Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Colin Ritchie, Elizabeth White, Amit Gupta, Larry Alton, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Does i-Technology Matter?

"i-Technology" Does Matter. It Matters in Ways that "IT" Could Only Ever Dream Of...

When Nicholas Carr posed the question "Does IT Matter?" in his now-famous Harvard Business Review essay, he clearly knew that it would provoke discussion. He probably didn't know, on the other hand, that it would eventually cause the world's richest man - whose wealth is derived 100% from IT - to call the essay, during a dinner party at his home, "the dumbest thing I've ever read."

 When extended by Nick Carr and published in book form, the essay was subtitled: "Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage." Carr's thesis, simply put, was that since business profits are based on your ability to differentiate yourself, you can only gain an advantage over your competitors by having or doing something that they can't have or do; thus, as IT becomes more and more a commodity, its ability to help your business differentiate itself will decrease

As Leo Lim has expressed it: "IT is merely a cost of doing business, cut in the same cloth as other innovations that once held a lot of promise like electricity and the railway system. Though no company can ever hope to operate much less compete without the above, its homogeneity and prevalence has somehow blunted its value."

So why would anyone, as I am doing here, go out of their way to ask the same exact question of Internet technologies (i-Technology for short)? Won't i-Technology just follow the same trajectory as its pre-Web predecessor, and end up "not mattering"?

My contention is that it won't.

To back this up, I want to point to the game-changing nature of the Internet as opposed to (merely) the silicon chip. No matter how much Carr might like to suggest that in some way the window of innovation for IT has closed, my counter-argument would be that with the advent of the myriad technologies that the Internet has spawned, the window has blown wide open again. It was blustered ajar by the existence of Web 1.0, and now it's in the process of being blown wide open by the arrival of Web 2.0.

Be in no doubt: i-Technology Does Matter. It matters in ways that IT could only ever dream of. It touches us hourly, daily, weekly. And it touched us in our home lives, at school or in hospitals, as well as in our business lives. In the western industrialized world, at least, i-Technology has altered our entire way of being…and, unlike IT, it is only just getting started.

One tried and true metric of the importance that society attaches to any activity has, throughout the centuries, been vocabulary growth. Just as farming terms multiplied rapidly through the 19th century, the 21st century has so far been characterized by hugely innovative additions to the dictionary, reflecting very real innovations in the real world, including both "blogging" (with its variants like "vlogging" and sub-words like "blogroll" and "blogdropping," and "podcasting" - not to mention the family of words that podcasting too has spawned, such as "podvertising," "nanocasting," "podsafe" and - doubtless soon, alas - "podspamming"). That is before you even begin on acronyms, from the early acronyms like HTML, HTTP, and TCP/IP to more recent ones like DHTML, DOM, and AJAX.

But terminology, even an abundance of it, is what economists would call, at best, a "soft indicator." So next month in this space I will turn from words to numbers and make my argument in terms of solid economic metrics. i-Technology professionals everywhere, stay tuned!

 When extended by Nick Carr and published in book form, the essay was subtitled: "Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage." Carr's thesis, simply put, was that since business profits are based on your ability to differentiate yourself, you can only gain an advantage over your competitors by having or doing something that they can't have or do; thus, as IT becomes more and more a commodity, its ability to help your business differentiate itself will decrease

As Leo Lim has expressed it: "IT is merely a cost of doing business, cut in the same cloth as other innovations that once held a lot of promise like electricity and the railway system. Though no company can ever hope to operate much less compete without the above, its homogeneity and prevalence has somehow blunted its value."

So why would anyone, as I am doing here, go out of their way to ask the same exact question of Internet technologies (i-Technology for short)? Won't i-Technology just follow the same trajectory as its pre-Web predecessor, and end up "not mattering"?

My contention is that it won't.

To back this up, I want to point to the game-changing nature of the Internet as opposed to (merely) the silicon chip. No matter how much Carr might like to suggest that in some way the window of innovation for IT has closed, my counter-argument would be that with the advent of the myriad technologies that the Internet has spawned, the window has blown wide open again. It was blustered ajar by the existence of Web 1.0, and now it's in the process of being blown wide open by the arrival of Web 2.0.

Be in no doubt: i-Technology Does Matter. It matters in ways that IT could only ever dream of. It touches us hourly, daily, weekly. And it touched us in our home lives, at school or in hospitals, as well as in our business lives. In the western industrialized world, at least, i-Technology has altered our entire way of being…and, unlike IT, it is only just getting started.

One tried and true metric of the importance that society attaches to any activity has, throughout the centuries, been vocabulary growth. Just as farming terms multiplied rapidly through the 19th century, the 21st century has so far been characterized by hugely innovative additions to the dictionary, reflecting very real innovations in the real world, including both "blogging" (with its variants like "vlogging" and sub-words like "blogroll" and "blogdropping," and "podcasting" - not to mention the family of words that podcasting too has spawned, such as "podvertising," "nanocasting," "podsafe" and - doubtless soon, alas - "podspamming"). That is before you even begin on acronyms, from the early acronyms like HTML, HTTP, and TCP/IP to more recent ones like DHTML, DOM, and AJAX.

But terminology, even an abundance of it, is what economists would call, at best, a "soft indicator." So next month in this space I will turn from words to numbers and make my argument in terms of solid economic metrics. i-Technology professionals everywhere, stay tuned!

