The Internet will continue to grow as the vehicle for delivering new and ever more sophisticated business solutions. But for the time being, many firms in the high-tech industry are in a race for their very survival, said Cisco CEO and Chairman John Chambers in his Comdex keynote address before a surprisingly half-empty ballroom at Comdex.
Survival, Chambers said depends on the high-tech sector's ability to develop innovative and creative new ways to meet the needs and demands of the consumer. "Like any race, this one is measured by the end-results. Those results are about profits, cash flow and productivity and they will determine the winners and losers on a global basis. It's about going back to basics in many ways."
Chambers said the key factor in achieving success will be new Internet use applications. "Applications will change the way we work, live and play. It's wave after wave of applications across a company, across a function within a company, within departments and down to the individual desktops that are the key."
A second critical requirement is the speed with which applications can be delivered. Although much of the computer networking industry is suffering from the unwillingness or inability of telecommunications firms to invest in new high-broadband networking infrastructure, speed is an essential element that companies must be concerned with if they're going to survive and flourish.
After a promising start, the United States has fallen behind Europe and other regions in the implementation of broadband solutions. "The United States is lagging in broadband usage and deployment, which is now being led by Japan and Germany. America led the way for broadband in the last decade, but we're now in danger of falling into last place."
Chambers devoted part of his presentation to an impressive live demonstration of how various technologies can be integrated to provide people with compelling new ways to do things including using a PDA to remotely open a car door and turn on the heater remotely. Chambers also demonstrated that with wireless connectivity, one could make a phone call from anywhere, at any time, to anywhere. As an example, he received a call from Intel Chairman Andy Grove on his PDA.