Are you an immigrant?

I got to spend a few days in Cannes this week at the most famous event held each year in this great city. Well, OK, maybe it is not the most famous event held here, but it should be at least in the top 10. ...or 100. I attended the annual Gartner Symposium/ITExpo.

I had the chance to sit down and chat with a number of Gartner analysts to chat about Sun, technology and our industry. It is great to hear so many different perspectives, some that are in line with my thinking, some that needed a bit more convincing and some that needed have their "reset" button pushed. ;-) Two long days of interviews, meetings with customers and attending sessions and keynotes.

One of the keynotes that I enjoyed quite a bit was delivered by Peter Sondergaard. Peter is the SVP in charge of Research at Gartner. Peter talked about consumer driven IT and the "consumerization of IT". His main point was that more and more end users are influencing IT direction and playing a bigger part of deciding what is important. This is a fundamental shift that Peter sees, and I believe it to be 100% inline with some of the discussions I have had in the past year with CIOs and our customers.

Fundamentally users want more. More bandwidth, faster processing, more storage, etc. This is not so much different then the past, but the demand seems to be growing. Do you plan to store any less photos? Listen to any less music? The difference I believe is that users are becoming more and more aware of technology and its implications on their day to day lives. Ask any teenager. You will find that most teens have already integrated technology into their lives, from their mobile phones, to their community groups, blogs and instant messaging accounts. Proof is in one of the data points that Peter mentioned: 89% of teens use search as their first source of information. Mark Prensky (I believe the first to claim the term) called these people "Digital Natives". The opposite of this is the Digital Immigrants. I am a Digital Immigrant. Most likely you are as well, unless you are some teenager up at 3AM with nothing better to read then an immigrants blog. ;-)

I found many similarities between Peter's talk, Prensky's ideas and Sun's mission to create the technologies and fuel the communities that power the Participation Age. I am glad to see that others have caught on the these ideas as well. We are all playing our part in a much larger global stage, where by participation we all begin to close the huge gap in the global digital divide.

So all you Digital Immigrants, get out there and get to know the Natives and let's see if we can continue to drive the direction of our technology future.

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