IT'S A WONDERFUL WORLD"Information technology and networking have fundamentally changed the way business is done today," says Carl Redfield '68, senior vice president for manufacturing at Cisco Systems, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet.
A marketing consultant in Taiwan, an engineer in Houston, a financial expert in New York, a manufacturer in Stockholm, and a CEO in Cairo can now work together-with all their plans spread out in front of them-in a world that seems no bigger than grandma's hometown.
"Networked IT has increased productivity and provided us with immense freedom," says Redfield.
"I'm not indispensable. But I know I'd be reluctant to go fishing for fear the folks at work might really need to reach me right away," says Redfield. "Now I can be out on the boat and relax completely because I have my pager right there. (Of course I've learned to keep it in a zip-locked bag. Saltwater can be brutal on pagers!)"
"Motorola's 66 low-Earth orbiting satellites are going to provide communication for anybody anywhere in the world," says Heng.
And Rensselaer alumnus James Crowe '72 is now building a 23,000-mile advanced fiber optic network using internet technology that will change the underlying economics of communications.
Crowe, president and CEO of Level 3 Communications, says his high-capacity, packet-switched, $9 billion network could ultimately cut the cost of voice communications by 90 percent.
"We're bringing the economics of the computer business to the phone business," Crowe says.
But IT is more than communications.
With IT, doctors perform delicate computer-guided brain surgery. Chemists design drugs that may conquer Alzheimer's or AIDS. Scientists explore the landscape of Mars and chart the human genome. School children search the world's greatest libraries. Composers create major symphonies. Artists craft delightful animations.
"At Ford, with all the computational capabilities we have, we essentially design, assemble, and road test the car far before any prototypes or any vehicles are ever built," says Ford Plant Manager James Firlit '78. "It's the IT infrastructure and the IT advancements that make this possible."
IT has indeed changed the way we work and live.
IT'S WHAT YOU KNOW
Folks sometimes say, "It's not what you know, it's who you know."
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