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Notes on tech

Notes on technology, business, enterpreneurship, economy, markets along with interesting general tidbits.


Riding the fifth wave

6/29/2005 09:59:00 AM, posted by anand

The lastest issue of Business 2.0 magazine has a cover story on how cheap computing, infinite bandwidth and open standards are going to start the fifth wave in the tech world, and how it is going to change the landscape.

Now comes computing's fifth wave. It's different from the sea changes that came before it. For the first time, the shift isn't driven primarily by a single piece of hardware or by how corporations deploy it. Instead, it results from the unprecedented coalescence of three powerful technological forces: cheap and ubiquitous computing devices, from PCs to cell phones to tiny but potent systems that are beginning to show up in everything from bedroom lamps to key chains; low-cost and omnipresent bandwidth; and open standards -- not just Linux source code but the opening of other software as well as corporate databases. The fifth wave puts computing everywhere. It offers access to limitless amounts of information, services, and entertainment. All the time. Everywhere.

The open-source movement has created a global tinkerer's workshop, where thousands of creative minds are constantly cobbling together code that entrepreneurs and even established businesses can cannibalize, free of charge, for parts to build new software systems.

People tend to think of Amazon as an online store, but it can also be viewed simply as a software platform for delivering a service over the Web. Its interface is customizable down to the individual user, it learns about customers' preferences, and it scales from one person to millions almost effortlessly. Ritter believes all software will soon function that way.

Over the long haul, one of the most important implications of the fifth wave is that it could create a more level playing field than the tech industry has seen in many years. The old titans may still do well. But many experts believe that the sheer number of opportunities, the cheapness of basic technological components, and the ever lower barriers to entry for many new niches could ring in a golden era for entrepreneurs and upstarts.
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