For the lunch speech at yesterday’s NCTC Winter Educational Conference, Steve Collier, VP of business development with Milsoft Utility Solutions, entertained and frightened attendees with his assessment of where communications technology is going.

The bottom line, according to Collier: It’s critical to have someone between the ages of 14-25 keeping top management up to speed with technological advancements.

He said kids that have grown up with computer technology are the only group able to fully grasp it.

Collier’s daughter equates her ability to intuitively work with electronic devices as “twisting the magic wand” like Harry Potter.

It’s the law

The rapid changes in technology are the logical progression of things based on several laws or theories:

Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on chips doubles every two years.

Metcalfe’s Law says that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system.

George Gilder says there will always be enough bandwidth because although there are more devices to serve, the bandwidth itself is delivered with devices.

Ray Kurzweil says there is a law of accelerating returns. Computers are employed to design chips with increased power, and chips, in turn, are used to power computers.

What all this means is that technology is changing at an exponential pace, and the parts are getting faster and smaller.

Forget DRM

“It’s nirvana from a consumer’s point of view,” Collier said. There are applications and technologies for which traditional providers have no clue.

For example, there’s a game in the cloud—World of Warcraft—that he described as “a massively multi-player online game” in which more than 50 million people worldwide are members.

“Young people in India, understand the cloud better than we do, and we’re the underpinnings of the cloud,” he said.

And while traditional media plods along, fussing over “authentication” of subscribers for online video, young people use the Internet as “a gigantic DVR,” he said. And “DRM isn’t even on their radar.”

“People want to do stuff with content that isn’t consistent with our business model,” he said. “Are they going to be able to do it? Yes, because of the cloud.”

The logical end to Moore’s Law and the other theories is infinite capacity, all digital, all IP.

“There’s going to have to be some new models,” he said. “You have got to have a kid in your inner circle.”

(Ed note: The final sesson of the NCTC conference included a ‘next-gen’ user. Click here for story.)

– Linda Hardesty

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