Asked to speculate on how the Internet might advance in the next decade, Van Houweling says, “I think we don’t yet understand the implications of the mobile Net. There is so much activity and risk attached to people when they’re moving around that if you could really make the Net part of that world, it could have an enormous impact. If every vehicle had direct access to the Net and the roads they travel on facilitated inter-vehicle communication, driving could become immensely more safe and vehicles much more reliable.”
Jupiter Research’s Schatsky agrees that Web connections may blend into our surroundings. “They will become much more ubiquitous, and wireless, with connected cars, connected clothes, and real-time connections in formerly inanimate objects,” he predicts.
Ten years is too short for the Net to become the totally immersive sci-fi “Metaverse” that author Neal Stephenson envisioned in his book Snow Crash. But it’s a good bet we’ll stop thinking of it as an environment separate from our physical surroundings, and realize instead that it’s all around us.