The first message on the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Administration Network) was sent at 10:30pm on October 29, 1969 from UCLA to Stanford University. The initial ARPANET connected 4 locations UCLA, Stanford, USC Santa Barbara and Univ. of Utah. The real enabler of the this forerunner to “The Internet” was the creation of TCP/IP by Vinton Cerf and Robert E. Kahn that really became the language of the internet in 1974.
Having used email since around 1984 I was pretty comfortable with the idea of networks, connectivity and the transmission of digital data. What came next was pretty exciting. My first exposure to the internet in any meaningful way was in 1994. Just returning from an overseas assignment my reentry into the host telecommunications company I worked for was a little bumpy. They dropped me into emerging markets organization where the roles and responsibilities were still a little fuzzy. As I am want to do, I researched trade rags, articles, company policy direction statements and this ‘internet thing’ kept popping up in rather vaguely couched white papers. I sold my SVP on the idea that researching this area would match up with our product direction.
I was only 20 years late to the party but even then getting on the internet was no easy feat for a non-academic, non-military, non-scientific user. First, a network connection was needed. At the time the best I could do was a 9600 baud dial-up modem. Next, I opened an account with ANS Remote to gain access the internet via an Internet Access provider. Now I was set. Well, almost. I had a rudimentary understanding of BASIC computer language but no clue about UNIX. My PC and I needed to speak the language of the internet, TCP/IP so I bought a copy of Chameleon from NetManage which afforded me a simplistic UNIX web browser. Very recently to that point in my adventure Marc Andreessen announced the Mosaic project in January of 1993. I browsed to that site and downloaded Mosaic 2.0.
Now I was a ‘Newbie’, the somewhat derogatory term for someone new to the internet scene. All the propeller heads (academics, engineers, scientists, etc.) that regularly used the net for various nerd-like purposes were dismissive of any visitor who asked too many questions before reading a number of FAQs.
Flash forward to today and those rudimentary steps into internet-space seem crudely quaint. What it has done as increased my awareness of connectedness. Not simply a lone user on a PC, sending and receiving bits into the ether hoping for enlightenment but rather the nature of knowledge and information transfer. Recently, Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland when predicting the future of the internet, “I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear.” At first a dramatic and unbelievable claim, he goes on to say “It will be part of your presence all the time… Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room.”
Schmidt’s statement extends the notion of connectedness. At ClickClaims we believe fully in this principle. In the Insurance Industry, like few others, there is a need to integrate systems both vertically and horizontally. Policy Systems must “speak” with Claims Systems. Claims Systems must swap important information with common estimating platforms. Claims entities need the interaction and information transfer with Financial and Accounting systems. As far as we are allowed ClickClaims opens these channels to empower a service delivery environment that delivers on the promise of the contract between Insurance Carrier and Policyholder – prompt, accurate and fair payment for covered losses.
Where do we go from here? I remember sometime back speaking with Vint Cerf, then an executive with the company I worked for. I don’t remember what the subject of the conversation was or why he would take the call of a mere mortal like me. He said in his usually soft and warm natured way essentially that as the cost of transmission (network costs) goes to zero anything is possible. Later he has made often publicized comments about an “Interplanetary Internet”. Now THAT is connectedness.