6. Networks are becoming higher speed and ubiquitous. Broadband is happening on both wired and wireless networks. While countries like Japan and South Korea have had broadband for a few years, it is only now becoming widespread in the US and other markets. In India, the early signs are positive even through telecom operators still tend to do metering of traffic. Broadband is now an accepted reality. Even on wireless networks, the data speeds are improving. China and India are on the verge of announcing terms for 3G networks. WiFi hotspots are spreading and then there is the promise of WiMax on the near horizon. We are on our way to living in an envelope of connectivity.
Update: Even as broadband grows internationally, it is still disappointing in India. BSNL is promising that it will change in 2007, but I am not too sure. Networks in India are far from being high-speed and ubiquitous. This must change. Wireless mesh is one technology that offers promise.
7. Peer production and syndication are at the heart of the new Web. People power is on the rise. As writing and publishing becomes easy, more are taking to the Web for recording their thoughts on whats happening. Blogs now come in all forms from text to audio to video. Syndication, in the form of RSS feeds, is making consumption of this peer produced content easier. Aggregators are coming in all forms, and even becoming part of email clients. A decade ago, Geocities and other gave birth to the People Web. But the static nature of those pages saw that promise fade away. Now, its finally happening blogging is fulfilling that vision. This is the real Web 2.0. It is about We, The People.
Update: Time magazine’s decision to select You as the Person of the Year epitomises this trend. The Web is becoming two-way. Sites like YouTube and MySpace have given rise to self-expression in a big way, and this will continue. Syndication via widgets came to the fore in 2006.
8. Multimedia on the Web is coming into its own. For a long time, the web was mostly text and images. Now, as the devices and tools to create, distribute and consume multimedia are spreading, the Multimedia Web is coming alive. Whether it is podcasts, music, videos or movies, the Internet infrastructure is now there to ensure distribution. This is the world of on-demand. All those investments in fibre many years ago are now paying off. In this world, people will consume the media of their choice at the time and place of their choosing.
Update: Video is everywhere. From short clips to movies, it is all available some for free, some for a fee. Content Distribution Networks have made access to video much easier. DRM still remains a challenge, but it is likely that video ads may provide an alternate revenue model for content owners.
Tomorrow: 2006 Review (continued)