club, HVCC, the Heritage Village Computer Club. That’s their biggest club. They have 310 members.
And I went to their web site and saw the picture of their officers. As you can see, these are not teenagers. In fact, the average age of their leaders is 72. And I can tell you they have a sparkle in their eye, they have energy that’s incredible.
I went to visit them on Monday of this week. I wanted to see what they were doing. And I went to their activity building, and in the activity building, they had this room and there’s a door, and on the door it says, “The Web.” I went in the room with Joe, he was showing me around, and they have a Local Area Network set up, eight PCs connected. And here were these two elderly women sitting there, working away at PCs. Over here, a couple of elderly gentlemen, they were helping each other. And they had this huge banner on the side of the wall. You know what it said? “Keeping pace in cyberspace.” That’s their motto.
Now, what’s the biggest problem we face in our industry? Skills? Is there anybody that has all the skills they need in their organization? I don’t know any company that could say that. Where are we going to get those skills? Well, maybe there’s a new angle here: e-elders. Let’s turn them loose.
I met Harry Fenson, who’s the interlocutor of this organization. And what struck me about this web page was they have a standard format for these pages: born, spouse, children — how many children they have — grandchildren, great grandchildren.
What a resource we have here in these people who are so motivated. They have time on their hands. By the way, they have money, generally speaking, this segment of our population. Fifty percent of on-line users, at their age, had bought something on the Internet, and 50 percent have invested on the Internet. So this is a tremendous resource.
Well, I thank you for your attention this morning. Please visit my web site if you’d like to explore any of these pages I showed you further. It’s patrickweb.com. I hope you have a great conference. Thanks for coming. See you next time.
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