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Fifth International World Wide Web Conference

Image of John PatrickJohn Patrick
Vice President, Internet Technology – IBM Corporation
Tuesday, May 7, 1996 – Paris, France
9:30 – 11:00
Transcript of “Get connected” – Beyond the Internet

Thank you and good morning. Since my second language is HTML, I thought I would deliver my talk in English. I know many of you in the audience and have learned a great deal from you over the past several years, so this morning I would like to share back with you what I have learned and to offer my perspectives on the Internet and the Web, and I hope that you will find it interesting and useful.
I’d like to talk about some forces of change that I see happening right now, right under our nose, at breathtaking speed, that are changing everything, and to talk about the Internet and to show you some examples of what it means. We’ve all surfed the Web and we’re all familiar with various sites, so I will not try to entertain you, but rather to talk about what does it mean, what are the possibilities, what might the future hold with the potential of the Web. These trends that are occurring are happening very rapidly. Not so long ago, it was a challenge for thousands of users in a company, or a country, or an organization, or a university to be able to communicate reliably and predictably. Today, we take that for granted. Children can put together electronic bulletin boards and achieve similar results. The bar has moved up.
The challenge today is to enable thousands of people inside of one organization to communicate, interact, collaborate with thousands of people in other organizations in other parts of the world independent of what kind of technology they may be using. This is being made possible today because of the Internet. Local markets are becoming global markets. If you were starting Wall Street today, you would probably not put it at the bottom of a small island that on some days you can’t even get to. On October 18th, a new bank opened its doors – actually, its one door – on the Internet. This new bank is headquartered in the financial megacenter of Pineville, Kentucky. Now for those of you who live in Europe, I can assure you that no-one in America has heard of Pineville, Kentucky, either. And that’s the point, isn’t it,- that the Internet is enabling some incredible things to happen. In fact, your next major competitor may not only be in an industry that you didn’t expect, but may be in a country you never heard of. Local markets becoming global markets … in-house networks are moving to outsourcing, whole industries are outsourcing their networks and this is enabling buyers and sellers to come together in new ways, changing our lives in the way we do business, in the way we participate with businesses.
TCP/IP is becoming pervasive. TCP/IP will be in our telephones, in our pagers, in our cars, of course in every computer, in vending machines, yes, perhaps in our toaster. Will we run out of addresses? I don’t think so. IPv6, the next generation IP, can enable approximately 1500 addresses for every square meter of the planet – that’s if we do a bad job in allocating this new address space. If we do a good job there may be a million addresses per square meter of the planet. And so what’s happening here is that IP is extending the world, it’s enabling a universally connected world where everything and everybody are connected, and the world emerges as one Internet. Now, portions of that Internet are cordoned off behind firewalls – this is what we call the Intranet- but the world becomes universally connected and this will change everything.
Now, of course, the Web is enabling the creation of content and the sharing of content in new and exciting ways so the result of these trends is a rapid shift to a new computing model, a model that does not replace the model that we have today, but rather a model which extends what we have today, TCP/IP extending existing network protocols, of which there are many that won’t go away, but they will be extended in new and important ways. The Internet is a natural evolution of information technology. It is not a phenomena. It is not a phenomena that is occurring off somewhere, that may or may not perform, that may or may not run out of addresses, that may or may not be good for our children, that may or may not be a lot of things. No, it’s not a phenomena, it’s mainstream. It’s mainstream information technology, it’s the third wave of computing. The mainframe-centric world evolved to the desktop, without replacing the mainframe. The desktop is evolving to the WAN – the wide-area network, the Internet, which is not replacing local-area networks or desktop computers or mainframes. In fact, as we will see, it is spawning huge new growth in both of the prior ways of computing. So we have an unprecedented opportunity here to extend the reach and to offer compatibility in new and exciting ways. I’d like to give you some examples. I know with this audience I don’t need to tell you about the Internet, I don’t need to tell you about the world-wide web, fueling and driving the growth of the Internet, so I’d like to focus on some things that are happening on the Web – the power and diversity of it. Also, what does it mean, and what are the key issues and challenges.
