It won't be long before cyberspace will become a warm, personal place that we all take for granted. At least, that's the vision of Carly Fiorina, chief executive of Hewlett-Packard (HP), one of the biggest forces in the personal computing world.
Fiorina delivered her vision for the new Net economy -- and how 60-year-old HP fits into it -- at the E-Services World in Paris on Monday. She emphasised how HP plans to reinvent itself to keep ahead of the leagues of young, brash upstarts emerging from the e-commerce boom.
An emerging class of online services -- what HP terms E-Services -- will put control of all kinds of transactions at consumers' fingertips, transforming the Internet environment, Fiorina predicts. In this next generation, "the customers control how the Net affects their lives. It will make the Net not cyberspace, not some cold, impersonal place, but warm... and friendly."
The IT economy is shifting away from discrete hardware, network and services segments toward the intersection of all three, Fiorina believes -- devices "wrapped" in services, connected to an always-on network. Devices such as mobile phones, dashboard systems and watches will all soon be connected to the Internet, offering a wide variety of transactions, while at the same time making the network as transparent as the telephone system is today, she said.
HP sees itself as existing in the crossroads of network infrastructure. "Information appliances", such as mobile phones and online services, will give it a rare opportunity to innovate, Fiorina said. "If we look at where those three intersect... we can shape the next phase of the economy and thrive in it."
Fiorina also outlined the culture of "inventiveness" HP is trying to foster internally and among its partners. The various applications of how E-Services might make their way into consumers' everyday lives will be the future for the Net economy, and HP is betting it will be the future for the company as well. "E-Services is not just a vision or strategy for us as we move into new markets," Fiorina said. "It is an opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves."