Magazine article Business Asia

Vive le It Revolution

Magazine article Business Asia

Vive le It Revolution

Article excerpt

So you think the communications industry is moving quickly. MIKE BUTCHER(*) reckons the pace is about to slip up a gear

THE CHANGES taking place in the communications industry are truly revolutionary -- and Asia is at the heart of much of the coming expansion of wired and wireless networks.

When we look at the internet we can see the true magnitude of the changes ahead. Asia, excluding Japan, will have around 150 million users in 2002, up from about 40 million today.

The internet is the key to the communications revolution, but it extends well beyond the `net to incorporate change in optical, wireless and next-generation data networking. It encompasses broadband access, intelligent buildings and networked appliances and advances in silicon, software and services.

The revolution is about communications networking -- a vision of how communities, communications and commerce come together in the new, networked economy.

This new economy is already causing a shift in the value of communications services. Today, communications' consumers are concerned with time, distance and bandwidth. The value of tomorrow's network will be in the content it carries. And as the number of users increases and the scale of inter-connection rises, the economic benefit of the network grows exponentially.

Governments are increasingly deregulating key industries and opening their markets to competition. Through the internet, consumers are gaining easy and immediate access to information about prices and relative product performance. They are better informed and more demanding.

And while the constraints of geography and time have not disappeared, they are becoming less important as e-business and e-commerce practices become more widely accepted.

Similarly, suppliers may happily contemplate a market without borders or closing hours where physical location no longer confines their growth potential. But nor will it be possible in the future to mistake captive customers for loyal customers.

This results in an intense increase in the level of competition. Regardless of industry or market, businesses are facing new global and regional competitors in a climate of deregulation and privatisation.

Two factors are amplifying these trends: disruptive technologies and telecoms deregulation.

Telecoms and IT technology are bringing about unprecedented price-performance gains in highly compact timeframes. With enormous gains in smaller timeframes, these developments cause massive disruption in the marketplace.

Advances in silicon, optics and wireless are expanding network capacity beyond all expectations and impacting the business strategies, technology adoption plans and forecasts of companies in all spheres. …

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