Monday, October 10, 2011


Budi Rahardjo, Bana G. Kartasasmita
Institut Teknologi Bandung

The convergence of computing, communication, and contents has been discussed in many references. We witness the explosion of the Internet which combines computing (web servers, browsers), communication (inter networking between computers, servers, and devices) and contents (web sites). Now, cellular phones are being used as a platform to browse the Internet. In short, the three Cs cannot be separated.

Internet Explosion Creates Opportunities and Challenges

The Internet creates new opportunities and challenges. New businesses like Amazon, Yahoo!, eBays, America Online, and many others dominate news and stock markets. These type of business would not exist without the Internet. It is said that Information Technology (IT) has enormous and profound socioeconomic benefits to the US [1]. Now, the wave that was started in Silicon Valley is coming to Asia. And it is moving fast. New Asia cybermoguls were born; Masayoshi Son (Japan), Richard Li (Hongkong). How about Indonesia? Who is the king of IT?
While it creates opportunities, the Internet explosion also creates challenges. Limitted human resources, too many standards, and unknown law and regulations are examples of those challenges. The pace of the Internet growth creates the need for capable professionals in a short period of time. Even in Silion Valley, (IT) professionals are in demand. It seems that a machine that can produce these professionals is badly needed. Universities with other educational and training institutions can fill this function if they are given the right direction.
Standard is another challenging area. The problem with standard is that there are too many standards. Standards are crucial to technological progress [2]. An important issue related to standards is the use of open standard or proprietary standard. An example of this is the battle between Microsoft and the Departement of Justice, in which Microsoft is accused of using its defacto standard to create monopoly.
Advances in communication and computing broke the barrier of time and space, in which many laws and regulations are based on. Which law would we use if a crime is done by an Indonesian, on a server located in the US, owned by a European company, affecting its clients in Australia? Cybercrime needs cyberlaw.

Indonesian Issues

Issues in Indonesia are similar to the global issues, with the addition of lack of technology transfer and unclear road map. We will touch this. Being a large and populated country, Indonesia is a potential market. However, this market may not ready to accept technological advances. The Internet, for example, has been in Indonesia for serveal years. Yet, its growth is not exponential as in other countries. Currently there are 46 Internet Provider Service (ISP) licenses. About 35 ISPs are in operational. The number of paid (dialup) subscribers is 250,000, while the total users (including users behind corporate firewall) are 500,000. MARS Indonesia survey reported that the Indonesian Internet user’s growth is 23% yearly. The Internet wave is now coming to Indonesia. New portals are being built every week:,, satunet, astaga!, and web88888. Venture captials are entering Indonesia. Human resources opens an opportunity to supply the global demand with (IT) professionals. The challenge involves increasing the number and quality. Lack of English capability makes it difficult to compete with resources in India, or even China. We need strategies to grab the opportunities that lie ahead such as by linking ourselves with global players in education, research, training institutions, and worker placement offices. This is then follwoed by the development of world-class science and technology universities. And finally, we can send technology professionals abroad to play in the major league (which we call a “brian reserve” programme, not brian drian).

Technology transfer is an obstacle to many developing countries. While we are still trying to understand or master a technology, developed countries have moved on to another and more advance technology. Access to technology know how, which translates to information, is important. Fortunately, the Internet opens this possibility. Thus, access to the Internet is crucial.

Road Map

The geographical diversity of Indonesia forces us to master telecommunication technology. Related technologies that are crucial the the nation are wireless, satellite, remote sensing, GIS, GPS, and Geosatellite.
Wireless networked digital devices are products of a new paradigm for computing and communication. They create new business opportunities. Witness the growth of cellular phones in the world. New technologies, such as Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and Bluetooth, are being developed. They, again, create even more opportunities. The Europeans are ahead in the technology, and Japan is ahed in its appliactions (such as the NTT Docomo I-mode). Thus, link and collaboration with them are extremely important.

Concluding Remarks

This paper briefly discusses the opportunities and challenges in front of us. We cannot let these opportunities slip away. Link and collaborations with global players are very important. Initiatives such as Bandung High-Tech Valley [3] must be empowered. We need to achieve something real.


  1.  Subcommittee on Computing, Information, and Communications Research and Development of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technology, “High Performance Computing and Communications: Information Technology Frontiers for a New Millennium,” April 1999.
  2.   Linda Geppert, and William Sweet, “Technology 2000 Analysis & Forecast,” IEEE Spectrum, pp. 27-31, January, 2000.
  3.       Bandung High Tech Valley web site:

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