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Work with vision.

If you want promotion, look ahead. "Have vision--will travel" might be your motto.

An example of vision is a letter I received recently from a loyal reader and a lifestyle researcher in California. This reader said, "Because telecommunications centers the future on this funny planet, the electronic trends in communication have to be heavy statements in an otherwise acronym maze."

"Out here in California," he continued, "my various associates have long since escaped the big towns, thanks to communications breakthroughs. Some live in California's several mountain systems, some live on uncrowded beaches. One offices near the 'Duke' Wayne airport in Orange County while he works heavily from a beach home in Laguna. Still another maintains a mountain cabin not too many miles removed from Palm Springs."

Do you--do I--really keep those trends in mind when we put together long-range plans for our company, when we talk to senior executives in our companies who are eager for new ideas (whether they realize it or not) and when we contemplate our own futures, our next job change?

Momentous events and forecasts in telecommunications have been printed almost daily this year. On Feb. 25, in the New York Times, a new 64-bit computer chip that can process as many as 400 million instructions a second was announced by Digital Equipment Corp.

On March 18, in the New York Times, a global cellular telephone network was outlined, a "whole-earth phone service."

The March issue of Lightwave magazine highlighted experiments with the integration of optical communications and electronic computing to create opto-electronic processing systems called smart pixels. "Smart pixel switches," the article continued, "used for communication over fiber networks could one day transfer information at speeds in excess of 10 terabits per second."

A terabit is a trillion bits!

On March 23, again in the New York Times, an article discussed picocomputers. Pico is a prefix meaning one-trillionth, and picocomputer is a term "meant to describe machines even smaller than a microcomputer," like palm-size! These computers, the article continued, "are to be sold in a broad variety of retail outlets, including K mart and Toys 'R' Us. They are expected to bring computers within the reach of more users than ever, from schoolchildren to business executives."

On Feb. 18, the Wall Street Journal article titled, "Blurred Borders," illustrated how the "lines are blurring among four huge industries: computers, consumer electronics, communications and entertainment. The relentless spread of digital electronics--converting information, sound, video, text and images into a single stream of ones and zeros that can be decoded by similar electronic hardware--is stepping up competition, forcing strange alliances and undermining once-lucrative businesses."

Along with these technical explosions, we're fortunate, lately, to have attorneys and regulators who are looking ahead, not behind, and trying to anticipate changes rather than prevent them.

On Feb. 10, in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, in an article titled, "Competition Will Change Communications Industry," Pat Herl Longstaff, communications attorney with the law firm of Doherty, Rumble & Butler, said the current political tug-of-war, "could end up something like this: telephone companies sell access to first-run movies; cable companies offer 'telephone' services; broadcasters offer interactive digital communications that look a lot like telephone services; and newspapers are delivered via radio waves or over a line (phone or cable)."

On March 29, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported an interview with Alfred Sikes, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, who is quoted as saying, "One of the things that you quickly learn in this business is a level of humility that essentially says, 'I shouldn't be picking the winners and losers in communications.'"


In the Feb. 18 Wall Street Journal article referred to above, a strategist with Pacific Telesis was quoted, " the end, 'technology is going to obliterate the current regulatory structure.'"

My only comment is, "Why has it taken so long to realize that?'"

Users aren't the only ones who have been without vision. Regulators, attorneys and vendors are equally guilty of a myopic view of the future. The challenge for the telecomm manager is to visualize how these changes, rushing at you at ever increasing speed, will impact your department, your company, your job, you.

How will speeds of 10 trillion bits per second effect your network and network design? Will your customers all have palm-size computers? Are you ready to buy telephone service from TV companies and newspapers from telcos? Are you ready for no regulation in telecomm services?

The decade of the '90s could be the most prosperous in our lifetimes. Are you positioned--are you thinking--with vision?
COPYRIGHT 1992 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Datacomm User; The decade of the 1990s is likely to be prosperous for those who approach it with vision
Author:Blegen, August
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:Column
Date:Jun 1, 1992
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