The two defining themes of the New Internet will be Pervasive Connectedness and Real-Time Infrastructure. The Internet will be like an envelope around us, creating an always-on, always-connected world. It will also provide us – at home, at work, and everywhere else – with information and services on demand and in real-time. In doing so, the Internet becomes invisible and yet provides visibility across the value chain.
Pervasive Connectedness: Broadband IP-based networks built using a mix of optics for the backbone and wireless for the last mile will ensure that there is ubiquitous connectivity. Today’s cellular networks ensure reach through in most parts of the world. Tomorrow, a combination of the high-speed cellular networks like 2.5G and 3G, and community networks using technologies like 802.11b (Wi-Fi, which uses the free 2.4 Ghz spectrum) will provide high-speed connectivity everywhere.
Real-Time Infrastructure: When software and data moves into the network “cloud”, it becomes possible to deliver just the information one needs – based on location, time and context. Sensors embedded in places and machines originate information which gets carried over wireless networks into the network for distribution to users based on interests and preferences. As information increases, there will be a need for automation through agents (or “knowledge bots”) which can not just filter, but also process the information in real-time.
There are two outcomes: the Connected, Communicative, Consumer (C3) and the Electronic, Extended Enterprise (E3). The successful integration of the two results in the Digital Dividend (D2) – sustainable competitive advantage and superior profits.
For Consumers, the New Internet means universal connectivity to information, application and services via personal, wireless devices. Instead of just pulling up and reading information, the experience now becomes interactive through streaming video. We are already seeing this today as people in countries like India use the Instant Messaging platform combined with multimedia computers have “phone” conversations with family and friends elsewhere in the world – all for the cost of a local call.
For Enterprises, the New Internet extends the enterprise value chain to include its suppliers, partners and customers. Self-service forms, integrated databases in which data is entered only once, event-driven notifications, corporate portals ensure visibility of information across the value chain. An immediate by-product of this will be in the reduction of inventory. The Internet ensures cheaper communications and the reduction in transactions costs by streamlining business processes. Outsourcing will increase as companies think hard about which of their processes add value and which do not.
Among all this change, there are some constants: the need for Vision, Strategy, Capital and Innovation to build the successful businesses of tomorrow.