Archive: Sept. 1999 — Y2K secret plans

With the dreaded Y2K just months away, IT departments were wringing their hands behind closed doors.

It was a common conundrum, but few would admit that they were actually sweating over it. Montreal-based

DMR Consulting (now Fujitsu Consulting), said that it helping customers like Sprint Canada and Canadian Occidental Petroleum develop Y2K “”war rooms.””

“”They’re not willing to discuss how much it’s costing them to resolve it. They’re not too proud of that,”” said DMR’s director of Y2K services Agnes Bergeron.

DMR’s war room services included forming a business contingency plan, helping organizations appoint decision-makers, monitoring potential technology failures and meeting increased demands for technical support.

The world didn’t end on Midnight 2000 and the impact on IT systems wasn’t remotely as devastating as some doomsayers were predicting. But Y2K preparation plans did allow companies to take a snapshot of their IT systems, which was a worthy goal in itself. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 reminded people that contingency plans are never without merit.

The name stuck.

In an effort to do away with the unwieldy IEEE 802.11, the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance coined the term “”WiFi”” to describe wireless networking at 1999’s Networld + Interop conference.

Wireless Fidelity, or WiFi, was seen as a convenient umbrella term that could clear up the confusion around the numerous iterations of 802.11 technology. “”Customers are confused. They don’t know what to do with all these different standards,”” said WECA chairman and Aironet executive Phil Belanger.

WiFi was a name that could be more easily marketed. In late 2002, Bell Canada tested its WiFi hotspot pilot project. By 2003, the market really took off with the growing availability of public-use WiFi hotspots in popular chains like McDonald’s and Starbucks.

On the cusp of some major developments with its Dreamcast game platform, Sega of America’s president and COO Bernard Stolar left the company.

The news came just one week after Sega of America said it had arranged a deal for Internet availability on Dreamcast and one month before the platforms were due to ship in North America.

Sega wouldn’t say if Stolar was fired or left of his own accord. He was still representing the company right up to the wire and had just announced that AT&T Corp.’s WorldNet Internet access service would be the preferred Internet provider for Dreamcast.

Sega’s online gaming strategy never truly came to fruition. The company stopped making the consoles in March 2001, citing heavy competition from Nintendo and Sony’s PlayStation 2. Nintendo’s GameCube machine was due later that year and Microsoft was about to enter the busy market with its Xbox platform.

Sega sold only about three million Dreamcast systems in North America and management decided the way to make the company profitable was to stick to games development.

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