Curtis Jones is Director for Infrastructure
Architecture at SRA. SRA is an information technology firm that offers
consulting and systems integration services, as well as products and business
solutions. Mr. Jones provides us with a unique perspective on the computer
world we live and work in everyday.
What do you think is the most important component
of the computer industry today?
Establishment and adherence to standards whether they be
internet communication, messaging, directory services, or security for
all new product development. Use of standards provides for a common foundation
upon which enterprise architectures can be developed which utilize best-in-class
products regardless of vendor.
If you could choose one important innovation for
the future surrounding computers, what would it be?
Integration into mainstream use of voice recognition/response
technologies. I see widespread use of these technologies on the desktop
platforms as the next breakthrough innovation to expanded use of computer
technology by non-technical, computer-naive individuals. I also see a high
demand for these technologies in hand-held devices, PDAs, and work environments
where the individual has little or no ability to utilize tranditional manual
input devices such as a keyboard, mouse, or other pointing device.
What do you think is the most revolutionary invention
for the computer industry?
I think that the introduction of a graphical user interface
as pioneered by Xerox in Palo Alto has had the most profound and widespread
impact on the largest number of people. It was a necessary and enabling
technology for widespread computer use by non-technical individuals as
well as a foundation technology necessary for the success of the Internet.
How do you see yourself involved in the computer
My current role is one where I assess and analyze technology
trends to determine how they can support the business needs of the corporation.
Part of my role is to solicit the needs of the corporation, match those
needs with appropriate technologies, and develop a strategic plan for implementation
within cost and process constraints.
What do you think is the most important trend
to watch in the development of computers?
The continued development and evolution of hand-held devices
and PDAs as more functionality and connectivity capabilities are added
to devices which are utilized outside the traditional office environment.
This supports the movement toward more remote users and capabilities which
are applied at the point where they are needed rather than being constrained
to an office/desktop environment.
What is your favorite aspect of today's technology?
The fact that applying technology effectively drives the
cost of ownership and the cost to purchase down, therefore enabling continued
investment in technology, yielding ever more cost-effective solutions.
Do you credit anyone in particular for leading
the computer industry to where it is today?
No single individual. Several people have certainly had
a significant role in either business or technical areas (Watson from IBM,
Jobes from Apple, Gates from Microsoft, Cray from Cray Computers, Moore
Who do you think will be the prominent figures
in the computer industry in the future?
I don't believe it will be anyone from what has been the
traditional computer industry (hardware platforms, networks, semiconductors)
as these groups will soon be viewed in the same way we view electrical
utilities, providing a product/service that is widely available at commodity
pricing with a limited number of vendors. The prominent figures will
come from those companies which own the information/data, who can interpret
and discern new information from historical data, and who can influence
the decision-making process within corporations.
What would you refer to as the first "computer"?