Opening new roads of opportunities through a global exchange of information"

Home

About Us

Services

Projects

Vision

Strategies

Home

About Us

Services

Projects

Visions

 
 
 

Strategies

Internet

The beginnings

The Internet has its beginnings in the late 1960ís as a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) project to interconnect a series of national computer networks that would continue to function even if portions of the network were destroyed. The success of this type of network proved to be so reliable that other government agencies began to use the same protocols for their networks. By the late 1970ís most large computer networks used by the government, large universities and research centers were all using the same protocols for internetworking. This larger internetwork became the infant Internet.

By the early 1990ís, businesses began to recognize the market potential of this Internet system. In 1995, the Internet was fully privatized and opened to commercial opportunities. About this time, a specific Internet protocol known as the World Wide Web was developed as a means of sharing information in a platform independent manner across Internet networks. With the personal computer becoming more powerful and affordable to families, this combination of the World Wide Web and computer connection to the Internet created an explosive growth in Internet use.

The important thing about the Internet is that it allows the use of a wide variety of communication media, or ways for computers to communicate. It is this wide range of hardware and communications options as well as the universality of the protocols used that has enabled the Internet to spread to almost every part of the planet. The World Wide Web became the application that made the Internet interesting, exciting, easy and fun to use. Over time, improvements in Web technology have made surfing the Internet even more interesting and rewarding.

Today, connecting to the Internet has become a relatively easy process, requiring a telephone line as a minimum connection. With software already found on most computers today, the interface with the Internet is installed with a few key strokes. Once connected, using the basic tools of Internet communication, surfing to anywhere in the world is very easy, and communicating with friends and family can be learned in a very short period of time.

Communication technologies

Man is a social being and as such has always communicated with others of his kind. While speech has always been the primary method of communication, other methods had to be derived in order to communicate when barriers to communication existed. For example, sign language or gestures are used when language is not understood. To communicate over distances, man had to devise other methods of communication and in the early days, these were mainly in the form of smoke, light or sound signals that could be transmitted and seen over distances. Other forms of early communication were the sending of messages via runners or riders. Larger distances could be covered through a relay system.

As modern technology began to develop, transmission of information over vast distances was initially accomplished with telegraph and radio using Morse code, a coding system using a series of dots and dashes (shot and long tones). With further technological advances, voice messages replaced the code system, becoming the telephone and radio broadcasts. Because of the initial high costs of transmission equipment, radio never developed as a viable two-way communication medium, remaining more ideally suited to a broadcast system. On the other hand, with a much lower cost, the telephone became the communication method used by the masses to communicate over distances. Even today, the telephone has remained the primary method of communication over distances and with todayís technologies; cellular telephones combine the features of the telephone with radio to create a wireless communication method.

With the development of television, we were finally able to transmit live pictures across distances. As with radio, the high cost of transmission equipment makes television better suited as a broadcast medium, providing a one way communication method. Television is heralded as a communication medium with a high potential for educating large masses of people, but it essentially remains an entertainment and news delivery media. As technology advanced, the development of the video camera has miniaturized the television studio to a level where anyone can produce a television show. However, transmission equipment costs remain high, so most personal video recordings are limited to personal use on home television sets.

Development of the transistor has been one of the most important technological advances in our history. The transistor signaled the beginning of the integrated chip and the miniaturization of electronic circuits which paves the way for the development of the personal computer. The personal computer was initially developed as a means to provide a low cost alternative of computing resources for individuals instead of having to use the resources of large and expensive main frame computers. Initially, these computers were limited to very basic computational tasks and had only a fractional part of the capabilities of the main frames. Todayís personal computers are many times more powerful than those main frame computers of yesterday. This is in large part to the advances in miniaturization technologies. In fact, computers today are multi-faceted, and multi media capable, with the ability to not only write documents or process spreadsheet calculations, but also able to record and display video.

The computer as a tool for communication became possible with the development of the Internet. The ability for computers to "talk" to each other allows for this network connectivity which then expands into the Internet. This connection then allows us to transfer data from one computer to another, and then to another and so forth. With the ground work laid down by radio, telephone and television, and the multi-media capabilities of the computer, we are now able to transfer sound, data, music, video, etc. across the world, opening new channels of communication and information exchange.

The importance of the Internet in communication

Internet communication has been responsible for more profound changes in our social structures than has any other form of communication we have used before. While television has certainly been responsible for creating changes in society with many of the images it displays, it has not had the same impact as the open and free expression of thought that the Internet allows. It allows us all to not only see the images that impact us, but to also communicate directly with those directly affected.

While the telephone has opened new channels of communications in the world, its connection is primarily one of point to point, or person to person. Certainly a live conversation with someone provides a level of personal connection; those conversations are ephemeral and easily forgotten over time. The telephone excels in communication, but it hardly qualifies as an instrument for the exchange of information.

Radio and television although poorly suited for one on one communication excels in the distribution of information and in communicating to a mass audience. However, because of its limited feedback channels, the distribution of information is not always timely or precise. Information from broadcast sources can also appear to be "controlled" (in many cases they are) and are therefore perceived to be propaganda that serves a specific agenda.

The computer, on the other hand, is a multi-faceted piece of equipment that is capable of doing many things. As a stand alone unit, it is a word processor allowing anyone to create a professional document. It is a high powered calculator which can be used to perform complex mathematical computations instantaneously. It is a drawing board, allowing us to create stunning drawings. It is publishing center where we can create newsletters or newspapers. It is a photo editing shop where we can adjust and crop our pictures. It also is a storage device for all this information accumulated over time. Connected to the Internet, it is all these things and a communication center too.

The cost of a personal computer has become very affordable, or at the very least, access to a computer connected to the Internet is widely available. This makes it possible for just about anyone to connect to the Internet, and using the computer, to publish, write or send information to almost anyplace in the world. At the same time, information from just about anywhere in the world is instantly available with only a few key strokes or clicks of a mouse. Knowledge is no longer limited to a few elite, but now it becomes available to anyone connected with a computer. This is one of the major aspects of social change brought on by the Internet access to information that is pertinent to the individual.

Although what an individual publishes on the Internet is available for anyone to see, it is not a guarantee that it would be seen. However, if the information is appealing to people and it expresses ideas that are common to their beliefs, then that information can easily be copied, transferred and passed around to many people. Sometime it is the expression of some of these ideas that sets off a chain of events that effects the social change that is desperately needed. It is no longer the expressions of the experts that cause the changes, but rather the voice of those most directly affected. With the Internet, we can now move beyond just communication to both communication and information exchange, and this moves us to an exchange of ideas which opens the door to understanding, compassion, collaboration and sharing.

The Internet has a tendency to democratize our communication. This is due in part to the basic philosophy of the pioneers of the Internet who instilled a sense of openness and of freely sharing the information they had. The general culture of the Internet has been in open collaboration for the benefit of society as a whole. The democratization also comes about because the Internet is more about the free expression of ideas rather than who one is as an individual.