The best is yet to come says top IBM executive

The Internet revolution still has a long way to go, says IBM executive, Michael Nelson... and Big Blue is going to be a major player.

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By  Greg Wilson Published  February 11, 2001

The days of an always on, secure, easy to use and trusted Internet services may appear a million miles away for many Web surfers in the region, who commonly get by with slow, unreliable and expensive Internet service. But Michael Nelson, IBM’s director of Internet technology & strategy, on his visit to Dubai, says that the day when we view the Internet as just another utility — like the electrical supply at home — is just over the horizon.

“The Internet revolution is less than 3% complete,” says Nelson. “Any way you measure it, this has only really just started and there is a lot more to come in terms of bandwidth, the number of people online, applications and the volume of data online,” he adds.

IBM is has already been positioning itself as the vendor that will deliver a big part of the software infrastructure and services to construct the e-enabled world. The dash to create the connected world is going to be accelerated by the plummeting cost of computing and bandwidth.

According to Nelson, within four years an end user’s money will be able to buy roughly 10 times the computing power than it can today. A further four years down the line, and end users will be able to go out and buy 100 times the computing power that's available today.

Not only will raw computing power drop in price, but so will data storage, as enormous capacity micro drives enter the mainstream. “The cost of computing is coming down all the time,” says Nelson.

Bandwidth concerns are also being addressed by innovations in networking technologies like dense wave multiplexing. “The cost of bandwidth is going to come down by 99%,” predicts Nelson.

But even though the cost of computing maybe about to fall of the scale, the prices — particularly of Web access and browsing — aren’t. To drive down the prices of Internet access and use there needs to be a greater degree of competition, which in turn will lower prices, says Nelson.

“Even in closed markets satellite and wireless technologies are bringing greater competition. Also different countries moving to establish themselves as e-business hubs are now competing with one another — just look at Singapore and Malaysia,” comments Nelson. “There is a real fear of being left behind and [countries] are putting polices to spur growth,” he adds.

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