RealTime IT News

Get Ready for Blast Off

A bit of history. The year is 1990. My work is publishing technology information for research librarians.

I learn about the Internet at conference from a librarian at the University of Maryland. I get to work immediately and start Internet World as a bi-monthly print newsletter. It starts slow. Less than 200 subscriptions are sold. Then, kaboom! It's 1993, the newsletter goes monthly. It is soon a hot magazine with a paid circulation that grows to 350,000 copies an issue. Meanwhile, I start the trade show Internet World and it becomes the fastest growing tech trade show in history.

Fast forward to today. The Internet is trashed by the same financial press that hyped it from 1995 to 2000. Jokes are made about venture capitalists and IPOs for their investments in the Internet and e-commerce.

But, watch out! History is about to repeat itself with 80211 (WiFi).

80211 is all around us. Hot spots can be found by the thousands now and will soon be ubiquitous. I just completed a trip around the world and found hot spots in the Tokyo airport, my hotel lobby in Sydney and Starbucks in Berlin.

If you are not using this wireless mobile technology yet, you will be within 18 months. Usage will be pervasive, from home use to small office use and right up the ladder throughout the enterprise.

I am more than a casual observer to these developments. I have seen the pulse of this new technology first hand. My company started the only pure editorial property devoted to 80211 developments (80211Planet.com) in the spring of 2001 and its growth in readership and advertising has been terrific. We launched the only trade show focused on this technology (80211 Planet ---next running at the Santa Clara Convention Center on December 3-5). And we created 80211HotSpots.com, a global directory of hot spots.

VC money is now pouring into 80211 ventures. By the end of 2003, a swarm of 80211 IPOs will hit the market and help turn around a depressed NASDAQ. Right now, there are only two pure-play 80211 stocks on the market: Intersil and GRIC (I own shares in GRIC). You can expect to see huge investments by the major technology companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Intel, HP and others.

Buckle-up. The Internet rides again.

Alan Meckler is Chairman and Chief Executive of Jupitermedia Corp. His column will appear monthly on InternetNews.com