There are many, many interesting sites on the Web, of course, as you know, and I’d like to focus on a few, to show you what they mean, and offer some thoughts and plant some seeds. I’d like to first of all stress this point about reach. This is a great work of art, one of my favorites, “The Gambler” by Paul Cezanne. Most people, unlike you this evening, will never get to the Louvre. If you’ve been to the new Richelieu wing there, you might think everyone in the world is at the Louvre. But the fact remains that the number of people who will ever get there rounds to zero. But with the power of the Web, with the reach of the Web – point number 1, the reach -the Louvre is able to reach out with this great masterpiece and all of us are able to reach in and share in these beautiful paintings. At the Vatican Library, there are only about 150 seats: only special scholars with reservations are able to go there – in the span of a year, that’s 1000, perhaps 2000 special scholars can go and see the works of Ptolemy and Aristotle. But through the digitizing of these works by IBM, we have now completed nearly 30,000 scans with incredible resolution, watermarks to protect the authenticity of these works, we’ve now been able to place these on the Web and now not 2000 per year, but 30 to 40 and soon hundreds of million people can share in these great works and expand their perspective and learn things that could not be learned before. So reach is a powerful characteristic that we are seeing.
The second characteristic that is so important is compatibility. To illustrate that, let us take a simple example that I’m sure you all have seen – the Federal Express home page – somewhat of an underwhelming home page in some respects, except for this wonderful feature that allows for the entry of an air-bill number, and in a few seconds you’ll be able to look at all the details about that package: what flight was it on, who signed for it, when did it arrive, what route did it take. Now, two really important points about this Federal Express page: number 1 is that in order for me to use this system, in order for me to be able to go into the mainframe database at Federal Express in Memphis, Tennessee and interact with that application, what training do I need? None. I don’t need any training. Why? Because I am able to follow a fundamental human trait that we all share, called browsing. We all know how to browse, everyone will know how to browse, our grandmothers will know how to browse. Secondly, Federal Express doesn’t know what kind of a computer I have. We take this for granted but think about what this means. Applications in the past could only be extended to constituencies that either already had a connection with the system, or for whom it would be justified to give them a connection to the system, to ship them a proprietary terminal, or to send them software and hope it’s compatible with the kind of computer they have, and to set up a customer support organization to help them install it and train them on how it works. With the Web that’s not necessary. So the cost to justify extending new applications to constituencies who would not otherwise have been considered has changed radically. It’s a new model. And it will dramatically drive up the total number of transactions in the world. And, fortunately, this will require very large computers.
There are many other interesting things that are happening on the Web. Two years ago, I would have shown you the virtual frog dissection kit, the ability to dissect and learn about a frog without smelling formaldehyde. Last year, perhaps I would have shown you a visible human. This year, I can show you a great deal more of the visible human. Do you know the visible human? Joseph Paul Jernigan, a man of 42 years of age, he was a bank robber in America. He broke into banks and stole money and killed people. Two and a half years ago, his life was taken away. He was executed in a prison in Texas. He donated his body to science. He was frozen and sliced in an analog, not digital manner, into 1871 slices – 1 millimeter each. And after each slice, a scan was taken, an MRI model was made and this incredible visible human being was created on the Web: 70 billion bytes of Joseph Paul Jernigan now on the Web and now he is giving back to society what he could not give when he was living. He has replaced “Gray’s Anatomy”, which has served us so well for so many years. Shortly, we’ll be able to present this incredible video simulation at 20,000 bits per second -the video with industry standard approaches, a non-proprietary way to deliver this kind of capability. This will change medicine in incredible ways, enabling simulations of knee joints and heart valves, etc. to occur, not based on the theory, and not based on mathematical models, but based on models of real human beings. Joseph Paul Jernigan. A 59-year old woman is being prepared right now to join Joseph on the Web, so there will be complete information available.
That’s the pretty exciting work that’s being done by advanced students. What about younger students? I think it’s very important to see what’s going on with the children. This is one of my favorite sites on the Web: it’s called Smoky Net. It’s a high school – it’s in Colorado, in America. 2500 students are in this school, 150 teachers. They all have home pages. They have kiosks in the halls of this school so that students between classes can go to a kiosk, they can look up their teacher’s home page, they can find out when help is available, they can click here to get a map of how to find that teacher’s office in this large high school. These children have a perspective that none of us had growing up. On this Web site they have links to many interesting things, including schools like theirs in other parts of the world. When we grew up, we didn’t have that opportunity to meet children in other parts of the world. This site has a technology newsletter – this is a very sophisticated site, actually – and the average age of the systems programmers who created this wonderful Web site is 15. These kids don’t know this is supposed to be hard. They just do it. They mastered this technology, it’s simple to them – it’s like Nintendo.
