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Thirty Years Later the PC Revolution Is Here Again

Individuals are also driving the next PC revolution

Thirty years ago today the IBM Personal Computer was launched igniting a new way of computing that empowered individuals and forever changed the way we work and play. In talking with some of the early pioneers, they knew they were on to something but really had no idea just how impactful the changes would be. It was much more than just an affordable piece of hardware that could run programs. The PC legitimized and demonstrated to the world how individuals equipped with a useful tool could automate a task, eliminate paper, even run a business. No longer were employees limited to what the company MIS ( now known as IT ) department could provide at whatever schedule was dictated. The fact that the PC was also open enough to standardize interoperability, peripherals and third-party applications enabled an ecosystem to develop and scale at an exponential rate.  Aside from pure work MIS tasks, individuals also took PCs home for desktop publishing, educating their kids and early gaming.  A revolution was born.

Now 30 years later we are seeing a new revolution and definition of the PC, again driven by individuals, this time enabled by Mobility and the Cloud.  The new PC can be the "Personal Cloud" provided by online SaaS services like Google Apps and Dropbox for empowering individuals. The new work PC can be a Virtual PC that's hosted and run from a Cloud accessible anywhere. And the PC device can be a NirvanaPhone that fits in your pocket and travels with you everywhere, running micro apps when mobile, or full sized PC apps when plugged into a large display.

Just as years ago when the MIS department had a job to do but faced impatient users who took things into their own hands buying a PC for the department or a power user. The initial impact was huge productivity gains for individuals but a bit of chaos for MIS who initially ignored the phenomena, and then took control once PCs hooked up to networks and became mission critical or a risk for the business. Today's IT faces similar challenges with impatient users who have even more options, like using free Cloud services to get their job done or bringing their own device to work. The BYO and Cloud versions of the "PC" have not yet been endorsed by the majority of today's IT organizations, but the more progressive ones see this revolution coming and are preparing for ways to deal with it securely. Just as the first PC revolution spawned an ecosystem of hardware vendors and ISVs, the next revolution of the PC has already begun.

If you are interested to meet and talk with some of the early pioneers of the PC and Mobile revolution, you're welcome to attend the South Florida Technology Association event on August 25. The venue is the original IBM Boca Raton Campus and there will be working models of the original PCs and Smartphones up through the latest most powerful Alienware PCs and Motorola NirvanaPhones.

Some of the panelists include:

Ed Iacobucci - the founder of Citrix, and the original Microsoft-IBM OS/2 Architect

Patty McHugh -  one of the infamous 12 at IBM that developed the PC. Also known as the "Mother of the Motherboard"

Joe Sarubbi - led development of the IBM XT

Jaime Borras - SVP of research at Motorola who led development of the "PushToTalk" technology and the Nextel phone

Gary Wisgo - led engineering for the "Simon", the industry's first Smartphone a joint development of Bellsouth and IBM

In addition, "Who's Who" in Florida Tech notables will be attending the event and providing a wealth of history and future vision.

More Stories By Chris Fleck

Chris Fleck is Vice President of Emerging Solutions at Citrix Systems. Chris started his career at IBM working across multiple engineering and product organizations leading to Business Unit Exec of the IBM Industrial Computer Group. As a pioneer of new technologies, Chris founded an IBM spin-off to commercialize the initial Server Blade products as CEO of OmniCluster Technologies. At Citrix Chris is responsible for Emerging Solutions and is involved with or leading strategic initiatives at the company. You can follow him on Twitter and his blog at TechInstigator.com

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