|Topic:||It’s not about the technology, it’s about the individual|
|Author:||Edward J. Zander|
|Title:||Chairman and Chief Executive Officer|
Edward J. Zander is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Motorola. Prior to joining Motorola, Mr Zander was a Managing Director of Silver Lake Partners, a leading private equity fund focused on investments in technology industries. Before that, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Sun Microsystems, having first served as President of Sun’s software group. Prior to Sun, Mr Zander held senior positions at Apollo Computer and Data General. An active member of the civic and business communities, Mr Zander serves on the Board of Directors of several professional, educational and non-profit organisations. Local business organisations include The Economics Club of Chicago, The Executive Club of Chicago and the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago. He serves as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the School of Management at Boston University, Presidential Advisor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and served on the board of directors for the Jason Foundation for Education. Edward J. Zander holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University.
Information and Communication Technology drives growth and provides the infrastructure for development. Yet today, half the world’s population does not have even a simple telephone. That is why the UN’s World Summit on the Information Society, aimed at bringing the benefits of the Information Society to all, is so important. Industry programs, such as the GSM Association’s Connect the Unconnected initiative, which provides inexpensive mobile phones to people in less developed countries, also play an important role building the Information Society.
Today’s world is the connected world. We now live in an era of constant communication, where we can see and speak to people around the globe, wherever we are, wherever they are. We employ a vast array of communications technologies for business, for education, for health, for transport, for public safety. No area of our lives remains untouched. There are around three billion fixed and wireless connections worldwide. All potential access points for the unlimited wealth that is knowledge. Today’s technologies are enablers, catalysts, fuels for development, and tools for learning, providing the infrastructure on which societies develop and flourish. Still, we are in an unequal state. Some of the world’s population have an ‘access all areas’ pass to the Information Society. The Internet and mobile communications are integral parts of their lives. They have grown up with the PC, the PDA and the iPod. They clamour for cool content on their clamshell phones, spending the equivalent of someone else’s annual income on text messaging. At the enterprise level, some businesses do not bother with fixed connections any more, either for voice or data. They work 100 per cent wireless – voice, email and Worldwide Web. Schools, colleges and universities teach, advise and link their students electronically. Yet many people, over half the world’s population, in fact, do not have access to even the most basic connectivity. That simple fact underlines the point of UN’s World Summit on the Information Society. It is the reason we must continue to enable the spread of the Information Society, because the one factor that is consistent across communities and cultures is the human desire to improve the way we live our lives. Aspirations are not bounded by wealth or accessibility; they are rooted in the human belief in the power of infinite possibilities. Increasingly, achieving these aspirations is underpinned by the evolution of technology. The levels of the resources committed to creating a global Information Society have never been higher, and with good reason. The opportunities that will be created by closing the digital divide are immeasurable. As this Summit enters its second phase, there has never been a more crucial time to focus our efforts on achieving the goal of the ITU Constitution, to extend the benefits of the new communication technologies to all the world’s inhabitants. And how this new world is already exploiting technology’s capabilities! Those ‘developed markets’ that have worked their way through, and been driven by generations of technological evolution, look on with envy as the emerging markets seize and manipulate the latest technological advances to suit their needs. We are witnessing a turning point for technology. No longer will it drive us – each individual now wants control of his or her own personal communications world. Yesterday’s science fiction has become today’s science fact. The statistics around this new world make arresting reading. For example, in South Korea, 73 per cent of homes have broadband. Koreans can watch TV on their mobile, the ‘fourth screen’, for as little as US$14 a month. China already has the world’s largest mobile phone user base. By 2007, China should overtake the US in terms of homes connected to broadband. Between them, China and India graduate 500,000 engineers each year, compared to 60,000 in the US. India expects to boost the number of Internet users from 4 million in 2004 to 40 million by 2019, along with a hundred-fold increase in the broadband user base, to 20 million. Sales of mobile devices in Russia rose 55 per cent last year, and are expected to grow by 62 per cent in this one. These are massive markets, ready and willing to make technology work for them, but none of this is possible without a clear vision of the future. Motorola has been one of the leaders in creating the global Information Society. Our knowledge and worldwide presence enable us to invent, develop, build and leverage technologies to create products and services that bring benefits to people everywhere. Our vision for the future is one of seamless mobility. It is a future where communication is not about the device, or about the technology. It is all about the individual. As we say, ‘you do not want to figure out the technology, you want the technology to figure you out,’ whoever you are, wherever you live. Seamless mobility provides access to what people value most: communication, information, education, entertainment. This seamless mobility can be simple, or it can be complex. It will deliver whatever you want it to. The fact is that we are putting our vision into practice around the world, most recently with the GSM Association’s work to Connect the Unconnected, an initiative that has achieved widespread support and acclaim. Its aim is to leverage wireless technology to bring communications within reach of the millions who have never made a telephone call – to whom seamless mobility will simply be the ability to communicate. Motorola is proud to be the only vendor selected for this initiative and has developed a range of low cost handsets for these emerging markets to catalyse mobile penetration. The programme is now successfully under way. During the first phase, our handsets were distributed through ten participating operators in over 17 countries, including India, South Africa, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Yemen, Sri Lanka and Kenya, with a total population of more than 1.8 billion people. The ITU describes this World Summit as a Summit of Solutions, offering the means to realize many of the world’s aspirations. Today, those of us leading the development of tomorrow’s technologies are in a better position than ever before to deliver those solutions and to make a real difference. Technology is a tool – we must ensure it is put to work for the benefit of all – seamlessly.