 When extended by Nick Carr and published in book form, the essay was subtitled: "Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage." Carr's thesis, simply put, was that since business profits are based on your ability to differentiate yourself, you can only gain an advantage over your competitors by having or doing something that they can't have or do; thus, as IT becomes more and more a commodity, its ability to help your business differentiate itself will decrease

As Leo Lim has expressed it: "IT is merely a cost of doing business, cut in the same cloth as other innovations that once held a lot of promise like electricity and the railway system. Though no company can ever hope to operate much less compete without the above, its homogeneity and prevalence has somehow blunted its value."

So why would anyone, as I am doing here, go out of their way to ask the same exact question of Internet technologies (i-Technology for short)? Won't i-Technology just follow the same trajectory as its pre-Web predecessor, and end up "not mattering"?


More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (4) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Larry Towers 04/16/06 10:04:39 PM EDT

Actually you and Carr are both wrong. Of course IT matters, just like energy matters, like research matters, like people matter. However it matters only a resource that can be used well or badly. The days when having IT mean more than this are disappearing, which in a way is a benchmark of its entrenchment. IT just IS now.

Dion Hinchcliffe 04/07/06 03:51:03 PM EDT

I agree with your premise Jeremy. The inversion of control caused by Web 2.0 technologies is indeed a big game changer, although one could argue that it will ultimately dismantle the traditional organization. However, I think it will cause the identity of traditional organizations to actually merge over time with the people that make them up, blurring their identities.

It will probably be a good thing for the most part as corporate America erodes and business people become just people. It'll be interesting to watch and is part of of a trend that we now call "Social Computing":

http://web2.wsj2.com/the_webpowered_control_shift_social_computing.htm

Best,

Dion

bloodredsun 04/07/06 01:32:16 PM EDT

|| Carr's thesis, simply put, was that since
|| business profits are based on your ability
|| to differentiate yourself, you can only
|| gain an advantage over your competitors by
|| having or doing something that they can't
| have or do; thus, as IT becomes more and
|| more a commodity, its ability to help your
|| business differentiate itself will decrease.

By making IT a commodity, it can be offshored or outsourced easily. When it's a specialty, that becomes difficult to impossible.

One of the things that always troubles me with the Outsourcing debate is how it regards IT and software development as an entity in itself, rather than one that must deal with others. By this I mean both dealing with the business you are in and also the other departments in your company.

Counter-Indicator 04/07/06 01:08:25 PM EDT

> Won't i-Technology just follow the same
> trajectory as its pre-Web predecessor, and
> end up "not mattering"? My contention is
> that it won't.

Carr's essay was about how we should interpret the role of IT in organizations and built a case for a more defensive IT spending. Sounds like you're arguing for just the opposite: I await Part Two with interest.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Real IoT production deployments running at scale are collecting sensor data from hundreds / thousands / millions of devices. The goal is to take business-critical actions on the real-time data and find insights from stored datasets. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Walicki, Watson IoT Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud, will provide a fast-paced developer journey that follows the IoT sensor data from generation, to edge gateway, to edge analytics, to encryption, to the IBM Bluemix cloud, to Wa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nihon Micron will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nihon Micron Co., Ltd. strives for technological innovation to establish high-density, high-precision processing technology for providing printed circuit board and metal mount RFID tags used for communication devices. For more inf...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Suzuki Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Suzuki Inc. is a semiconductor-related business, including sales of consuming parts, parts repair, and maintenance for semiconductor manufacturing machines, etc. It is also a health care business providing experimental research for...
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enroute Lab will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enroute Lab is an industrial design, research and development company of unmanned robotic vehicle system. For more information, please visit http://elab.co.jp/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Mobile Create USA will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Mobile Create USA Inc. is an MVNO-based business model that uses portable communication devices and cellular-based infrastructure in the development, sales, operation and mobile communications systems incorporating GPS capabi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Greg Gorman is the Director, IoT Developer Ecosystem, Watson IoT, will provide a short tutorial on Node-RED, a Node.js-based programming tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services in new and interesting ways. It provides a browser-based editor that makes it easy to wire together flows using a wide range of nodes in the palette that can be deployed to its runtime in a single-click. There is a large library of contributed nodes that help so...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SIGMA Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. uLaser flow inspection device from the Japanese top share to Global Standard! Then, make the best use of data to flip to next page. For more information, visit http://www.sigma-k.co.jp/en/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Daiya Industry specializes in orthotic support systems and assistive devices with pneumatic artificial muscles in order to contribute to an extended healthy life expectancy. For more information, please visit https://www.daiyak...
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. B2Cloud specializes in IoT devices for preventive and predictive maintenance in any kind of equipment retrieving data like Energy consumption, working time, temperature, humidity, pressure, etc.
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp em...
What is the best strategy for selecting the right offshore company for your business? In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, will discuss the things to look for - positive and negative - in evaluating your options. He will also discuss how to maximize productivity with your offshore developers. Before you start your search, clearly understand your business needs and how that impacts software choices.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interface Corporation will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Interface Corporation is a company developing, manufacturing and marketing high quality and wide variety of industrial computers and interface modules such as PCIs and PCI express. For more information, visit http://www.i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Keisoku Research Consultant Co. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Keisoku Research Consultant, Co. offers research and consulting in a wide range of civil engineering-related fields from information construction to preservation of cultural properties. For more information, vi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusic will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Fusic Co. provides mocks as virtual IoT devices. You can customize mocks, and get any amount of data at any time in your test. For more information, visit https://fusic.co.jp/english/.