The Next Internet

Excerpts from a USA Today panel discussion:

John Chambers (Cisco): This next decade’s going to be really when the Internet comes home to the average American. This is the decade you see the applications, the gaming, the video coming to the home, the health care, the education that will truly change every aspect of our lives. The way people work, live, learn and play.

Steve Jurvetson (Draper Fisher Jurvetson): You’re going to see an explosion in voice and video over Internet protocol networks instead of over traditional switch-line networks. It gives you amazing flexibility, the ability to pick from 10,000 channels of television programming, every possible fetish you could imagine in sports and hobbies.

Marc Andreessen (Opsware): In the middle of what was a pretty horrific recession we now have 10 times more people on the Internet now than we did five years ago. We’ve got 10 times or a hundred times more broadband. We’ve got Internet advertising, which is a real phenomenon. We have a whole generation of citizens now used to doing business online, used to buying things online, and used to communicating online.

On the technology side, we’ve had over that period about a 10 times reduction in price in a lot of components that go into building the Internet and building services on the Internet, like servers and software and networking equipment.

All that’s really adding up. The economics of the Internet have undergone something like a thousand-times swing. If you’re going to launch an Internet site or an Internet business today, it’s probably going to cost about a tenth of what it would have cost five years ago, but you’re going to have 10 times more consumers you can address and probably 10 times the advertising revenue. There’s a seriousness and commitment and dedication and effort and investment going into it now that is a lot more interesting and a lot more real than what was happening in the ’90s.

Jurvetson: There are a lot of broken things with search. Getting too many results is one of them. We have too much information. We don’t have control or coherency.

Some people are tackling that information glut with visualization tools. (Software that arranges information in graphical form.) The optic nerve is like the broadband pipe to the brain.

Sometimes when you’re looking for information, it’s not “the answer” you need, but it’s “who in my large corporation has the answer to the question I need to ask?” Maybe the answer isn’t on the Web yet. Maybe it’s only in your e-mail system. So companies like Tacit (which can find key words in e-mail and try to match people with similar interests) and others are helping mine that.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.