Battling the digital zombies
Communications in public safety and business are more critical than ever.
Communications is digitizing as the world becomes more hazardous. As the United States moves toward war in Iraq and continues the war against terrorism, we know that the oceans no longer protect us from world events. This is a dangerous time to experiment with communications technology.
I come from the world of the Internet and telecommunications. I was the editor-in-chief of Boardwatch Magazine, the now defunct CLEC Magazine and the chairman of ISPCON tradeshow conference. The focus was Internet service providers, small telephone companies and the large companies that provide the Internet backbone, many of which may be shipping their executives to prison soon.
The world of mobile radio communications is much like the Internet world, hopefully with fewer executives bound for stone walls and steel bars.
In the Internet industry and the mobile radio industry, there are end users who want communications technology to work without knowing how it works. There are arguments over scramblers and encryption, government needs for secrecy, yet responsibilities to the public’s right-to-know. There are vendors who try to keep pricing secret — the how-much-you-got folks. There are the problems of legacy networks and integration into emerging digital technologies. There are never-ending questions about interoperability, and the need for standards. And so it goes.
But perhaps, above all, there is the concept of convergence. With the wartime threat to life and the economy, convergence of voice, video and data carries deeper meaning than providing AOL Time Warner, Disney and all the companies they absorbed with new entertainment and marketing venues. Survival is linked to communications more profoundly than ever.
Competing interests of business, education, the entertainment industry and homeland security, put the decisions of the Federal Communications Commission into a new — perhaps frightening — light. Convergence could save lives; technology errors could cost lives. The stakes are high.
That is why I am thrilled to be in the position of editing this magazine. Demystifying communications, technologies, software and protocols is at the core of our mission. Pointing out trends, facilitating debate, searching for the truth and enhancing public safety as well as business opportunities are implicit in that mission. We will not shy from controversy.
But we do not have to be digital zombies without humor or any sense of providing a bit of entertainment. We will make this magazine smart and entertaining, but above anything else, we will make it useful.