NATIONAL GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION
FEBRUARY 27, 2000
© Copyright 2000 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P
All rights reserved. Do not use without written permission from HP.
Good morning. It is a great pleasure to be here with you
I will start by saying that I agree with Mr. Friedman that
we are just at the beginning. The analogy I guess I would
use is: We are at the beginning of an era now where the term
'Cyberspace' has the opportunity to disappear.
Cyberspace to me is a term that implies distance, something
that's alien, something that's cold, something that's threatening,
something that is hard to adapt to.
I think we now have the opportunity with where technology
is going for the Internet, for the information utility, to
become something that is personal, that is warm, that is friendly,
that is intimate, that works for you instead of you working
Now there are of course many threats to a technology that
is that pervasive, that is that ubiquitous, but there are
also great promises in that technology. I would like to talk
about what I think 'convergence' now means and the promise
of this warm, friendly, personal, intimate personalizable
Today I believe there are three vectors of technology that
are coming together, and to understand the full promise of
technology you really have to think about what is happening
at that intersection.
The first vector is what we call e-services. What we mean
by an e-service is we are now entering a time where any asset,
any process, can be turned into a service that is available
via the Net. Any asset. Any process.
And these services, these assets, these processes that can
be made available over the World Wide Web can be dynamically
created, dynamically brokered, dynamically located to create
a community that works for you.
Imagine e-traffic services. I mean let's pick a really mundane
example but the one that's on our mind in California a lot.
Let's imagine an e-traffic service that is tuned to your personal
commute each and every day. It is technologically possible
now, and in fact many of these services are beginning to emerge,
or an e-travel service.
So the first vector of technology that we believe is converging
now are these e-services. Any asset, any process can be turned
into a service over the Web and those services can be dynamically
brokered, dynamically created, dynamically located.
The second vector of technology is around appliances. And
of course the PC is the most obvious information appliance
but it is certainly not the only information appliance.
The cell phone has become an information appliance, not just
a communication device. The huge convergence that's going
on now is between wireless capability and Internet capability,
and cell phones are becoming Internet-enabled devices.
And, yes, fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon your
point of view, it is true that toasters will become connected
to the Web. Why? Because technology now is so small that intelligence,
both computing and storage capability, can be embedded in
anything and everything.
We happen to have a lab in HP. We happen to have an environment
in that lab called Cool Town. What we are doing in that environment
is connecting absolutely everything with its own web page
to absolutely everything else: every person, every place,
every context, every device.
To give you an example of what is possible here, we are--we're
not the only ones, but we believe we are ahead in this regard--we
at HP labs are now working on molecular computing and atomic
storage. That is, computing and storage that is literally
atoms wide and molecules thick.
So you could have, for example, computing or storage capability
in your medicine, perhaps a more uplifting analogy than a
microchip in your toaster.
So e-services combined with appliances, information appliances
that can be almost anything.
And then finally the third vector of technology that's coming
together is an infrastructure that can support billions of
these appliances and trillions and trillions of transactions.
That is why we now call it, along with many others, an 'information
The term 'utility' suggests something that is as ubiquitous
as electricity or water, and frankly as invisible as electricity
Today, let's face it, the World Wide Web is everywhere, but
it doesn't work well everywhere. And electricity and water,
at least in this country, are so reliable, so secure that
we don't think about them until we turn them on and use them.
We pay for what we need, and then we turn them off. That is
the way we believe this information utility, the infrastructure
that supports these services and these appliances is going.
So you have to think about the intersection of those three
things we believe to truly understand the potential of this
So going back to the beginning, my statement and Mr. Friedman's
statement that this is just the beginning, what we are talking
about now is a generation of technology that will not simply
replace old technology with incremental advances in productivity
as we've seen in the last 20 years, but really this information
utility can change in very dramatic ways the way we communicate,
the way we learn, with particular emphasis from our point
of view and I believe from yours as well on our work force
and how we prepare our work forces.
It is almost a clich‚ to say that one of the most pressing
issues facing business leaders today--and I believe it is
one of your most pressing issues as Governors as well--is
how to empower employees to compete in this digital age.
Every corporation, whether it is a dot com or a brick-and-mortar,
or as we now begin to say as these two kinds of companies
come together, they are either clicks-and-mortars or bits-and-mortars,
you pick your analogy, but every company is now dealing with
the fact that technology is fundamental to how a company interacts
with every constituent it has, whether that constituency are
its shareowners, its employees, its suppliers, or its customers.
Again, it is almost a clich‚ now, but technology has become
every CEO's job. It is fundamental to how a company works
It is absolutely true that as the world becomes more networked,
as everything, every place, every person, every context becomes
networked, that does and should empower the individual. And
so access and skills are the key to success.
They are the keys to success for people. They are the keys
to success for companies. They are the keys to success, I
believe, for states and governments and countries.
And you of course as Governors are facing the same challenge
that we as CEOs are. That is, how to empower your constituents
to participate in this new digital economy.
And you know of course that the stakes are very high for
your economies and the quality of life in your states and
for this country, just as the stakes are critically high for
those of us as CEOS. It is about whether we prosper and survive
or whether we fail.
A skilled workforce is how you as Governors attract and retain
businesses and keep your economies vibrant. And the most skilled
workers will drive location decisions and quality of life
is of course a key factor for them.
