Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
The components of the name of the enterprise, Colorado Silicon Network (CSN), were chosen for very specific reasons.
The word Colorado has a high recognition factor around the world. This is, in part, because of the word’s Spanish origins, but also because of the successful tourism marketing campaigns generated by the state and the travel industry. CSN intends to have global reach. Therefore, it made sense to stay away from local geographic iterations such as “Front Range” or “Flatirons.” We argue that these provincial terms are meaningful only to people who live here. But they are adequate for inwardly focused enterprises.
CSN also elected to avoid hackneyed geographic references. The metonymy “Silicon Valley” has been (unsuccessfully) borrowed and modified ad nauseam: “Silicon Glen,” “Silicon Gorge,” “Silicon Prairie,” “Silicon Hills,” “Silicon Alley” “Silicon Forest,” “Silicon Slopes,” “Silicon Saxony” "Silicon Border,” etc. Where are they?
Silicon however, is a metonym that works. Silicon has many industrial uses. It is the principal component of most semiconductor devices, most importantly integrated circuits or microchips. Silicon is the basis for photovoltaic applications. Silicon is widely used in semiconductors because it remains a semiconductor at higher temperatures than the semiconductor germanium and because its native oxide is easily grown in a furnace and forms a better semiconductor/dielectric interface than any other material. “Silicon” has become a generic term implying semiconductor devices.
Network? Why not “Cluster,” which seems to be used almost as commonly as “Association?” “Cluster” implies a small group that is in close proximity. CSN is not targeted at a small group of people who are near each other. A simple fact of life in the American West is that there are great distances separating people who may share common interests. Moreover, CSN is designed to have a global audience and to be an interconnected system of people, information and collaborations: a network.
WHY CALL IT ‘ICT’?
The term "Information and Communication Technologies," or ICT, is in widespread use and, for all intents and purposes, can be used interchangeably with IT. The term is somewhat more common outside of the United States.
For its purposes, Colorado Silicon Network adopts the broad and encompassing definition.
ICT (information and communications technology, or technologies) is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning.
The term “Information Technology,” or IT, in its most basic definition is “the branch of engineering that deals with the use of computers and telecommunications to retrieve and store and transmit information.”
"Information technology" means information technology and computer-based equipment and related services designed for the storage, manipulation, and retrieval of data by electronic or mechanical means, or both. The term includes, but is not limited to:
(a) Central processing units, servers for all functions, network routers, personal computers, laptop computers, hand-held processors, and all related peripheral devices configurable to such equipment, such as data storage devices, document scanners, data entry equipment, specialized end-user terminal equipment, and equipment and systems supporting communications networks.
(b) All related services, including feasibility studies, systems design, software development, system testing, external off-site storage, and network services, whether provided by state employees or by others.
(c) The systems, programs, routines, and processes used to employ and control the capabilities of data processing hardware, including operating systems, compilers, assemblers, utilities, library routines, maintenance routines, applications, application testing capabilities, storage system software, hand-held device operating systems, and computer networking programs.
(d) The application of electronic information processing hardware, software, or telecommunications to support the business processes of enterprise or government.
An enabling technology is one that, alone or in combination with associated technologies, provides the means to generate giant leaps in performance and capabilities of the user. For example, the coming together of telecommunication technologies, internet and groupware has leveled the field so that even smaller firms are able to compete in areas where they otherwise could not.
All parts of Colorado’s economy are dependant on the enabling technologies of ICT. Arguably, without the computer chip we would not have an important presence in the fields of energy and renewable energy research, bioscience, aerospace and aviation, advanced broadcast and telecommunications, design of sophisticated medical devices, wireless, RFID and development of geographic information systems (GIS).
In fact, in Colorado we have almost five times a many chip design-related jobs than in the largest similar concentration in all of Europe, and each of those jobs is dependent on the enabling technology of the silicon chip.
FROM MICE TO HEIGHTS
From the mouse pointing device that you're probably using at this moment to instruments that have gone to every planet in the solar system, Colorado's technology influence has affected the way we live today.
Colorado is a large state, geographically speaking, with a small population. Outside of its borders, Colorado is known primarily for its beautiful mountains, cold, snowy weather and world-class skiing.
Colorado's stereotypical image has been built through years of artful advertising promoting our fine state's tourism industry. But with such an ingrained perception of Colorado, it's often difficult for a state of less than 5 million residents — whose capital of Denver is located 1,800 miles from New York and 1,300 miles from San Francisco — to rewrite impressions that have been formed globally over decades.
Aside from the picture painted by the tourism industry, Colorado's economy has, unfortunately, had a boom-and-bust history that includes mining, oil, financial services and telecoms.
Much of Colorado’s ICT sector sprang from the development of intellectual property that was spun out of the state’s federal labs. In addition to the government, IBM (late-1960s in Boulder: a low-cost mass storage system based on magnetic tape cartridges) and Hewlett Packard were early “tech settlers” in Colorado. Local companies such as Exabyte (now defunct), Seagate and StorageTek (now Sun) were spawned by their presence.
HP was found in Colorado Springs (1962), Greeley (1982-now closed) Loveland (1960, its first plant outside of California; now Agilent) and Fort Collins (1978). HP’s site selection process was simple: "I took a map of the U.S. and circled cities that had airports within one hour's drive. Then in a different color I circled cities that were within a 30-minute drive to universities that had engineering schools," wrote HP employee Stan Selby in an archived company document. "When you begin to look at these, there were just a few cities to consider."**
The ICT component of Colorado’s private sector lost thousands of primarily manufacturing jobs post-2001 during the “off-shoring and outsourcing” waves. But there's an informal infrastructure here that is hard to emulate in other parts of the world.
There is university research and an entrepreneurial spirit. There is a growing governmental and private sector commitment to the ICT sector.
Although many manufacturing jobs have gone away, the core research and development component has remained and, significantly, has grown.
The state runs to extremes in research and development. The wireless mouse in your hand, if made by Microsoft, was more than likely designed in Fort Collins. Regardless of who made your mouse it is also likely to contain chips that were that were designed and manufactured by AVAGO in Fort Collins.
Just 40 miles away in Boulder, at the University of Colorado’s Research Park, you’ll find the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). LASP has operated more spacecraft than all other university-based organizations in the nation. In fact, CU-Boulder is the only research institution in the world to have designed and built space instruments for NASA that have been launched to every planet in the solar system.
It's definitely time for the rest of the world to take note of Colorado and to realize that it has more to offer than a great vacation. It also has everything needed to start and grow a successful technology company.
** Kimberly S. Johnson, Staff Writer, Denver Post, 07/22/2007