A product of IIT, Mumbai, Arun Netravali is the President of the Bell Laboratories, the research and development arm of the Lucent Technologies and a premier high-tech lab in the world. The Bell Labs which celebrates its 75th anniversary and currently has over 25,000 employees located in 20 countries and a budget of almost $4 billion. The Bell Labs has so far produced 27,000 patents (on an average of 4 patents a day) and nine Nobel laureates.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the Technology Innovation and Impact Summit, jointly organized by the CII and Lucent Technologies on 8 June 8 2000 Arun Netravali gazed into the crystal ball to divine seven predictions for the networked future:
A mega-network of networks will enfold the earth in a communication `skin' with ubiquitous connectivity and enormous bandwidth. How? Today we have 58 million km of fibre optic cable laid in the world. In another ten years, we will have 580 million km of fibre covering all corners of the world providing an `always on', unlimited bandwidth connectivity to all corners in the world
By 2010, there will be interconnected devices and the volume of communications between devices will surpass communication among humans. Due to the falling cost of silicon, communications between devices, that will connect seamlessly to the network, will be so cheap that there will be an explosive growth in communications between devices surpassing even human interactions.
Bandwidth will be so cheap that it will be traded as a commodity. No longer will bandwidth be treated as precious. As excess capacity it will be traded and allocated to consumers on demand even for brief periods.
Consumers and businesses will have a vast variety of individualized, custom services written by countless programmers on an open mega-network. Unlike in the PC era, all standards will be open and programmers will be able to provide services unconstrained by the equipment or standard used, estimates Netravali.
Today's Internet will transform into a broadband. Hi-IQNET with natural interfaces, active Web sites, and with software agents to extract desired information via text, voice, images and video. There will be more interaction between the Net and the individual. The Net will be able to understand needs of an individual, his voice and even some of his actions, he observed.
The mega-network or HiIQNet will act as a high level mediator to bring together people and information. All transactions will be made to happen on this mega-network.
A new age of virtuality will transform how people live and work. Telecommuting, telemedicine will be the order of the day, explained the Guru.
- Reported by Saikat Chatterjee in Business Times, The Times of India, New Delhi. Friday, June 9, 2000.
Arun Netravali: Of high places. (NRI Today - http://www.asianindians.com).
Netravali named President of Bell Labs, Stanzione Special Advisor. Bell Labs Innovations in the news. (http://www.bell-labs.com/news/1999/october/26/1.html)
Netravali sees a Networked sphere in ten years / by Saikat Chatterjee. Business Times, The Times of India, New Delhi, Friday, 9June , 2000.
Lucent our leaders. Arun Netravali. (http://www.lucent.com/news/ leaders/ bios/ netravali.html)
IITian becomes Bell Labs cheif / by Suman Guha Mozumder. The Economic Times Online. 29 Oct., 1999. (http://www.economictimes.com/291099/29lead04.htm)
[Adapted by Sunder Singh BG, firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Information Today & Tomorrow, Vol. 19, No. 3, September 2000, p.23