The Changing Network

Everyone probably knows that BT are building out a new IP based network, but this will be across the whole of their network which has a global reach today. This together with the development of wifi & rfid, means that the Internet become pervasive and the network is no longer exclusively offering point to point connections (to make a call). I think this is important and revolutionary.

One of my feelings about the weakness of Carr's "I.T. doesn't matter!" is that it required a definition of infrastructure industries (which he didn't provide) and that the phone companies and railways only offered connections. The electricity, gas and water companies really offered a network. This is partly due to the homogenous nature of supply, we don't care if its the first c.c. of water out of a reservoir, or the millionth nor which reservoir it comes from. We don't care which technology components support our voice call, but we do care if it connects us to the wrong people, and with data, order is important. These all make IT and IT networks different from the classic utilities.

Alan Crowther then continued to place BT's activities in the context of the evolving network. BT Global Services are looking to help their customers, primarily companies, take advantage of the new business opportunities that the today & tomorrow's Internet offer. The state there are five priorities, "Build out the New Infrastructure", which may be social, and is not restricted to IT alone; "Ensure Security & Manage Risk"; "Serve Customers & Citizens", allows them to address private and public sector problems and opportunities, "Enable the Work Force" and "Extend the Organisation".

Phil Barnett (a Sun co-worker) asked about where Green issues were included or addressed, and the answer placed it very much in the context of corporate responsibility and good citizennship. I think that those who think this is important need to work harder at understanding how to make Green issues visible in the companies P&L. While shareholder supremacy is the principle of corporate governance, in any trade-off between the shareholders and pollution, its the environment and the companies neighbours that will loose. Law makers have the choice of prohibition or taxation. I think I need to do some reading.

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