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Build up of IT infrastructure is near completion -- How true is it for consumers?

This entry is inspired by an article in May 2003 issue of HBR titled "IT Doesn't Matter". This article is thought proviking for all those who are either in the business of supplying IT products or consuming these products. Goes without saying that this covers almost all businesses and, more importantly, consumers on the earth.
I have more to say on this article, but for this Weblog entry, I will limt my thoughts to relating my own personal uses of IT at HOME with one of the conclusions made in the above mentioned article -- that the build out of IT infrastructure is near completion.
Let me start with listing out major IT related milesones at the home front, leaving out evnts related the professional life:

  1. First Home Computer. I got my first home computer way back in May 1993 after few months of joining VeriFone, Bangalore, India. It was a 386 machine running DOS and Windows 3.1, had a modem card and I could connect to office network for reading mail and running server programs. Veena, my wife, was able to send me emails when I was in US, though we found that talking over phone was usually much easier and more satisfying.

  2. Second Home Computer. Got the second computer, a Pentium 100MHz running Wndows95, in 1997. Added a laser printed and had to upgrade memory from 64MB to 128 MB, so I could run Symantec Visual Cafe IDE to develop and debug Java programs. The primary uses turned out to be writing Java programs to become comfortable with Java programming. Was able to do Internet browsing over dialup connection but it was too slow most of the time (it was much easier to drive to the office and do the browsing there).

  3. Third Home Computer. Bought the third computer, a PentiumII, 350MHz, with 128MB RAM running Windows98, after moving to US in Oct. 1998. Got internet connectivity through dialup by signing up with Earthlink. Lateron, also got DSL connectivity. Primary uses continued to be Internet browsing, email access and programming for fun.

  4. More Computers and Home Network.
  5. In december 2001, I assembled a computer by buying individual components. This machine has 900MHz AMD Athlon CPU, 1GB of RAM, 100 GB of harddisk, a CD RW drive, two NICs and runs Windows 2000. I use it to develop content for my personal website, this Weblog, writing a book and associated software, doing online research for the book and other online activities. All these activities prompted me to move away from unreliable DSL to cable modem, and then later to a HOME Network through a Linksys router. I also added more computers in this network -- one for daughter akriti and one to run as a Linux based server accessible through Internet. Very recently, I replaced the old Linksys router with a wireless 802.11b Linksys router, so that I could access Internet and office network through my WORK laptop anywhere in the house.

The point I want to make is that things have been changing rapidly and the availability of technology has widened its usefulness, and has, in turn, resulted in better satisfaction for me, the consumer.
The current infrastructure is far from mature and complete. Given the technology trends, and my personal needs, I can easily forecast near-term future:

  1. A Server powering a website promoting the book. I investigated the possibility of a hosted solution and have concluded that the most cost-effective solution is to have a combination: have hosted site for static content download and a server running at home for dynamic web applications and other services. The cost of hosting a dedicated server, a requirement to be able to run software of my choice, with a hosting company is very high compared to one running at home.

  2. Use of VoIP (Voice over IP) for phone calls. Currently I am paying more than $100.00 per month to my local and long distance phone company. Given the direction of technology, I may be able to use the cable modem based Internet connectivity for these purposes in near future.

  3. Convergence of IT and Entertainment. As of now, my collection of audio CDs, audio cassettes, VHS tapes, DVDs and devices to play them are separate islands. They should be integrated with the Home Network. Same goes for cable connection and the paid channels. The potential for better integration exists and it will happen sooner or later.

So, at least for me, the consumer, the build up of IT infrastructure is not complete. And I am perhaps one of the more tech. savvy consumers living in a technologically advanced region. For a majority of consumers, the build up of infrastructure is far from complete.
Of course, one cannot equate IT infrastructure at home with IT infrastructure for businesses, but I have a feeling that both are intricately intertwined. IT at most organizations will continue to evolve -- to meet its own changing needs and also to cope with IT infrastructure at Home.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 1, 2003 1:46 PM.

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