Title: Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer, EMC Corp.Air travel. With so many scientific and engineering breakthroughs made in medicine, genetics, robotics, the Internet and software, aviation is a surprising laggard, especially when it comes to commercial airline travel. We are basically no better off today than in 1959, when Pan-Am put into service some of the first Boeing 707-321 turbojet-powered airliners.
Sure, the new Airbus A380 sports multiple decks and carries nearly 500 passengers. But aside from its breakthrough size and creature comforts, it's still just a big airplane. What ever happened to supersonic speeds? Whatever happened to a sustainable business model for such a vital global industry?
Unfortunately, the technology innovations in air travel seem to be hampered not by engineering limits, but rather by economic feasibility. So instead of breakthrough technology in commercial aviation, we've got a broken business model that is practically stifling the technological innovation and advances that could otherwise be possible. Looks like my dreams of a three-hour Boston to San Francisco flight are woefully far off.
Contrast this with the huge technological advances that are happening almost daily on the Internet - it's affected the world forever, and continues to do so. What started out as a three terminal network has become a global information resource and commerce hub of unimaginable proportions.
For a time you could easily be forgiven for thinking that the Internet had peaked, especially if you look back on the dot-com bust of the nineties, but that's when another wave of Internet-related innovation started to appear. We saw the emergence of disruptive technologies like voice over IP and instant messaging. We also saw the evolution of alternative business models like ASP's and the birth of open source. I wish we could say the same for air travel -- a global industry in dire need of some disruptive innovation.