Now what we have happening here is children who are 15 and below know the Web. Adults who are 55 and older know the Web. You know, SeniorNet is growing by leaps and bounds. To be a member of Senior Net you must be at least 55. The oldest member is 102. Now, between 15 and 55 it’s a different story, isn’t it.
In this room we know a lot about the Web. But what about the people we all work with back in our companies – do they know the Web? And we know the answer, don’t we – many do, but most don’t. The number of people on the Web as a percentage of the world’s population also rounds to zero. And so the people in-between must embrace this technology, and all of us must help them to learn this technology because very soon these kids are going to be at our doorstep. What kind of questions will they have? Are these kids going to ask us about our organization charts? Are they going to ask us about ‘What will my title be? Can I get to go to staff meetings?’ I don’t think so. They’re going to have tough questions for us. ‘If I come to work for your company, on those days that I choose to come to the office, will I have a T3 at my desk, or just a T1? Will I have a 45-inch display or just a 21-inch display?’ ‘When I dial in from my home 3000 miles from where you hire me, will I have high-speed access to all the systems in the company for which I am authorized and complete open access to the Web?’ If we can’t answer all those questions, these kids are going to say ‘Bye, forget it.’
Now, let’s get a little bit more serious here for a minute. Is the Web for real? What about security? This is a bank, the Security First Network Bank, headquartered in Pineville, Kentucky; a full asset bank is what they want to be. That means they want your checking, your savings, your mutual funds, your insurance, everything. Is it secure? What about the security ‘problem’ people talk about? Well, I would say, and I’m sure you would agree, that security is not a problem, security is an opportunity because of the Internet and the Web. When I visit that virtual vineyard, and pick out a bottle of wine and I click here to buy, what happens? What really happens? What really happens is a set of things that some day soon we’ll all take for granted. What happens is that my credit card number will be encrypted, it’ll be scrambled with the public key of Eurocard and I’ll sign that order with my private key, my digital signature. And I’ll encrypt that order with the public key of the virtual vineyard. And those packets will go flying across the Internet and they’ll arrive at the virtual vineyard and be recompiled into a message, and the virtual vineyard will open that order with their private key. And when they open it, I will know that the virtual vineyard was really who they said they were: it was not a student at M.I.T, setting up shop for the weekend, it was really the virtual vineyard. And when they decrypt the digital signature, using my public key, that they got from a certificate authority that they trust, they’ll know it was me: it could not have been spoofed, it was not an impostor, it really was the person who said he was. And the credit card number will go to Eurocard, and Eurocard will decrypt it with their private key, and they will check my credit, and if it’s OK, they will tell the virtual vineyard: ‘It’s OK. Ship that bottle of wine.’ Debits equal credits and everyone is happy. Not only is everyone happy, but privacy has been enhanced by the Internet. Enhanced.
People talk about we’ll lose our identity because of the Internet. We’re going to be able to protect our identity because of the Internet. Eurocard doesn’t know I bought a bottle of wine; they just know that the merchant asked for an approval. The virtual vineyard does not know my credit card number, they don’t need to know my credit card number. For some reason, the Sofitel Hotel needs to know my credit card number. Some total stranger has my credit card number: I have no idea what she’s doing with it – she may be passing it around to all of her friends. But at the virtual vineyard, they don’t know my credit card number, they only need to know they will get paid. Also we have non-repudiation, which means later I can’t say ‘I didn’t order that bottle of wine.’ So, security is not a problem, it’s an opportunity. Today, you would never buy a word processing program without a spell checker, would you? And soon you won’t buy any software without public key cryptography. That will become fundamental to our life and it will enable new things. Electronic commerce is more than buying a bottle of wine: electronic commerce is transferring your medical records, filling out a mortgage application. E-Commerce in a very broad sense will emerge when people learn about public key cryptography and the wonderful things it can make possible.
