Alexander Markowetz is a computer scientist and author. Previously, Alexander served as an Assistant Professor for Computer Science at the University of Bonn. He holds a PhD in computer science from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and a diploma from the University of Marburg. Alexander is most known for his work on Big Data and smartphone usage in the Menthal project. He has dedicated the past four years to Interoperability, Standardization and the Internet of Actors. Currently, he advises governments and businesses on IT-policy.

The History of the 21st Century – From Intra-Communication to the Internet of Actors

Looking back on twenty years of IT, any verdict must remain undecided. On the one hand, Consumer-IT has experienced massive progress, from shopping platforms to apps. On the other hand, Business-It has continued to focus on intra-company communication. To this day, transactions across company borders continue to be conducted via e-mail, web-interfaces or handcrafted APIs.
This talk embarks on this startling observation and asks what Business-IT requires to experience a similar breakthrough.
The missing ingredient – as it turns out – is Interoperability: the ability for IT systems to communicate directly over standardized interfaces.

The talk then outlines standardization on application level as well as the underlying process. It differentiates approaches on application level (OSI 7) and lover levels (OSI 1-6). Equally, it distinguishes Open Standards from proprietary approaches and Open Source. As it turns out, it all boils down to power and governance.

Next, the talk identifies standardization as the single most important factor in driving IT markets. Contrary to the free-market narrative, we owe every Trillion-Dollar market of the past to some form of standardization (often due to government initiative).
Yet, standardization also changes everything we assumed about IT-markets. On the one hand, it attacks both business models of Big-IT: platform economy and vendor lock-in. On the other hand, it creates massive markets for SMEs: participative, collaborative, and fair.

Finally, the talk fleshes out the microeconomic consequences of Interoperability. These in return induce a complete shift in how we conceptualize and design Business-IT. The talk ends with a big picture of the emerging *Internet of Actors*, its layers, concepts and mechanics.

The talk draws heavily on past experiences in standardizing health-care-IT. It extract abstract insights, and show how to extend them to other business verticals.