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Internet guru to speak, says best is yet to come.

Wednesday, December 6, 2000

By Mark Langlois
Danbury News-Times Business Editor

DANBURY – John Patrick, IBM’s vice president of Internet technology, said the Internet is used by only a tiny percentage of the world’s people, so the best is yet to come.

Patrick leads IBM’s Internet efforts, and has been an annual guest speaker at a Danbury Area Community Society meeting for the last eight years. Patrick said the Internet will be fast, always on, everywhere, natural, intelligent, easy and trusted.

“Today, most users spend time waiting; waiting to get on a Web site, waiting for pages to download, waiting for software to download,” Patrick said.

He said some advances, such as DSL, cable Internet and satellite connections, are here already or closer to arriving than ever before. When cable companies start competing with telephone companies, already happening in some states, he said, competition will drive improvements.

When connections are faster, people will start using the Internet constantly, he said. They won’t be sitting down for a “session,” as in a waiting session of 45 minutes or an hour. They’ll quickly find what they want and they’ll come back for more.

Patrick will speak tonight at 7 p.m. in the Danbury Hospital auditorium at the DACS monthly meeting. Patrick is frequently quoted in The Wall Street Journal and numerous computer industry publications.

“He is the world’s leading Internet guru,” said Ed Heere, founder of AMSYS Computers and a DACS board member. “When the European governments were talking about taxing the Internet, he’s the one who went over to the Hague and talked them out of it.”

“We consider it an honor to have him every year. He has a messianic quality to his speaking that I like. He enjoys user groups,” said Allan Ostergren, president of DACS.

In an interview yesterday, Ridgefield resident Patrick said the Internet is in its infancy and users haven’t seen anything yet. He said improvements are coming that will make it more popular, useful and faster.

He said that if someone adds up all the Internet users in the world and compares them to the world’s population, users equal about 1 or 2 percent of the whole. Only a tiny fraction of the total number of mobile phones is connected to the Internet.

“We’re still at the very beginning,” Patrick said.