PTC'17 will explore telecommunications, changing realities of business

PTC'17 Margaret Dawson

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Most people outside technologies industries still use loads of young technologies. You might not know as much as an industry insider, but you know enough to have concerns.

You probably need smart phones or other computers not only for your work or schooling but also to maintain all your interpersonal relationships. And even if you don't know what number attaches to the newest iPhones, you know everything get refreshed and sometimes what's newer catches on and sometimes it doesn't.

So your biggest concern is that you won't be able to keep up, that you'll make a bad decision, or spend more than you need to, or find yourself without the time to learn all the new technologies you have.

The longtime Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walt Mossberg (who now has a podcast called Ctrl-Walt-Delete!) gave a speech I attended in 2000 in which he said the early adopters of automobiles had to be auto mechanics because they broke down so often (my father, now 97, recalls his father taking the family for daylong drives and having to repair tire punctures several times on one trip) and that the personal computer was going through a similar nascence, at the end of which, he figured, "All you'll need to know about your computer is what color you want."

Well, we're not there yet, are we?

If you're worried about new technologies, what about people who actually work in new technologies?

This morning I interviewed a succession of people attending this year's Pacific Telecommunications Council annual conference, underway through Wednesday at Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Stephen Ho, CEO of Hong Kong-based CITIC Telecom and a former PTC president, said computer security is a big concern for industry players and their customers. But it's also an opportunity, he said, and many companies are seeing their sales soar in this area.

Andrew Baird, head of marketing, colocation and connectivity for Digital Realty, said it's an opportunity for operators of data centers, like his company, which also sees an opportunity in cloud computing because "the cloud" isn't above you in the sky, it's the connected legion of computing power in data centers around the globe.

Paul Krueger, vice president for business sales and product marketing for Hawaiian Telcom, says the pathway to profits for the local telephone company was to offset the twilight of copper wire landlines by selling programming like the cable company, provide broadband access over new fiberoptic lines, and sell businesses the service of monitoring their computer networks, from the nerve center Hawaiian Telcom already had to watch its own systems.

Margaret Dawson, who does global product marketing for the open-source solutions company Red Hat, said everybody is thinking like that now. Every telecoms company wants to be a cloud computing company now, she said, and a cable company, and an Internet service provider.

Sophie-Ann Terrisse-Flagg of the consulting firm 26-Five, hired by PTC, introduced new technologies to the enterprise that exists to encourage new telecoms technologies. By giving attendees electronic cards that network with each other, she and her firm provided the conference with something sold for the 2,000+ official attendees that isn't available to thousands of others staying at other hotels and lurking near their customers, prospective customers and alliance partners in Waikiki this week.

Joe Weinman, a PTC advisory council member and the author of "Cloudonomics" and "Digital Disciplines," says all this is happening faster and faster – in his latest book he refers to "accelerated innovation" – and people had better get used to it.

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