The Digital Road to Fame and Glory

Directing the editorial for E-Business Innovators was a trip down memory lane for me. I won't give my age away, but I have to admit that I've seen many of these people arrive on the high-tech scene and present ideas and technologies that have literally blown away the old ways we think about doing business. Today e-business permeates every discussion surrounding the New Economy, and it's due to the efforts of the people that are profiled and highlighted in the pages that follow.

E-business innovators

In the last year, a bevy of technologies have come to fruition that have made our walk along the digital path toward the New Economy much easier.

Although we didn't rank our E-Business Innovators in any particular order, simply listing them alphabetically, the fact that Tim Berners-Lee came first in our lineup is eerily coincidental. XML has had, perhaps, the greatest impact on the melding of business and technology. Its capability of linking these two entities launched hundreds of new companies and made the lives of corporate programmers a lot easier.

But then again, what about James Gosling's Java? And Paul Mockapetris' DNS? And Tim Howes' LDAP? These too had much influence.

In fact, it is hard to tell where the importance of one technology ends and another begins because all these technologies and their respective "parents" have really intertwined. Now corporations have the pleasure of choosing from a menu of technologies that really just add up to making them lots more competitive.

Our hats go off to those included in our E-Business Innovators section. Without their efforts, we would never have gotten this far.

Ones to watch

Predictions are always a rough road to start down, but we attempted the journey in our Ones to Watch section.

Some of the individuals are still somewhat shrouded in the secrecy of their current projects -- Dave Ditzel, for example. Transmeta Corp. has been notoriously secret about its plans in the microprocessor space, but because CEO Ditzel has over 25 years of experience in the field of advanced computing, we can make an educated guess that Transmeta's technology will be hot. The same goes for David Huber. The Corvis Corp. CEO holds 41 U.S. patents in optics technologies, so it's likely we'll see vast improvement in Internet speed.

We can't go wrong betting on Alain Rossmann of Phone.com Inc. and his company's wireless standard, WAP (Wireless Application Protocol). Nor can we lose on a new methodology for software development called extreme programming, or XP, developed by Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham. We're sure that you'll see their names and technologies on a regular basis in the coming years.

Hall of fame

Within the Hall of Fame are the people we now casually mention by name -- folks like Bob Metcalfe, Gordon Moore, Nathan Myhrvold, or Gordon Bell. But take a closer look at some of the people who are included and you may be surprised to recognize the technology but not the associated name.

How about Viennese actress and uber-vamp Hedy Lammar, whose concept of spread-spectrum communication technology was patented in 1942? Or, you may know the Lempel-Ziv algorithm, a data compression algorithm that was the basis for enabling data transmission via the Internet, but you may not know its creators' full names: Abraham Lempel and Jacob Ziv.

More important, each of these individuals was instrumental in laying the groundwork for what we have begun to take for granted: the Internet. In fact, those in the E-Business Innovators and Ones to Watch sections would not have been able to innovate without the technological advances of those in the Hall of Fame.

Choosing the 10 E-Business Innovators we've profiled, deciding on 18 people for the Hall of Fame, and agreeing on six Ones to Watch were not easy tasks for the 10 members of the InfoWorld editorial committee. We had passionate discussions about which people should or should not be included. Ultimately, we did agree, but you may not. Please continue to send your thoughts to me at katherine_bull@infoworld.com.

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