Stories, x-Early Perspectives

I saw the first real-time intranet in 1994

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in July 2011 ……


My first vision of the potential of intranets was back in 1994 when an Italian engineer working at an American company located in Sophia Antipolis, high tech park in the South of France, showed me the famous, now defunct,  Trojan Room coffee pot at Cambridge University from his own desktop in France.

In 1991, researchers at Cambridge University had set up what I believe was the world’s first webcam, focused on the Trojan Room coffee pot located on a higher floor at their lab.

They could see from their own internal network (although they did not call it an “intranet”!) if it was empty or full. They could then know when it was most “productive” to take the long walk upstairs without wasting their time. Just for fun, they made it available on the internet for people like me and my Italian friend to see and imagine the smell freshly brewed coffee!

Real-time + productivity + long term ROI

Real-time service to increase productivity. Can you beat that? In fact they did!  The coffee pot itself was unplugged in 2001 and sold on eBay for £3,350

So there you are. Real-time + productivity + long term ROI. Vive l’intranet !

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