Software: An Exponential Economic Opportunity

By H. Randall Goldsmith | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 4, 2001 | Go to article overview

Software: An Exponential Economic Opportunity


H. Randall Goldsmith, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Last week in this column I wrote on exponential economies and why this state's economic future is tied to these types of industries.

One area where we, as a state, can compete effectively and with a minimum amount of capital investment is software. This area is particularly appealing because we can capitalize on existing infrastructure and intellectual capital.

Software realistically is no longer a stand-alone industry. The shrink-wrap software industry has been engulfed by the business services sector where the service companies are taking quantum leaps in their ability to serve clients using state-of-the-art software technology. The product is usually provided online, real time for a subscription, license or frequency utilization fee, but more and more rarely as a direct purchase.

Companies that elect to adopt application service provider strategies with a strong customer service focus in their business models will most likely be the standing survivors when the smoke clears.

Rapid change is characteristic of the software industry and exciting new advances constantly appear on the near horizon. Failure to stay on the leading edge of these developments could mean obsolescence for some Oklahoma companies.

Telecommunications and software industries are inextricably intertwined -- changes in one affect the other.

A few of the new software and telecommunication advancements in development that will have profound impacts on our economy include:

* Natural Language Processing (IBM, Microsoft, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, University of Colorado).

Natural language processing allows people to engage computers in extended conversations through the integration of speech recognition, natural language understanding, world knowledge, reasoning ability and speech generation. Software exists for individual applications for speech recognition, speech generation and understanding spoken questions. Microsoft is developing a technology known as MindNet. MindNet is a massively hyperlinked web of concepts resulting in a conceptual network that ties together all of human understanding in words. In addition, the software will allow computers to communicate with each other in separate languages.

* Microphotonics (MIT, UCLA, Caltech, Nanovation Technologies, Clarendon Photonics).

Microphotonics uses photonic crystals to direct light on a microscopic scale. Photonic crystals are to photons what semiconductors are to electrons, offering an excellent medium for controlling the flow of light -- admitting or reflecting photons depending on their wavelength and the design of the crystal. The resulting ability to make light bend, go straight, split, or come back together in a small space translates into a much faster, all- optical Internet. This optical advancement will pave the way for a new generation of software requiring large amounts of broadband. …

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