The two key drivers of the next Internet, as I outlined in my Business Today article, will be next-generation networks and mobile phones. The majority of the next users will come from the worlds emerging markets. In addition, server-based computing will be the norm as applications and services shift away from the desktop to the web. The next web will go beyond text and be built around rich media. User-generated content will be another important element of this web. Subscriptions will be an important element of the next Internet both for content and computing. So, if you project the current trends, what would one do with infinite bandwidth, zero cost for processing power, and infinite storage? What is the single most important commodity in this world? It is the user’s attention. Money will be made by monetising that attention.
Let us discuss each of these points in greater detail.
Next-Generation Networks will be broadband and ubiquitously available. They will be IP-based and provide a digital infrastructure for all kinds of services voice, data and video. They will be available in our homes and offices, and also accessible from our mobile phones and other handheld devices. They will create the foundation for a converged world where we can get the applications and services we want where we want them and on the device of our choice. The endpoints of these high-speed pipes will be screens of varying sizes and multiple input options (small keypads like on a phone, full-size keyboards which are part of a computer, and also voice).
Mobile Phones will be the devices we will carry with us everywhere. Already, nearly two billion people in the world have mobile phones. With next-generation networks (3G, WiFi, WiMax) being rolled out, the devices will also become much more sophisticated than the ones we see today. Consider this news item from Wireless Watch Japan: NTT DoCoMo and Sony Ericsson have introduced a new concept model called the RADIDEN, claiming the world’s first cell phone that has been equipped with a three-band AM/FM/TV tuner. The handset incorporates a dual-front design: one side can be used as a cell phone, and on the other side is a radio designed for the 2G MOVA network. The radio features easy-to-select channels, a dedicated single-color sub-display (16.7×23.1mm), as well as visible buttons allowing the user to use i-mode while listening to the radio.
Complementing mobiles phones will be network computers. These devices will have limited local processing power and storage. Instead they will rely on the high-speed pipes of the next-generation networks to connect them to computing grids. This will make computing not just affordable but also more manageable.
Interestingly, these technologies will find greater use and acceptance in the worlds emerging markets. These countries have, for the most part, seen only a small penetration of communications and computing technologies. Driven by mobiles phones and network computers, the worlds billions in the emerging markets will finally be connected and integrated into the global village. Their limited legacy infrastructure and the desire for rapid development will see them as early adopters of the New Internet.
Tomorrow: Defining Themes (continued)
TECH TALK Internet Tea Leaves+T