Now I’d like to show you some technology that’s happening that I’m very excited about. The sports area presents some interesting opportunities for us and we’ve been using this as our sandbox, our place to experiment, our place to enable our best and brightest people to try new things on the Internet. We’ve learnt a great deal. I don’t know if you saw the chess match – it was quite an experience to enable people to go on the Web and move chess pieces, and to select a particular move and analyze it and see the game being replayed. During this chess match, on the first day, we had a very unpleasant surprise in that we didn’t think that many people in the world would be interested, so we vended this out to someone who put it up on a server and in the first hour it just crumbled. So we assembled a team of people and we created a supercomputer site, a parallel supercomputer with 9 nodes, and we built a TCP router to enable the transactions to be spread across these nodes, and we were taking 600,000 hits per hour, and the super-computer wasn’t breathing hard. So scalability I think, is going to emerge as something that’s very important.
And I’ll show you another example. This is the Masters’ Golf Tournament. And at the Masters, we had an incredible number of visitors and, of course, as you know, the Web enables very concentrated groups who may be small in any one community but across the world may turn out to be a very large group of people. I think this technology is going to make it possible for people to spend their lives a little differently. In the future, perhaps, when you get ready to play a game of golf, you may want to learn a little bit more about the course. You may choose, in fact, to do a fly-over of the course on the Web. That video clip that you were looking at was decoded with an MPEG-2 chip in my Thinkpad, so you were looking at 20 or 30 frames per second. We now know how to do this at 28.8 with streaming of high quality and this will change the way people think about applications. Now, actually, after you’ve flown over this hole, you may decide you want to get a closer look at the hole to practice your shot and to make sure you know how to play the angles, and so you may use some VRML to examine this more closely. Kind of a new approach to golf. Almost doesn’t seem fair, does it?
There are a lot of exciting things going on at the Olympic Games and it’s, of course, the worldwide Web that will make it possible for IBM to share the information from the Olympic Games with people all over the world. It starts with buying tickets. And to buy tickets, you can go, of course, to the Web site of the Olympic Games and you can select an event or you can select a location. And when you do, you’ll be presented with a table of events that matches your request. You’ll be able to see -when I say ‘you will be able to ‘, it is actually live now on the Web. And you can select some tickets, you can see how many are available seated together, you can update your shopping cart of what you want to buy, you can then proceed to the Box Office, validate the information, there’s your final order, and you can move on to ticket delivery, see your confirmation of all the information and then finally execute your order. We didn’t really realize, frankly, how many people would want to buy their tickets this way. It was initially an experiment. And it was an experiment that in its first day resulted in the largest, to my knowledge, the largest one-day sales of anything on the world-wide Web. So it’s been quite an exciting experience.
Now, more importantly, perhaps will be the results of the Olympic Games. When an event occurs at the Olympics, the Swatch timing system will gather the data. It will be collected by 7000 PCs which are attached to 80 AS/400 LAN’s. The LANs will then feed the information to System/390 mainframe servers, which will summarize the information, and then it will be fed over a dedicated link to an SP2 supercomputer. The supercomputer will be- is- connected to the Web where people will be able to get results almost real-time. And when they do get these results, what will happen is that a page will be created – this is just an example. This is the Web of the future. Pages will not be served from an HTTP file system like they are today: pages will be created dynamically. These pages are individually constructed based on the kind of browser you have, and where you are. So if you’re in Sydney, Australia and you have a Netscape 2.0 browser, a page will be created in a table format, such as you’re seeing here. It’ll be served out of Keio University in Tokyo, even though you requested it from Southbury, Connecticut where we have the supercomputer. If you don’t have a Netscape Navigator 2.0 browser that supports tables, a tabular format will be constructed instead. In other words, every page is created on-the-fly by the supercomputer, created on-the-fly from objects stored in a database. What are the objects? Well, they’re horizontal rules, table elements, they’re pieces of data, they’re text headings, they’re all the things that today make up an HTML document. This is the way the Web will work.
