It led to the proliferation of new applications which were no longer limited to enterprise-related activities but digitized almost any activity in our lives.
March 1989: Tim Berners-Lee circulated “Information management: A proposal” at CERN in which he outlined a global hypertext system.
[Note: if round numbers are your passion, you may opt—without changing the substance of this condensed history—for the ENIAC proposal of April 1943, Ethernet in 1973, and CERN making the World Wide Web available to the world free of charge in April 1993, so that 2013 marks the 70 Why bother at all to look back?
The cloud—a new way to deliver IT, big data—a new attitude towards data and its potential value, and The Internet of Things—connecting billions of monitoring and measurement devices quantifying everything, combine to sketch for us the future of IT.
See also A Very Short History of Data Science and A Very Short History of Big Data If you were asked to name the top three events in the history of computer technology (or the history of what came to be known as the IT industry), which ones would you choose?
Computer networks (and their “killer app,” email) made the entire process digital, ensuring the proliferation of the message, drastically increasing the amount of data created, stored, moved, and consumed.
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Connecting people in a vast and distributed network of computers not only increased the amount of data generated but also led to numerous new ways of getting value out of it, unleashing many new enterprise applications and a new passion for “data mining.” This in turn changed the nature of competition and gave rise to new “horizontal” players, focused on one IT component as opposed to the vertically integrated, “end-to-end solution” business model that has dominated the industry until then.Veblen was also one of the two original faculty (with Einstein) in the Institute for Advanced Study.And Veblen also is remembered fondly on campus for his key stand in 1925 defending an astrophysics professor interested in doing research in the wake of Einstein’s propositions.The work memo I typed on a typewriter which became a digital document sent across the enterprise and beyond now became my life journal which I could with others, including people on the other side of the globe I have never met.While computer networks took IT from the accounting department to all corners of the enterprise, the World Wide Web took IT to all corners of the globe, connecting millions of people.But to make educated guesses about the future of the IT industry, it helps to understand its past.Here I depart from most commentators who, if they talk at all about the industry’s past, divide it into hardware-defined “eras,” usually labeled “mainframes,” “PCs,” “Internet,” and “Post-PC.” Another way of looking at the evolution of IT is to focus on the specific contributions of technological inventions and advances to the industry’s key growth driver: digitization and the resulting growth in the amount of digital data created, shared, and consumed.His victory helped to reshape the institution away from a focus on teaching toward sabbaticals and primary research.But Veblen’s most important contribution to the topic at hand stemmed from his work and interest in ballistics.And just as in the previous phase, a bunch of new players emerged, all of them born on the Web, all of them regarding “IT” not as specific function responsible for running the infrastructure but as the essence of their business, data and its analysis becoming their competitive edge.We are probably going to see soon—and maybe already are experiencing—a new phase in the evolution of IT and a new quantitative and qualitative leap in the growth of data.