A recovering global telecom industry must include networks as reliable as public utilities, with personalities matched to each user. The challenge for the next wave of networking solutions is to deliver simultaneous performance and intelligence. The result will be networks as reliable as the best public utilities, able to span requirements as diverse as the millisecond dependencies of multimedia, the mission-critical demands of government users, and the tremendous bandwidth and capacity needs of research and education communities.
For the first time in history, the Internet-and particularly IP, the Internet Protocol-has created 500 million users sharing a global language. This is a powerful force that is shaping our industry. Concurrently, bandwidth has become dramatically more available and pervasive and much less expensive.
Going forward, we see three phases of recovery: stability, profitability and growth.
While it's hard to give time frames for this recovery, if the Internet has done anything, it's caused everything to happen faster than anyone imagined. That is likely to continue. The spike, bubble and enthusiasm-followed by the downturn and trauma-will be followed by a return to profitability and growth. Just as all preceding phases have happened faster, and with more intensity than anyone thought, there's no reason to think that will suddenly change.
We see the recovery happening at different stages around the world depending on the economic conditions and regulatory environment within each country or region, but it certainly is proceeding in a positive direction globally.
We see networking becoming more ubiquitous, mobile and taking on a "personality" to match each user. The network is not only going to be available to us 24 hours a day, but right with us as well. We won't have to find it in our offices at a desk or at the end of a wire someplace- it will be anywhere we need it, anytime.
In terms of its personality, it will move beyond being like an encyclopedia that is organized in a fashion that's of the author's choosing and will become an information resource organized as the user's experience dictates. It will take on a personality that reflects the needs of each of us as individual users.
The network will also have a richness that will fully engage the senses-not just the ability to read and write, but to listen, talk and see rich images and representations across the network in ways that classic networking couldn't deliver. There's a Microsoft commercial that gives us a glimpse of what that might be like-the one in which a parent isn't simply talking to his child from the other side of the world, but is able to read her a story from looking at the video image of the book she holds up. Think of the network infrastructure needed to make that work!