IT: IMPACT ON THE BUSINESS AND WAY OF LIFE

Are we ready?

By Sheikh Nisar Ahmed, 
Managing Director & CEO MSCL
July 30 - Aug 05, 2001

The future: The business world today stands on the threshold of revolutionary change. Changes that will effect every aspect of doing business in future.

The technology of today and rapidly changing technology of tomorrow is leading the way to a truly global marketplace.

The factors of geographical location, time and distance are no longer the barrier that they were in the past. High-speed data communication in conjunction with increasing processing power of computers will make video conferencing very cost effective and convenient option of doing your business.

HR hiring through Tele interviews and computer chatting is already in practice by most of the US IT companies. Soon people will not have to go US to earn US wages.

A refinery design engineer in Houston can do the work for a refinery in Riyadh, have his designs reviewed, approved, consult on any problem with implementation and never leave his desk.

A small export company in Nepal or Bangladesh could find buyers and distribute its products worldwide, at most competitive prices, because it is able to eliminate the middlemen. This is not in future, it has already started happening now.

Before we iook into future allow me quote ex-US VP, Albert Gore. "We are on the verge of a revolution. That is just as profound as the change in the economy that came with the industrial revolution. Soon electronic networks will allow people to go beyond the barriers of time and distance and take global markets and business opportunities not even imaginable today. Opening up a new world of economic possibility and progress".

Today Governments and Companies around the world are working on technological solutions required to network the world. Advances in satellite, wireless, and bandwidth technology will soon solve the problems of physically connecting not only every business and individual but also Governments to the one single global network. While we are still living with Internet access speed of 64K to128K, in the other parts of the world 1 or 2 MB speed is becoming very common. And it is heartening to know that a giga byte speed data communication has already been tested in labs, and likely to be made commercially available soon. These developments will be supported by development in software and Database technology.

Wireless mobile communication technology is maturing fast. This will reduce the cost and time of laying communication links by many fold.

With increasing availability of mobile data applications, handheld devices should become a good substitute for traditional access to data, removing the need for larger, more expensive personal computers.

We have already discussed the Carbon-60 chips in our first topic. We will soon see the commercial implementation of these chips. This will greatly reduce the cost of computing.

Improvements in human interface technology, including voice recognition, may also lead to simpler, easier-to-use devices that will be more accessible to a broader population.

Innovative solutions for extending access will become available with the declining cost and increasing power of handheld devices. These include the development of "disposable mobile phones" or pre-paid plans with extremely low-cost telephones and handhelds.

Conclusion

All these developments in Information Technology will change the shape of the world, we are living in a world of bright promises offering unparalleled opportunities in education, business and human development. The expectation like

*Distant learning
*Distant health care
Are becoming reality.

The vision of a totally interconnected world that will offer benefits and opportunities not even imagined today will not be realized without the cooperation and hard work of many people from every nation in the world. This great work is on going and progress being made in many areas. Telecommunication treaties that are opening markets around the world, policies and guidelines that facilitate growth, trust, and security of the system, and creation of legal parameters that provide uniform and consistent business environment with safeguard for individual rights to privacy and redress of grievances are the areas where bodies appointed by UNO, WB, Government of USA and European Union have started working.

The success in 21st century will depend on speed with which organizations are able to adopt to the change. Or as Bill Clinton said" Make Change our Friends NOT enemy". It is predicted that large organizations compared to the smaller organizations will be slower in adopting the change. Thus a tremendous opportunity for efficient smaller organizations to grow.

Every new era in human history has had both positive and negative results from the change. The interconnected world of tomorrow will benefit mankind and the environment in many ways. But there will surely be some negative aspects. One of the greatest challenges will be to overcome those problems that arise and to move forward and fulfil bright hope and promise of this new era.

The big question is "are we ready?".