Better Than LCD?
You just got used to the idea of trading in your CRT for a flat-panel LCD monitor. Well, in the near future you may be replacing that LCD with a plastic OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display. These flat panels of the future will be brighter, clearer, cheaper to produce and more flexible and will require less power. Another advantage: While LCDs look best straight-on, OLEDs hold up well from a variety of angles.
Philips has already announced availability of the displays for pagers and phones, and early models are on the market. It will still be a few years, though, before large-sized displays reach your desktop. Studies indicate OLEDs will really take off by 2005.
Easily manufactured in high volumes, OLEDs will eventually help push down the cost of flat-panel displays in hardware devices both great and small. Keep your eyes peeled.
Lobbying for Tech
Congress has its own version of fashion trends, and right now, technology-related positions are very much in vogue. Spots on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, as well as other tech-leaning commerce committees, are hot seats.
of businesses expect to provide invoices via the Net by 2002.
SOURCE: Gartner Inc.
High-tech has become haute couture in Washington for several reasons. Ari Schwartz, associate director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, notes that tech interests have bipartisan appeal, while they also up one's hipness quotient: "It makes politicians seem forward-looking [to] be members of the Internet caucus." But behind the image-making, there's a crasser appeal: the lure of large campaign donations dangled by deep-pocketed tech giants.
What does this mean for tech entrepreneurs? In many cases, legislation backed by large tech companies also benefits small ones. Still, with politicians looking out for big technology, you'll have to look out for yourself.
Schwartz encourages building a public-policy plan into your business plan. Consider getting involved with a high-tech alliance like Technet or starting your own. Something as basic as contacting your congressperson about an issue is important. "Talking to them makes a difference," says Schwartz. While they may want to please large technology companies, their constituents are the people who will ultimately keep them in office or not.
- Center for Democracy and Technology