Feeds

PARC turns 40: mice, money, and the new interwebs

A place whose time has come. Again

Build a business case: developing custom apps

PARC at 80?

The big question: where will PARC be on its 80th anniversary? In 2050?

PARC's director is setting his sights more modestly - Bernstein's looking just 10 years out, to 2020 with the work on CCN. "Just getting through to 2020 is as far as we're thinking now," he said. Peering further out is a risky proposition, given massive changes in computing that succeeded PARC's formation in 1970 and those first ideas. "Forty years back when PARC was started... it's incredible the nature of change that's taken place," Bernstein said.

The future is an unpredictable place, it seems.

"CCN, if adopted, will have a real transformative impact on the way people consume information, and the performance of the network will change," he said. Away from computing: he's optimistic about clean technology and creating liquid fuels from carbon-dioxide capture, and work in thermodynamics for greater energy and power efficiency.

PARC exterior

PARC today: still on a journey and making progress?,

(photo by Gavin Clarke)

St. Claire's excited by the potential for CCN and also sees opportunity in imprinted electronics and ethnography, especially in Japan and South Korea that are keen to move from being "fast followers" to innovators. "That is a perfect place for us to play," she said.

PARC's history is inspiring. In the early 1970s it quickly laid the foundations of modern personal computing and networking. Fans of these contributions are not difficult to find, with Shuttleworth and Cutting both ready to praise its breakthroughs on technology work that was validated by virtue of the fact others widely adopted them. Even yoked by Xerox, PARC was something of a business success because it added to the parent's multibillion-dollar bottom line with innovation in printers and copiers - a story Seely Brown says is often overlooked.

Further, PARC achieved all this on a relatively small staff - around 250 researchers compared to three thousand working at Bell Labs, which gave the world Unix, over on the East Coast.

The history of PARC is also frustrating - and painfully slow for something positioned to sift the fast-paced flow of technology and new ideas. PARC was restricted by very the parent that gave it its liberal charter in 1970, a fact that saw much of the early talent pull the ripcord. Even rebirth in twelve years later failed to provide the operation the clean break it really needed, and only now - forty years into the whole PARC experiment - does the proper business acumen actually seem in place.

St. Claire believes that it's the history of innovation that'll help her in her work winning new business and expanding operations – and help PARC capitalize on its new thinking and innovations.

"I thought it would be a lot more challenging than it actually is here," she said of the job after 12 months. "I was once on the sales side at very small company, and trying to get an audience with people was very different. I'm on the sales side at PARC, and our name and reputation extends quite a bit."

"We are a relatively small company, as we exist as a subsidiary. If you were any other small company and not PARC, people would be concerned about: 'Do I want to form some kind of long-term relationships with you as an OEM?" Our name really helps us overcome a lot of that concern and certainly creates a degree of excitement." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.