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A View of 2 Oceans of Digital IT, 2012-12 Print
December 2012

Nikola Tesla invented Alternating Current and his invention allowed electricity to be transmitted over a long distance with reduced loss.  The reach of more users encouraged electricity to be generated on a bigger scale to achieve better economies.  We have ended up with power stations, transmission and distribution networks, and electricity consumers.   Proponents for cloud computing suggested that information heads in the same direction and the Internet is the transmission and distribution network of the information age.

Similar to electrical appliances, we will just have information devices like smart phones and tablets.  Instead of having our own servers and desktops, we will let our team members bring their own device and communicate with the clouds (data centres in dynamic locations). 

This view is too good to be true.  Is information like electricity which is a single well defined entity?  An organisation uses electricity for air conditioning and various machines without discerning where the electricity was generated or how it was transmitted.   Can we use data generated from anywhere for our own operation?  Yes and no and it depends on who we are.  Yes for consumers and no for producers.

The SKA Telescope (see a separate article under Outside the Square) will generate 10 times the amount of global Internet traffic in 2019 and 100 times in 2024.  It is going to make the Internet a dwarf as far as traffic is concerned.

In the meantime, we are hearing developments in smart metering and smart cities not to mention smart dust in warzones.  These developments will give us many more information systems that have their own network. 

More and more vehicles on the road are fitted with GPS navigation device.  Do we believe that GPS satellites are capable of collecting data from vehicles quietly in the background?  The vast amount of information they collect can be used for many purposes such as determining if a highway has got traffic jam or the distribution of traffic in a city at any one time.  These satellites are clearly another network different to the Internet.

To relate SKA, Smart Cities, and GPS satellites to the Internet, we are seeing the road transportation system as a better analogy than electricity utility model for the information age.  Let us call SKA and Smart Cities to be production or infrastructure communities.  We will then have consumers on one hand and production or infrastructure communities on the other hand and the Internet is a highway network joining them together.

Cloud computing and BYOD are therefore part of the story even if they go further ahead.

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