[AfrICANN-discuss] Cerf's up: economic future tied to growth of ‘internet of things’

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Fri Apr 27 18:16:11 SAST 2012

Cerf's up: economic future tied to growth of ‘internet of things’


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One of the internet’s founding fathers Vint Cerf, who co-invented TCP/IP
technology – the platform upon which the internet runs – said that by the
end of the decade every person and machine on the planet could conceivably
be internet-connected. This means more economic opportunities will arise
for IT-skilled economies, as the cost of internet-enabling anything falls.

Cerf <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vint_Cerf>, vice-president and chief
internet evangelist at Google, who was in Dublin today to address Google
staff, said he was impressed at how a country like Ireland made the right
policy decisions over a number of decades to develop its ICT economy.

“I'm very impressed at how over the last few decades Ireland concentrated
its belief in ICT in order to build up a new kind of business base," said
Cerf, who was instrumental in creating the internet as we know it by
helping develop TCP/IP while a programme manager at DARPA.

“Your policies encouraged outside investment. Long-term planning showed the
ability to develop markets not strictly domestic."

Cerf said he recalled the early days of the international services
industries in Ireland when companies would actually mail physical credit
card receipts.

“But Ireland showed the ability to go after the bigger jobs, built up its
skills base and attracted international businesses.

“You came to the table with a lot of thoughtful effort to prepare your
country for the IT space."
Light at the end of the tunnel

Cerf acknowledged that Ireland suffered the same disease as the US - the
property bubble and subsequent economic collapse. "In the US, the light at
the end of the tunnel hasn't produced the jobs we hoped. It's been a
jobless recovery so far. That is going to change and I have a feeling of
optimism about the perverse effect that technology has, that it is not just

“The internet is as good an example as anything that has evolved over time
and is continuously rolling out new kinds of apps.

“Every time you do something with software, you have to break it.

“In that sense, the more IT activity you can undertake gives you the
opportunity to be helpful to other people."

Cerf expressed his belief that there is a long-term growth prospect for the
IT industry.

“The key is to grow your IT skills base. There are going to be new
possibilities and new problems to solve, it's not going to stop.

“I'm optimistic about that segment of IT activity - in the UK, the IT
economy is over 7pc of their economy - that, frankly, surprised me. And
that growth is continuing.

“Every year, there is a 15pc growth in the number of people and machines
and by the end of the decade everyone on the planet could be on the

“This is going to expand. Look at the apps economy - 'hey, there's an app
for that' - and it's going to go beyond mobile, every machine can be
connected to the internet. Ally that with cloud, it's a confluence of the

“This is making it possible for more people than ever to write apps and
this is going to expand to other machines - you've heard of the internet of

“The cost of internet-enabling anything is dropping dramatically. It costs
50 cents to internet-enable a light bulb. This isn't a crazy idea - once
you put something on the internet you make it controllable. The more
devices connected to the internet, the more opportunities.

“That means there's a raft of potential waiting to penetrate the IT space."
Check out our video interview with Google's Vint Cerf here:
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