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IBM on Next Generation Internet

Tuesday, April 10, 2001

i-street — IBM on next generation Internet
By Darcy Evon
April 10, 2001 10:00

CHICAGO – Just because the Nasdaq market tanked, the Internet is alive, well and in a constant state of change, explained John Patrick, VP of Internet technology at IBM Corp., and a seminal thinker at Big Blue.

Patrick and others created IBM Credit Corp., the lending agency to get technology in business’ hands. When it started in 1980, there were 60,000 business bankruptcies each year. Today, he related, there are the same number of bankruptcies, including the 221 dot com company failures last year. “Did the Internet fail? No!” said Patrick.

In Patrick’s words to a meeting of about 100 customers at a Perceptual Robotics conference, “we’re at the beginning of the Internet. It seems like we’re all online but just three percent of the world is on the Internet.”

The next generation of the Internet (known as NGi) is really about transferring power from the institutions to the people making the clicks, he said. “A lot of institutions are in denial about the power” people have. Patrick asked with incredulity why “six people in New York City voting whether or not to extend trading hours on a stock exchange” think they have power when the rest of the world is already trading around the clock.

NGi is a threat to many entities, including companies that deliver content via cable or phone companies reliant on copper wires and even broadband suppliers being challenged by wireless. People will expect the next generation to be “always on,” changing the experience and making the Internet a part of a home, Patrick explained.

And as we migrate to “always on,” the next generation of the Internet will demand an “everywhere” experience. Patrick notes that PC-based page view traffic in the U.S. — currently at 95 percent — is poised to drop as other devices access the Internet.

“Instant messaging is rapidly emerging as a key hub, a social phenomenon.” On Patrick’s wireless laptop, instant messaging is language neutral so, for example, if needs a technical answer and the person answering his query is a Spanish speaker, there are automatic translations on both sides of the virtual conversation. Access online is also getting easier because of underlying technologies like Linux coding for access and applications.

What will scale the last hurdle in the NGi ” trust ” is adoption of digital identities and public policy that supports it.