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The Future of The Internet
by Terry Brock
The Internet is a fundamental part of our businesses, our culture
and our life. Just because many companies with wrong business models have
been hit doesn't mean that the Internet is going away.
In fact, the Internet is a more vital part of
what we do now than ever.
Here are some specific ways the Internet will
be part of our businesses and our lives as we look to the future:
- Faster access to what we need. Right now
most of those on the Net are doing so with 56K modems or less. No wonder
it hasn't changed everything. As more and more cable modems, DSL lines
and even faster access (like T1 and T3 lines) become more cost effective
we'll see more added. Watch developments in the areas of lasers as we
blow past copper and fiber optic lines. What now takes 10 hours at fast
DSL access speeds to download will be accomplished in about 10 seconds
with laser technology.
- More multimedia. Because of the faster
access we're going to see, we will have more multimedia. That opens up
huge opportunities. Entertainment-on-demand will be more abundant.
You'll be able to download videos of movies or television shows you
missed or what to see again. This opens a huge market for education and
training. Costs will plummet and the quality of education will be able
to soar. For example, A rural school which normally couldn't afford the
best German language instructor could easily have a bank of quality
instructors on taps wherever they happen to be in the world. Think of
how you could tap into the intellectual brainpower of experts on an as
needed and on-demand basis. It would be good for the consumer. It would
be good for the experts as they will be able to open newer and more
markets than ever before. Everyone wins.
- Videoconferencing will finally come into
its own. We've seen the possibilities of videoconferencing since the
1939 World's Fair, so this isn't new. The Internet is providing limited
video conferencing now. As the speed gets better this will be a viable
and much-wanted alternative to slogging through airports, dealing with
delayed flights, surly airport personnel and the hassle of traveling.
Sure we'll have face-to-face meetings but we won't need them as often.
This will also have greater security usage. Watch for concerns about
privacy but most people will want surveillance for security in public
- Faster wireless. I now check my e-mail
regularly via my OmniSky wireless modem connected to my Palm Vx. I can
check e-mail from most locations in the US. This type of access will
become more common. Right now the Ricochet modem from Metricom provides
access at 128kbps to the Internet on a wireless modem. It is only
available in limited markets but since the technology exists, we'll see
greater adoption of this in the future.
- Internet as Telephone. You don't see
classes today on "how to use the telephone to your advantage."
It just exists and we use it. The Internet will be as ubiquitous as the
telephone and as easy to use. It will be something we take for granted
and use to order products, get new, information and communicate.
- More International. Up to this point the
Internet has been about 75% English with an American accent. That is
good for us in the US for doing commerce and understanding what is going
on. It is bad for us in that we get lazy and don't try to increase our
ability to communicate with others. Accenture, formerly Andersen
Consulting, says that by 2007 Chinese will be the #1 language on the
Internet---now it gets interesting. They're right. As China and other
countries become more fully wired they will use their native written
language to communicate and do business. Make note of the sites that
come on line that are not English-based. Think globally and act "lingually"---learn
- More power to the individual. Already
governments worldwide realize that they are not as powerful as markets.
The individual making buying decisions and acquiring information will be
a stronger force than any government. People are taking medical matters
into their own hands and using the assistance of health care
practitioners as close advisors. Sites like www.webmd.com
already provide access to medical experts worldwide for solutions
on diseases and cures. We won't abandon health care practitioners but we
will take more responsibility for our own health care. Voting will also
eventually be on line and faster interaction with lawmakers will be the
- Buying will be "not either or but
both and". We will want to buy many items on the Net but still
prefer the physical experience for some purchases. Stores like Circuit
City show the way it will be done. You can browse their site and select
the electronics or home appliance you want. You can do your research and
learn a lot without entering the store. Then you can order the item and
pick it up at your local store. Buyers get the convenience and
satisfaction of research and inquiry. They also get the peace of mind
that if something goes wrong they have a physical store in town for
remedies. No matter how much technology does for us, we still want that
human experience and touch.
- More concern about privacy and security.
With all our information out on the Internet, we'll be more concerned
about keeping secret information secret. It will be as security has
always been, a continual leap frog game. It will never end. Begin now to
educate yourself on what to do and what not to do online to preserve the
security you want. The Internet with webcams will provide more
opportunities to view what is happening through never-blink cameras.
Some might object to a loss of privacy. However, that will be
overshadowed by surveillance for security in public places.
The Internet is not dead. It is going through
a refinement and readjustment. The future looks very bright and holds
enormous opportunities for profitability and business growth.
Terry Brock is an
internationally recognized professional speaker, consultant and author in
the fields of business productivity, technology and marketing. He is also a
syndicated columnist for Biz Journals across America. For information
about Terry's programs or booking information call 352.438.0261 or [email protected]
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