Watch out for in 2004: Apps on the bleeding edge

Innovative technologies such as Web services and wireless are taking root across the enterprise, and they’re spawning even newer, bleeding-edge ideas. Leading the charge into the future of IT are Graham Glass, who is developing service-oriented Java; Alexei Trifonov and Audrius Berzanskis, who are building quantum encryption hardware; and Peter Stanforth, who is breaking new ground in mesh networks.

Graham Glass, chief architect at The Mind Electric Inc. in Addison, Tex., is leading the effort to bring Web services into the mainstream with two key innovations: Glue, which transparently publishes any Java class as a Web service, and the forthcoming Gaia, which includes the features necessary to deploy and manage true SOAs (service-oriented architectures). Gaia also provides a high-performance Web services fabric that will transform small, brittle, ad-hoc networks of unmanaged Web services into larger, dynamic, robust, coordinated networks of managed services.

“Gaia will make it faster, simpler, and less costly for enterprises to build and deploy nontrivial systems out of Web services,” says Glass. “This in turn will free up their development resources to focus on business instead of software infrastructure.”

Taking security to a new, mind-blowing level are MagiQ Technologies’ Alexei Trifonov, vice-president of R&D, and Audrius Berzanskis, principal scientist, in New York. They have developed Navajo, a QKD (quantum key distribution) hardware box currently in beta, which in a sense encrypts the encryption key. Using photons, the key is changed randomly as many as 1,000 times per second. If any machine copies or reads the key before the intended recipient does, the photon polarity changes, and the intended receiver finds evidence of tampering.

This QKD is “unconditionally secure,” says Trifonov. “The term came from the classical cryptography. It means that the security does not depend on the computational resources of the eavesdropper. The key management problem is the most difficult problem in modern cryptography, and the quantum cryptography gives an effective and ready-to-be-deployed solution to this problem.”

For more than 20 years, Peter Stanforth, CTO and co-founder of Maitland, Fla.-based MeshNetworks Inc., has been a pioneering force in the R&D of soft-switch technology and mesh networking. Now he is overseeing the commercialization of DARPA’s ad hoc peer-to-peer wireless technology. MeshNetworks’ enhancements to DARPA’s technology include extending it beyond a closed network to one that can interconnect to the public telephone network and the Internet and scale to large sizes. These networks instantly form mobile broadband networks that do not rely on cellular-based networks and cost considerably less to deploy.

“The power-saving advantages of mesh networks will become critical to cellular as high-speed data use grows,” says Stanforth. “If (the cellular industry) ignores mesh’s advantages, it is possible that an evolution of 802.11 with ad hoc capabilities will create serious competition for them.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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