copyright 2004 Harry Newton
personal web site: www.HarryNewton.com
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The telecom recession is finally ending. Here's where the opportunities are.
by Harry Newton
Everyone asks me, "I love telecom. But my industry has cratered. Where are the opportunities? I don't want to flip burgers for the rest of my life."
It's early 2004. Here's what I hear and what I see:
Broadband. Broadband. Broadband. With a broadband Internet connection you can make cheap phone calls (VoIP), research your latest disease, download the latest software releases, find the cheapest place to buy your favorite toy, sell your goods to the world, have your kids send your videos of your grandchildren. Broadband is telecommunication's fastest growing area, bar none.
VoIP. Voice over the Internet. It's hard to imagine a technology more likely to disrupt the telecommunications industry.
WiFi and local Wireless LANs. They can't replace wires. But, boy, they are useful for temporary and short (up to 100 feet) Internet connections ” like on the porch, in the living room, in a bedroom.
Home entertainment. It used to be standalone. A separate TV. A separate radio, etc. Now everything is about to be connected by Ethernet cables and WiFi wireless to a home entertainment server and through that to the Internet for downloading movies, songs, photos and programs for your TiVo, known now as a PVR (Personal Video Recorder).
Better TV. DVDs are better TV. They look and sound better. High definition TV (HDTV) is even better. Once you've seen it, you won't want to go back to normal broadcast or analog cable TV.
The Internet as a giant shopping mall. Many of us developed great skills in running telephone call centers. Now it's time to transfer those skills to running great web sites and great service to our customers. Too many web commerce designers, especially those coming out of IT, make their web sites according to the "service" they expect of computer vendors ” like endlessly waiting for answers to questions, like little real information and like 24- hour answers to customer emails. In short, most web sites that peddle stuff could peddle a lot more and be a lot more profitable if their web sites were designed to include customer service (and people) not replace them.
GPS (Global Positioning Service) combined with telecom. America has six million heavy trucks . Every wasted hour costs big bucks. $100 an hour is not uncommon. By combining location information with smart telecom networks and intelligent software, you can seriously improve the productivity, and thus the profitability, of these trucks. Wait till you hear what GPS is doing for agriculture and construction.
China. Every company now has operations in China. Most companies are selling into China. 50% per year growth is common. China is the world's fastest-growing large economy. By 2008, in time for the Olympics, China will fiber optic up its entire country. The smallest village to the largest city will be served by the most advanced fiber optic telecommunications system in the world.
Open software. It's cheaper. The hardware it runs on is cheaper. Michael Dell talks of his company replacing a super-computer with a cluster of baby computers running open software and saving his customer 90%. Open software runs more than half the world's web servers.
New ways of communicating with computers. OmniVision Technologies talks of "visual gesture control." When playing games , you don't touch keyboard or console, you simply move. A camera figures out what you're doing and implements your commands. Neat.
The "Cheap Revolution" is here. This is a favorite theme of Rich Karlgaard, Forbes Magazine, publisher. His "Cheap Revoluton" has four elements: Moore's Law, excess capacity in people and factories, Internet transparency and global pricing arbitrage (meaning you always can find the cheapest price on the Internet).
Outsourcing. As services get outsourced to China, India and other places, the need for decent, reliable telecommunications becomes paramount.
And finally the old standby, Refunds . Over 80% of the phone bills presented to corporations are wrong and usually wrong in the carriers ' favor. This means that, if you know something about telecom bills, there's a handsome business in auditing corporate phone bills and securing hands refunds.
I wrote this book for those of us turned on to telecom, for those of us trying to keep up, for those of us new to this wonderful industry and for those of us who simply want a respite from life for a few moments.
Give my dictionary to your workmates, your employees , your users, your customers, your boss. Give it to your kids to let them understand what you do and why you're turned on. They'll understand why you, too, have no life.
Dip into this book. This is not your run-of-the mill dictionary. Dig around. You'll find something interesting, something you didn't know, something relevant, something irrelevant, something educational, something amusing, something warming. I have fun writing this dictionary. You should have fun reading it.
This is a dictionary to work with every day. Companies bring their new employees up the telecom, networking and Internet learning curve. Salespeople include the definitions in proposals to customers. Users explain telecom things to their boss. Lawyers even use it in court . Sometimes they rely on it. God help us.
This is not a technical dictionary. Most technical dictionaries define terms tersely, often in other technical terms. They leave you more confused . This dictionary is different. I define the term . I talk about how it works, how you use it, what its benefits are, what its negatives are, how you should go about buying and installing it and some warnings. I write for me ” the businessman with a smattering of technical knowledge ” who is trying to figure it all out in simple "What it all means" terms. I'm not an engineer and I don't expect you to be one to read the dictionary. Just your normal intelligent, curious person.
I'm adding, updating, expanding and fixing several hundred words a month. Yet I can't keep up. If I'm missing a definition, or if a definition is unclear or wrong, please email me. Harry@HarryNewton.com.
This dictionary is a labor of love. The meager monies (also called royalties) I receive from writing it put my time at way under $1 an hour. When I pass through the pearly gates, they'll have a special place for me. "He contributed something of value to the world's knowledge." After reading this dictionary, I hope you feel that way, also.
Arthur Clarke once commented "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I hope the year 2004 brings lots of magic into your life. It looks like our industry is finally coming back to life.
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