Tuesday, 4 September 2007

My Top

My ICT Leaders speech for the Prince's Trust tonight - see post below - is entitled Power to the People. It's basic premise is that whereas in the first 20 years of my 40 year 'career' in ICT, 'Corporate IT' was firmly in control and responsible for all the new innovations, in the last 20 years the user/consumer has taken control. Indeed to the point where what the user/consumer does today will be adopted by corporate IT tomorrow. Of course, Corporate IT will try to "Ban it" at first - as they did with every new innovation over the last 20 years from mobile phones, GUIs, use of the internet, Google search, laptops, mobile access etc.

But 'Resistance is Futile'!

Tonight's speech homes in on Web 2.0 and Social Networking (eg Facebook) in particular and goes through the reasons why I agree with John Chambers (CEO of Cisco) that "The introduction of consumer-driven Web 2.0 technologies into businesses is set to usher in a new phase of productivity growth that could surpass that achieved during the late-1990s internet boom". Source - FT 15th July 07.

In my "State of the ICT Nation" speech back four years ago, I upset Microsoft with my "I used to drive a Microsoft. Now I fly a Google" speech. If you remember it was all about how the 'Desktop' had been replaced by the 'Webtop' and, whereas Microsoft "owned" my desktop, Google very clearly owned my Webtop. Indeed, if I look at my screen right now, Google still does! Everything I am doing from the 'look and feel' of the screen layout itself, to writing my Blogspot, to my RSS feeds, to my Desktop searches and application and document launches are all Google-powered. I am not alone. 88% of UK internet users use Google everyday.

But it is all about to change. The Webtop is being replaced by, for want of a better term, the "My Top". I am not suggesting for one moment that Facebook will become "My Top" (indeed there are many flaws in the Facebook application) but it is a good start in describing what I mean.

I see 'My Top' as My Identity which puts me firmly in control. I log in and fire up My Top - something I can do on "Any Device, Any Where, Any Time " (Holway's ultimate Martini Moment!) It gives me access to my friends, my family, my business contacts, my company colleagues etc. It gives me access to my own Knowledge Centre. It gives me access to all my documents, applications and key external stuff like my bank or where I shop. It is (scary I know!) ME. (That's the ME that is a Father, Grandfather, gardener, lake fell walker, chairman of various companies, IT analyst, tax payer, member of various societies, clubs and networks...I could go on. The point being that I exist separately in cyberspace for all these - and more - and that is daft as well as being highly unproductive. )

My Top exists in cyberspace, not on any specific device, and follows me around wherever I go - on my mobile, on my PC, on the TV. For that reason it is going to need some much better security than I have at the moment - fingerprint access or whatever. And, of course, it is going to need super fast, always on, anywhere-type mobile connectivity to work absolutely as I want.

The race to own the My Top is just starting. The prize is HUGE. A much bigger prize than that currently held by Google. It will change the face of computing and everything connected with it. To say it is the 'Next Big Thing' is to underestimate its size and implications.

But, if past reactions are anything to go by, the audience will initially be sceptical. Indeed, downright critical to the point of questioning Holway's sanity - again! So why do they keep coming back to hear Holway talk this seeming 'nonsense'?

Anyway, I confidently predict that by the end of this decade the My Top will be as common place as the Webtop is today or GUI Desktop was in the 1990s.

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