"The battlefield will not be physical so much as it will be digital," Rob Owens, a tech industry analyst at Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Ore., told the San Francisco Chronicle recently. "There will definitely be people who prosper in this new environment."
Owens and other analysts point to these factors:
- A need for more secure technologies for Net traffic, business communications, computer networks, travel and building architecture, along with the predictably more sophisticated components for new weaponry.
- A huge increase in "homeland security" spending not only by governments, but among biotech firms as the country expects and prepares for attacks potentially more lethal than those on New York and Washington.
- A boon for telecom and video conferencing companies and systems. Not only will many corporations choose to do business without sending executives on the road, but such systems are seen as increasingly vital communications backups in the event of widespread attacks on an existing communications infrastructure. By the same token, it would make sense that in stressful times people will spend more time shopping, talking, amusing themselves and doing business on the Net, as they did in the days after 9/11.
- Continuing increases in sales across the tech spectrum as individuals, businesses and governments make sure their hardware and software systems can deal with the challenges and problems of a post 9/11 world.
The media are feeding these trends. Not only are the images of 9/11 horrific and continual, but the war in Afghanistan has -- correctly or not -- enhanced the idea that technologies are our only feasible response to the profoundly changed geopolitical reality that Osama Bin-Laden created last fall. The fact that we have undermined a terrorist network and overturned a repressive government in weeks, with only a handful of American casualties, has transformed the way even Americans think of technology. This isn't a time for a tech slump, but another boom, perhaps of even greater proportions than the last one.