Network Agility

Failure Taught Us How to Succeed

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There’s a heartwarming story around the birth of the internet that most might not recall. Common knowledge says the internet – and in many ways the first global network – was created in 1969 by a small team at the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET).

Looking back it would seem that the network was predestined to evolve that way, with the TCP/IP protocol as its natural progression. After successive steps in technological development (telegraphs in 1837, telephones in 1876, and dozens upon dozens of other incremental strides) most now see the internet as something that necessarily had to happen, and moreover necessarily flourish.

But what most don’t recall is that while attempting to send the first ever message – the word ‘login’ – the ARPANET network crashed, making the first message ever sent a humble ‘lo’.

But this isn’t a story of failure. ARPANET pushed on and with further development, not least from other researchers, engineers and scientists from people all around the world, we reached new milestones in the global network: stable internet connections, cell phone networks in 1973, Transatlantic cables in 1988, the first real web browser in 1991… and so much more in between and after.

So what can we learn from this? I think there is a lesson here that transcends time or technological paradigms: the need to constantly improve.
Networks are living proof of the very real difference between yesterday and now. They make us who we are, much the same way stone, bronze, and iron defined early humanity. They connect us and bind links that once were unimaginable.

And networks will continue to make the difference between today and tomorrow. As we constantly reinvent ourselves, we must reinvent our networks.

Our connections are limitless – it’s just a matter of making sure that our network can grow with us.

VP, Strategy & Offerings - Telecom, Media and Entertainment Industry

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