And you are, as we corporations are, you are competing every
day with other locations the quality and the skill of your
workforce and the quality of life in your state.
Fundamental to all of this of course is education. People
will follow where education reform achieves successful economic
participation we believe.
Now let me come back to a comment that Mr. Friedman made.
Education is critical, and it is how to compete in this new
age. Teachers as well as students need electronic tools. They
need services. They need Internet access, and they need skills.
E-learning can help extend the abilities of teachers to help
students. E-learning can be a developed ecosystem of partners
that can rapidly expand to include additional partners, worldwide
Remember I said at the outset that any asset, any process
can be turned into a service that is available via the Net.
That is as true of education as it is of anything else.
Last month, as an example, I gave a community address at
the Bay Area Council where I shared with an audience a glimpse
of one of the first, we believe, handheld learning appliance.
It was a prototype of an Internet-ready device that could
take children on a worldwide trip if they became bored in
a particular class. It could take children on a worldwide
field trip from a device about the size of a calculator that
was priced at several tens of dollars.
It is an example of turning education into an e-service.
At the same time that education is critical, we must acknowledge
Digital Divide concerns and use education as a means of eliminating
I believe we should shift the debate, frankly, from talking
about the Digital Divide to beginning to talk about what I
would call e-inclusion: How to make sure that everyone is
At HP we are committed to help make this change, as HP has
been committed to education for decades and decades.
E-inclusion is our obligation, but frankly it is also very
good business. We are playing on a worldwide field and we
need everybody to make this work, to succeed, to grow.
It is why HP started an initiative called "Diversity In Education"
about four years ago, and this initiative is focused on improving
math and science education of minority kids. We have recently
granted $4 million to work with four K-16 teams of schools
and a university.
Technology has the power to erase the boundaries of time,
of space, yes perhaps of politics as well, but it certainly
has the power to erase the boundaries of prejudice and bias.
Anybody can play in this new age as long as they have the
skills and the access. For us to remain successful as corporations
and I believe as well as states and as a country, we need
the creativity that springs from diversity and we need everyone
to be able to play.
I believe we have a great challenge in this country because
we are in danger of leaving a generation of kids behind. That
is bad business for us. I believe it is bad politics for you.
The basic infrastructure for commerce and communication have
essentially been built in this country, and now we are starting
to see the promise of all this technology kicking in.
It means that the price of entry is dropping to zero. Anyone
can play. Everyone can participate in this emerging economy.
Technology does level the playing field. It levels the playing
field in business. It levels the playing field in education.
Teachers and students will have new tools to master and to
use. I believe one of your great obligations, one of our great
obligations as well, candidly, in corporate America, is to
help them. Help them use these new tools and master them.
So here is what I would humbly suggest might be three strategic
priorities for each of you as Governors looking to remain
competitive in this new age.
And as I mention these three, I think it is very important
to keep something in mind again that Mr. Friedman said earlier.
Time means something different now. We simply do not have
the time we think we have, whether we are CEOs or whether
we are Governors.
My belief is that in this new economy faster is always better
than slower, and sooner is always better than later. Always.
Always. Always. Because technology has changed what time means
in very dramatic ways.
So the three priorities that I would suggest again:
First and most importantly from my point of view, continue
to make education central to your agenda. Education is at
the heart of everything I believe. You must, we must together
continue to reinvent and re-engineer our education systems
to achieve higher standards of competence and skill. We must
reinvent and re-engineer to develop digital competency because
lacking digital competency is a severe disadvantage. In fact,
it is an insurmountable obstacle going forward. Help your
teachers be competent to use the digital tools that exist.
More are coming to the e-learning space, but teachers must
be able to use these tools if they are to help children gain
the skills and the access they need.
Second, set an example. Make technology central to how you
communicate with your own constituents. Any service, any process
can become an e-service over the Net. Deliver state services
over the Net. Think global. Think borderless. Think interdependent.
Think interconnected. But use the technology to transform
your own government as an example to your constituents and
to your students and to your teachers.
In this environment I believe we will only be able to protect
constituents on the Net by collaborating with other governments.
And in this digital environment borderless open-trade policies
will be critical to plug your states and our Nation into the
And third, foster a climate where the Internet is allowed
to flourish. That means a couple things.
First, it means of course enabling your communities with
access and with infrastructure for everyone.
It means collaborating with industry to apply today's rules
thoughtfully across jurisdictions.
We happen to believe that industry's self-regulation and
credible third-party enforcement is the best model for developing
the necessary trust that private data will be protected and
the consumers will be protected.
Opening international global markets is essential. A flourishing
Internet promotes social and political freedoms, and yes I
believe this is true including in China.
And I also believe on that note that the U.S. must approve
Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China.
So I believe it is incumbent on us as corporations, as CEOs,
and on you as Governors to promote e-inclusion actively and
aggressively to assure that all of your residents find success
in a Century that is now rolling rapidly towards total connection.
I think the technology offers great promise. I think we can
in fact move from a world where Cyberspace is an opportunity
to make millions for some but remains tremendously threatening
and intimidating for many, to a place where technology does
help all of us participate more actively and more democratically.
But it will take I believe a focus on the things that we
have just talked about: education, using the Net to transform
your own governments, and making sure that your state is one
in which the Internet can flourish and e-inclusion is at the
foundation of your politics.
Thank you, very much.
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