Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Future of The Internet

Fred's post today features a speaker from Forrester speaking at Le Web on the future of the web. It's not visionary, it's predictive of existing trends.

The future of the internet will be defined by a number of things:
  • new and extended capabilities (better geo, lightweight, disconnected interfaces, storage, processing power), 
  • cheap mobile devices running full stack web services along with apps (serving as both servers and clients), 
  • cheap and almost unlimited power through a combination of new types of batteries, motion-generated power, and solar
  • improved packet handling/transport/routing/ across the internet
  • wicked fast & deep wireless
  • differences in political impacts on deployment and management of the capabilities across different countries with different value systems
 Today you can run a web server/application server on your iPhone through a port of Node.js by @TooTallNate. The question is why?

One reason would be to distribute applications and data across gaps in internet access. Think of villages in Bangladesh, which have access to wireless devices but not PCs, and not necessarily to the Internet. 

Another would be to provide limited proximally relevant apps, to a concentrated group of users. Think Occupy Wall Street and their need to communicate within the group without outside access. 

Lightweight, Disconnected Interfaces
Some friends gave me an iPad this past week in thanks for being such a great dresser. ;) It's really amazing, considering where we were 5 years ago. 

But it's a bit heavy and the glass screen is fragile. I drop things all the time, and have had to replace my iPhone twice. 

I'm looking forward to the day (it exists now) when lightweight, disconnected screens will be ubiquitous and cheap. Projected information might be the best approach. 

Why bundle all the functionality in a tablet or phone? Why not have a set of devices that are optimally designed to be mix-and-match, plug-and-play devices?

For instance, a simple, bendable, not fragile screen that fits on my wrist. Or that slides out of my bag. Or disconnects from my notebook screen. 

Why must the cellphone capability be integrated with my device? I'd really like a great phone with great audio, and a great device that does all the other stuff. 

Today I can get that through VOIP, ignoring the cellphone altogether with its spotty reception and poor audio quality. 

With great power and deep improvements to the component parts, we'll have an amazing set of options that some company will simplify down to a few components that are simple, lightweight, and powerful. 

The only blocking issues will be political. We're seeing it now within the US, which more and more is trying to control the internet and the freedom to communicate. We see it in Syria, saw it in Egypt, and will continue to see states interfere. 

But aside from that, the sky's the limit (until, of course, China controls all of the resources needed to deliver these components). 



 

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