"Innovation happens faster in a down market." I recently
read this quote by Carl Howe, a principal analyst for Forrester,
and I really liked it. It makes me more optimistic than perhaps
I should be right now.
In the story I read on NewsFactor.com, Howe was commenting on
the many microprocessors that are scheduled for release at the 15th
Microprocessor Forum in October. More than 15 new microprocessors
from major manufacturers are being announced, which leads analysts
like Howe to point out that even companies that are trying to cut
costs rarely reduce their research and development staff.
And lately, it has seemed that researchers everywhere, besides
building faster microprocessors, are developing technologies that
have the potential to change the world. For example, Vinton Cerf
(co-designer of TCP/IP) is pursuing the idea of an Interplanetary
Internet, which among other things will allow astronauts to be able
to access the Internet.
Other researchers are working on quantum cryptography, which uses
principles of quantum mechanics to ensure that encrypted material
will be secure, not just until computing power catches up to where
someone can crack the algorithm, but forever. For more information,
see PC Magazine's special report on quantum cryptography
Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web) is fostering
the idea of a Semantic Web. This huge project involves building
a vast framework of metadata with which to catalog the Web and,
in the words of Berners-Lee, take the "Web of today to a Web
in which machine reasoning will be ubiquitous and devastatingly
powerful." See: http://www.w3.org/designissues/semantic.html
for Berners-Lee's draft of the project.
These ideas and innovations inspire great optimism about the future,
which is intrinsically the future of technology. The quote from
Howe above also reminds me of a question posed in a meeting not
too long ago. The question was "Where do you want to be when
the market recovers?" The answer, of course, is different for
everyone, but the implication is the same. If you have more time
because business is slow, spend some of it on research and development.
Try to improve your processes and get more out of your systems.
Put yourself there now, so you'll be ready.
Editor in Chief