There are many other interesting places on the Web and we don’t have time, really, to go further with it. I’d like to welcome you to visit my own Web site and in this Web site you may find some interesting things. It’s a hobby of mine – it started out to be ‘Here are the 10 places on the Web that are my favorites’ and it evolved into quite a Saturday morning project every week where I update these 26 categories of things, and there are somewhere around 400 links out there presently. This particular Web page here actually was created in Notes, Lotus Notes. Notes is a way to be able to create these pages without having to know HTML. I actually do know HTML and that’s the way I’ve managed this Web site for a long time, but it really got to be a bit of a pain, I must say. Now, when you look at this particular section here, you’ll notice that there’s a new GIF or an updated GIF, you’ll notice that there are categories and that things are kept in alphabetical order. This is one of the things that’s very nice about using something other than native HTML and some of the existing tools. By storing things in a Notes database, you’re able to have them automatically be alphabetized, categorized and to just put a simple formula in the View column. And in the View column, it says ‘If create-date is less than 10 days, put this new dot GIF file. If a change, put updated dot GIF if neither, don’t put anything.’ So it’s a very simple way to be able to manage a database. I won’t take the time now to show you about this database, but it lives right here in this particular Notes database, and to create something new, it’s a matter, basically, of doing something like you would do with a word processor. And what I believe we will see emerging is the ability to combine the business logic and the full-text search and the forms and the views and things that we take for granted and to use systems like Notes and be able to converge those with the capabilities of the Web. So if you want to do something, you do it like a word processor. This is a Web page and when you format it to some larger font size, it shows up there as an H1 or an H2 or whatever matching you’ve set up. And if you want to do something like add a spreadsheet into the Web page, then you just embed a component. And I believe what we will see is that the world is going to become componentized And things like spreadsheets will merge, and of course you can do all this with Lotus Notes. This is not an OLE-2 application you are looking at, this is a Lotus component. It’s a very small lightweight thing, and if you don’t have the component, you can download it over the Web. When you click the ‘Publish’ button, this becomes a Web page and the spreadsheet gets converted to a GIF file.
Well, I’ll just move on in the interests of time. Now, what does all this mean? Well, first of all, I would say the Internet is the information highway. We all get asked, don’t we, well, how does this relate to the information superhighway? This is it. This is it. Like a real highway, all the lanes aren’t paved yet. Some of the exit ramps don’t go anywhere. There are occasional accidents with a few bumps in the road. Sometimes, speeds are unpredictable, but this is the information superhighway. I think of it as Visicalc 1.0 – remember Dan Bricklin and Visicalc? Remember 1977? How powerful that was, how revolutionary it was, how exciting Visicalc was. Today it seems so trivial. The Web is Visicalc 1.0. It’s not going to go away, it’s going to evolve into a very rich environment. We’re really in our infancy with this. And electronic commerce in the broadest sense will fuel that next major round of growth. How many people will there be? Nobody knows. But I think there will be hundreds of millions, maybe a billion. There are 5.7 billion people in the world right now. At the turn of the century, there will be 7 billion. Could 1 out of 7 people have access? I think so. They won’t all have personal computers, unfortunately, but they can have access to the Web from a kiosk. In Copenhagen, we have a pilot going, working with the city, to enable people to come up to a kiosk – at a school, at a church, at a government building, on the street corner, maybe in the jungle, on the plant floor so that people can take a Web-break instead of a smoke-break. This is going to happen, people will have access and there will be hundreds of millions of people taking advantage of this. Soon we will see magazine stories – I can see the cover now -about the parallel economy emerging on the Web. It’s happening already if you really look at it. And that parallel economy some day will be the economy. And very soon a business without a significant presence on the Web will be like a business without a fax machine.
