pbn_logo.gif (6296 bytes)


Hawaii Techies Take a Look
at the Latest Developments

(Part 2 of 2)

By Shakil Ahmed

In our last column we explored some of the hottest new developments in business computing including Broadband Technology and Voice Recognition. This week we'll continue our walk into the future and examine some other technologies that will affect the way we do business in Hawaii. This will include Thin Screens, Internet Faxing, and the Internet as a Universal Network. In addition to my own thoughts in these trends I've added some comments from the best and brightest local technologists in Hawaii as well.

Thin Screens are In

As I mentioned in a computer buyer's guide column we did a few weeks ago, flat panel displays are starting to appear on people's desks here in Hawaii and on the mainland. (If you follow the industry at all you've probably seen those cool flat-panel displays down at CompUSA or some of the other computer stores). Not only are the new flat-panel units very crisp and easy to look at, they take up a lot less room that today's cumbersome, computer monitors. Like everything else in this industry, prices will drop, quality will improve and these will become standard in the office. I believe that in just a few years, we'll have replaced the old monitors with 36-inch display units that can be hung from your office wall.

Steve De Mesa, an imaging specialist at Servco Integrated Office Technology, also predicted that large screen displays will become part of the Hawaii office scene. "It will make life a lot easier for us," said DeMesa. "For example, in a document image-enabled operation, by utilizing the larger displays, user can greatly enhance and improve image display that will help easily identify errors in quality control and document management environments."

The good news is that it's only going to get better in terms of cost of bandwidth and availability. According to Mike Meyer, founder of Wave Internet, a Honolulu based e-commerce marketing company, "Broadband Internet connectivity is essential for business already and is increasingly important for many residential users. The rapid expansion of broadband access at monthly rates equivalent to the average family's cable TV bill is a driving force in the growth of e-business and the new economy. As a result the perceived cost of broadband access continues to shrink in comparison to the value of high speed connectivity to the Internet economy."

Ditch the Old Fax Machine

Internet-ready fax machines can be purchased today and already, some web sites allow you to send a fax anywhere in this country for the price of a local phone call. There are also web sites, such as www.faxaway.com, that provide this service without even using a fax machine. Some are free and some charge a minimal fee. In addition to sending faxes for virtually no cost you can also receive faxes via email rather than depending on an old fashioned machine. Locally, there is at least one firm, Pacific Interactive, that is doing just this-allowing you to receive faxes over the Net. This means even if you are on the road you can receive faxes on your laptop and there's no paper to deal with.

"Internet Faxing and receiving services are growing in leaps and bounds", said Earl Ford, founder of Pacific Interactive. "There are tremendous advantages to this technology--the most obvious being that you can save money because you don't have to purchase dedicated extra phone line from Hawaiian Tel. You can also be anywhere in the world and receive a fax. One of my clients was actually on vacation in Moorea in French Polynesia a few weeks ago and he received an important fax from one of his clients on his laptop. His office didn't have to chase him down and he was able to take care of business with just one phone call."

The Universal Network

Whether you realize it or not, networks are expanding to include more than just computers. In fact the dream of some futurists is to think of the Internet as the world's central nervous system with every imaginable device attached to it. Thus, as with Internet-enabled fax machines, many office products could be "wired" to the Net. Already computer networks allow technicians to peek inside your box and diagnose any problems that exist. In the same vein, if your Net-enabled copier goes on the blink, a service technician from around the block or on the mainland can "call" the machine and diagnose the problem without ever setting foot in your office. Likewise, if you forgot to turn on the alarm system in your office or didn't remember to turn off the lights you can remedy the situation simply by logging onto the Net when you get home. How is this technology going to affect doing business in Hawaii?

"It's hard for people to see at this point in time," said Rich Halverson, former UH Computer Science Professor and founder of GuideNet, a Honolulu technology company, "but the Internet will connect a lot more than simply computers. I like the analogy of the Internet as the world's central nervous system. The Net is literally going to tie together every household appliance from your refrigerator to your VCR-not to mention every electronic device in your office. Everything will be accessible on the Internet and various systems can be analyzed and monitored 24/7. That means if something breaks down you'll be able to diagnose the problem on the fly. This kind of remote sensing and monitoring has tremendous repercussions for a state like ours, which is so incredibly isolated. We'll be able to work smarter and more effectively from anywhere in the state and won't be so tied down to cities. So long as we're connected to the Internet we will be totally 'wired' to the system."

Shakil Ahmed is the founder of PDC Systems, a Honolulu computer and networking company established in 1991. Questions or comments should be addressed to askshak@pdcsystems.com

Pacific Business News - April 28, 2000

ruler3.gif (618 bytes)
Home / About Pac-Tech / PR Services / Clients / Clips--Hawaii--National