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IP: Daily Pennsylvanian (U. Pennsylvania) IBM exec says the Internet will 'redefine the future'
From: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 16:19:18 -0500

Daily Pennsylvanian (U. Pennsylvania)
U-WIRE: IBM exec says the Internet will 'redefine the future'
By David Rosensweig

     PHILADELPHIA, Penn. -- In just a few years, the Internet has gone from
being an obscure computer network to something that's touching millions of
people's everyday lives. So what's next?
     John Patrick , vice president of Internet technology for computer
giant International Business Machines Corp., spoke yesterday on how the
Internet will "redefine the future" to nearly 150 students in a packed
Steinberg-Dietrich Hall room at the University of Pennsylvania.
     After predicting that the Internet will have a billion users in the
near future, Patrick described how the Internet is going to change the
fabric of the world's economy and society by enabling new realms of
commerce, content and communication."This is what I think the future is all
about," he said.
     Patrick works as the top strategist for Internet technologies, which
includes bringing together all Internet-related activities across IBM's
departments. He warned that companies should not "be inwardly focused" and
instead must embrace Internet technologies because of "velocity."
     "Speed is everything," he said.
     Patrick described the importance of "e-Business," an IBM trademark
which he said refers to tying together the entire business process -- from
communication and collaboration among employees to production and
supply-chain systems and finally to the World Wide Web-based sale to the
     He emphasized this holistic embrace of Internet technologies instead
of simply "e-commerce," which he described as referring narrowly to on-line
     In addition to business implications, Patrick talked about a
Jetsons-like future where the Internet will enable "ease-of-life"
improvements such as ubiquitous e-mail, on-line chatting, Internet voice
communication, distance-learning and better multicultural appreciation.
     To demonstrate this "reaching across borders," Patrick sent an English
text message to an "IBMer" in Germany instantaneously. The receiver's
computer not only translated the message into German, but "read" it aloud
as well. The German user then replied, and Patrick's computer again
translated the message.
     "Rather than thinking about limited boundaries, physical boundaries"
people are connected in milliseconds, he explained.
     Patrick then demonstrated an "MP3-man," a Walkman-like device that
plays sound files in the popular MP3 format and "never skips and has no
moving parts." MP3, or MPEG-1 Layer 3, is a file format that allows
near-CD-quality music to be distributed easily over the Internet.
     Referring to recent legal action taken by the music industry to halt
production of MP3 players, Patrick said, "This is people clinging to the
old." He recommended the industry instead embrace MP3s and implement
pay-as-you-listen solutions.
     Several students in the audience said they were thrilled by Patrick's
vision of the future.
     "It's a very exciting and promising future," Engineering senior Gary
Liu said.
     "I thought it was incredible," College senior Vicki Beyda added. "I
want to go out and work for him. There are no limits."

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