So what are the issues and challenges? Are video and telephony coming to the Web? Of course, they’re coming to the Web. The real-time protocol, the RSVP protocol, the G.723, the H.263 and the various other CCITT and ITU standards will merge and we will see real video and telephony happening. When you look at a Web page, click here to talk to a fashion consultant, to discuss the wardrobe item that you’re looking at; click here to talk to a customer support representative to help you step through the technical problem you may be having and that discussion will occur simultaneous to the same connection that you’re using to connect to the Web. Can the Net handle it? Are we going to have brownouts and blackouts? Well, I’m sure there will be a hiccup along the way, but fundamentally, the Net, as you know, is a totally distributed environment, so when it slows down, we throw more routers at it. When we get too many hop counts, we combine switching with routing. We find integrated switch routers changing the landscape. We see companies like ours and France Telecom and MCI and AT&T and BT and companies all over the world investing in backbone capabilities. The NSFNet backbone has served us very well, we were proud to help build it with MCI and the Merrit system. But in April of last year, it went away and now there are lots of backbones being built by these many companies. These backbones are like a fibrous root system. This fibrous root system is alive, it’s growing and it can handle this capability. The bandwidth will grow faster than the demand for it will grow. The home page is dead. What counts is a Web site that does something, the Web site that comes alive and builds a relationship. You can’t just launch into electronic commerce: you have to establish the presence and then build relationships, and those relationships have to lead to trust. And when trust occurs, electronic commerce will follow. What do I mean by trust? Well, as you know, click-tracking is something that’s very easy to do. And when you come to a Web site, shortly you may find a page that says ‘ Oh, you’re here again. It’s you. Last time you were here, we know all the things you clicked on. We know what you did, and here’s the things that you want to buy today.’ Do you trust that kind of a Web site? I don’t think so. So brand images are going to become very important, a trust model will be important for these things to be sustained and Web sites that are just simply a home page will be disappearing. The publishing model is being inverted. Today, publishers decide for us what we are interested in and when we are interested in it and the degree of depth to which we are interested in it. The Web turns that upside down and it puts us in charge, doesn’t it? Consumers in the driver’s seat because of the Web. We will decide what we are interested in, when we are interested in it, how we want to receive it, and the degree of depth into which we want to explore a particular subject. Scalability, and the object model, as I described will be very important and JAVA is critically important to all this to maintain a cross-platform level playing-field so that everyone can participate in this industry on an equal footing. It’s very important.
Now, why is IBM interested in all this? Well, I’m not really here to talk about IBM but if you’re interested, you can visit our Web site at www.internet.ibm.com and you can find out about the things that we announced at Internet World and, of course, I invite you to do so. There’s a second reason that we’re interested in all this beyond just helping our customers and that is that we see it as an unprecedented communications opportunity. In the interest of time, I won’t go into this now, but I invite you to visit my Web site and take the paper there called ‘Get Connected’. ‘Get Connected’ has to do with transforming your organization, becoming accessible, approachable. Big companies can spend all of their time talking to themselves. The Web is a way to let employees go out and see what their competitors are doing, see what their customers are doing, see what the industry is doing, see what the Web consortium is doing. It’s vitally important in this emerging world to be accessible and approachable and to allow employees to surf the Web. Old-fashioned concerns about productivity going down the drain because employees are using the Web are unfounded. Whatever loss occurs from that phenomena is more than gained back by the perspective that the employees gain in their knowledge of the world, and their effectiveness, and their idea creation, and their ability to collaborate. That’s where the power is. So you can learn about some ideas for this transformation by visiting this site, and there are 6 simple ideas that talk about some new ways of thinking about this matter.
In conclusion, the third wave of computing is well underway. There’s still time. If you’re not really connected, you can get connected. Winners and losers – people want to know: ‘Well, who are the winners and losers going to be?’ And I say, ‘There don’t have to be any losers. Some winners may win more than others, but everyone can be a winner because everyone can be connected. There are threats to this, they’re real but they are surmountable. Regulatory threats are not to be dismissed, and we must work together as an industry: companies that may compete in many areas must work together and help governments and regulatory organizations understand the power of good from the Web, the power to implement distance learning, the power to enable people to get connected, the power for governments to be more effective than they are today by adding value to their citizenry through better communications. Proprietary threats are not to be dismissed, either. Some companies would like to pull all this in, put it on the desktop: we can’t let that happen. The Internet and the Web are too important to everyone to allow anyone to try and corner it. So it must remain open.
The bottom line is: the future isn’t in the future, the future is now. For businesses and organizations, it’s unlimited reach. For individuals, like you and me, it’s infinite choice. So it’s really up to you: it’s the person on your left, it’s the person on your right who needs to embrace this technology, share it with others. If you have friends who are throwing stones at it, show them the way. So, I really appreciated having the chance to be with you. I wish we had time for questions, but we don’t. If you have questions or comments about what I’ve had to say, please feel free to visit my Web site at johnpatrick.com and I will be happy to answer your questions or comments. Thank you very much.