Networkers count cost of Japanese earthquake

Opinion

Networkers count cost of Japanese earthquake

Millions of people across Japan are this evening counting the cost of a major earthquake and tsunami, which struck the northern part of the country just before 6am GMT on Friday.

As is usual these days, thanks to the ubiquity of the social network, the news broke immediately on sites such as Twitter, which has been instrumental in disseminating information around the world.

Other social networking sites have sprung into action and are helping people track down their loved ones.

At the moment the focus is on securing the lives and homes devastated by this disaster, but news is beginning to trickle in of the impact on some of the companies on our patch.

The wider business impact is also being considered. Japan sits at the heart of the global technology industry and as such is uniquely exposed to the effects of the natural disasters to which it is prone. This catastrophic event will inevitably affect the manufacturers of electronic components vital for IT and networking kit.

Nokia, which sources much of its component inventory from Japan, told Dow Jones Newswires that it is still trying to assess the impact on its business in terms of supplies.

Rival Sony Ericsson apparently reports no damage to its suppliers.

Meanwhile BT, which employs many thousands of people in Japan, is understood to be working hard to secure its local sites.

With help from its Japanese counterpart, ZDNet reports that local incumbent operator NTT reports disruption to its data centres and IP-VPN services.

Japanese mobile networks have also buckled under the strain of traffic.

In the long run, FABs can be rebuilt and supply chain constraints worked around, but of course, right now the thoughts of all of us should not be with big business, but with the ordinary men, women and children caught up in an unfolding tragedy. 

This was first published in March 2011

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