Keeping Net Gear in Sync With Economy

"Turn down your AC from high to medium, or rolling blackouts start in 10 minutes."

"Turn down your AC from high to medium, or rolling blackouts start in 10 minutes." That seems the type of message that would be worthy of your attention. And that is the type of content that will create a pur-pose for all the network gear I saw while wandering the aisles of the NetWorld+Interop show in Las Vegas last week. While walking among all those wireless devices, optical switches, routers and big data pipes, I couldnt help but wonder what content will drive the pur-chase and deployment of all that equipment.

The idea that content has to drive technology design is not new. But now you are starting to see content needs synchronized to the economy and delivered on a class of devices that did not previously exist. A good example is provided by Dennis Callaghan in this weeks issue. In one case, a hosted alert system was designed to notify California utility users when the power grid is reaching capacity. The result could be a way to avoid the rolling blackouts that make California look like some backwater coun-try. In another instance, an alert system allows airlines to alert and rebook customers before they see the long lines at the airport counter. This system will help me avoid too many hours killing time at the air-port Taco Bell.

Developing these alert systems makes great sense, and they are fine ex-amples of the infrastructure integration of databases, networks and re-sponse systems that will provide wireless devices with a true business justification.

Once you forget about trying to cram Web pages and goofy ads on wire-less devices and think about what type of message and response system will be good business for me and be welcomed by customers, you can start to see why the wireless world makes sense.

From Japans DoCoMo, weve already seen how wireless messaging used for trivial electronic note passing can create a big business. As of May 6, the number of DoCoMo I-mode subscribers passed 23 million. E-mail, in-stant messaging and wireless messages have shown an endless well of people ready to waste lots of time but generate very limited revenues for companies trying to build a business.

Equating lots of users with lots of potential revenues is a huge mis-take still being learned from the Internet meltdown. I suspect the really successful companies in the next round will not be those follow-ing the DoCoMo model. The more intelligent model of giving a select set of customers exactly the information they need to save themselves time and save your company money provides a business reason for building a wireless infrastructure. And a reason for companies to invest in all that nifty network gear on display in Vegas last week.