The paradox of unstoppable growth in an economic meltdown.

A year ago I was writing about the fantastic growth of internet users around the globe. Today that exponential growth shows no sign of stopping. A sixth of the planet’s population has access to the world wide web – excluding mobile phone devices. Exponential growth of the internet The spread of smart phones and internet enabled tablets will only serve to maintain the current growth trend.

Although not exactly in a frenzy, given the recent financial melt down, investors are again beginning to get excited about the opportunities in the tech sector. The private placement for Facebook, the company’s valuation at $50+, the Twitter and Linked In valuations, Microsoft’s purchase of Skype for $8.5 billion, and with M&A activity on the rise, people are beginning to question whether another “tech bubble” is forming.

Yes, the tech sector is coming back but it is different this time. This is not a bubble, nor is it an inflated Y2K fear-driven, industry-wide, forced upgrade. This is steady growth on a global scale, seemingly infinite because ICT has become a commodity and the way it is delivered over the internet has made it accessible to even the very small businesses and start-ups. So many more people and businesses are now connected than just a decade ago and, as The Economist points out, most of the valuations are being carried out in the private markets.

With recession gripping much of the developed world, it is also reassuring to see that a key driver for this growth is from companies looking for efficiencies in their business functions. Doing more for less is the mantra behind that quest. Transactions and communications, the arteries of business, are made more efficient with the use of web and now “Cloud” based technologies.

Most impressive is the integration and use of mobile platforms and applications in the business organization. From apps that can monitor large networks and devices, to apps that can manage manufacturing automation. Smartphones and tablets are becoming portable terminal devices that monitor, track and account for many types of transactions.

Inevitably this has led to a scramble for applications that provide security and tracking of the devices themselves, most important if they are being used as terminals for financial transactions. A company like Airpatrol, for example, can geolocate, track and monitor usage of devices anywhere in the world.

Such evidence of unstoppable growth in the ICT sector should be good news in a time of recession, a bright cloud of new products, services and applications aimed at making life easier, for us all, whether that’s in the home or the marketplace.