IBM's Palmisano Warns U.S. Not To Fall Behind On Broadband - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
2/19/2010
08:57 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
[Dark Reading Crash Course] Finding & Fixing Application Security Vulnerabilitie
Sep 14, 2017
Hear from a top applications security expert as he discusses key practices for scanning and securi ...Read More>>

IBM's Palmisano Warns U.S. Not To Fall Behind On Broadband

With global IP traffic in 2013 expected to top 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes (half a zettabyte, which is one trillion gigabytes), IBM CEO Sam Palmisano is warning that "our country will not be prepared for a new world that is increasingly built on the fusion of the physical and the digital" without a huge national broadband upgrade driven by private-sector funding and "enlightened" government policy.

With global IP traffic in 2013 expected to top 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes (half a zettabyte, which is one trillion gigabytes), IBM CEO Sam Palmisano is warning that "our country will not be prepared for a new world that is increasingly built on the fusion of the physical and the digital" without a huge national broadband upgrade driven by private-sector funding and "enlightened" government policy.In an guest column in today's Wall Street Journal called Fix the Bridges But Don't Forget Broadband, Palmisano centers his argument on two key points: first, that the U.S. economy-in spite of our long and proud history in manufacturing-is now predominantly a services economy; and second, the imminent infusion of hundreds of billions of intelligent devices into every physical element of our world: from appliances and cars to power grids and rivers and fields of wheat.

As those many billions-some say it will be trillions-of intelligent devices begin throwing off that half a zettabyte of data mentioned in the opening paragraph, that information torrent will swamp our current broadband infrastructure and render the United States incapable of participating in the next wave of the emerging global economy driven by pervasive real-time intelligence.

Palmisano makes the argument:

Consider that services already comprise more than three-quarters of the U.S. economy. And consider that the future of services-whether in health care, finance, engineering or entertainment-will be increasingly digital, delivered over broadband.

Appreciating the issues at stake here begins with an understanding of the emerging digital economy. This shift is not just about data centers, high-definition TVs and mobile devices. We are seeing the infusion of instrumentation and intelligence into things no one would recognize as computers: power grids, rail lines and roads, supply chains, health-care systems, and even natural systems such as agriculture and waterways. This is generating huge volumes of vital data and intelligence.

Hidden treasures buried in the world's information are being unlocked. But that potential value could be choked off-and America's competitiveness could be severely hampered-if we don't have the infrastructure to handle the huge resulting data streams.

The answer, he says, lies in a combination of private-sector investment plus "enlightened" government policy (I use the quotation marks to highlight the highly unlikely possibility that our government is capable of delivering a policy bearing that quality). And as a reference source for the impact of what such a combination is capable of providing, Palmisano points to a 2008 study from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation that correlates local and regional economic prosperity with advanced broadband infrastructure.

Here are links to two of that group's reports relative to this subject, and to Palmisano's WSJ piece:

Explaining International Broadband Leadership

Digital Quality of Life: Understanding the Personal and Social Benefits of the Information Technology Revolution

Fix the Bridges But Don't Forget Broadband

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll