I remember sitting in a classroom in 1994 thinking about the evolution of what was then a relatively new graphical experience called the World Wide Web. Browsers with a GUI were the rage. A world of pictures was opening to view. Internet portals were booming with the promise of unlimited knowledge and unfettered access. As I sat in the classroom (I was in theory listening to a statistics lecture) reality hit home for me. The world wide web was not about information access it was about business. Big business. Advertising, sales, banking, financial services, healthcare, government all had a future in this environment. That realization has driven my career for almost 15 years. So where are we in comparison to where I thought we would be? Not even close.
We have moved ahead, making progress, but at a snails pace. I know, I know. We have done some really cool things, some amazing things. I am not discounting the success of the World Wide Web. Instead I am saying that we are standing on the precipice of significant change. It is time to take the leap.
We cannot be satisfied with mediocrity.
So here's what I expect to see.
1. The Internet will move to a world that is more dynamically interesting than TV.
2. Business will partner with Internet dynamics to build very deep customer relationships.
3. Advertising will reach near nirvana like targeting through customer choice advertising.
4. Content online will be driven by the consumer in a free choice interactive world.
5. Online financial markets will emerge that are measurable, scalable, and most importantly predictable.
Those were the 5 realities for me in 1994.
There have been some notable improvements to the dynamics of media delivery systems in the past few months.
The addition of Silverlight components and an upgrade to web platform components has allowed all of the major networks to take the next step into media delivery. HD is on its way to the web.
We are seeing some interesting navigational interfaces come about.
http://memorabilia.hardrock.com/ is a great example of using the technology to change he way we think about navigating the web.
Matt Hester has an interesting posting on his Blog with a infrared gloves based interface that utilizes the Wii controler, ala surface computing without an actual surface. http://Blogs.technet.com/matthewms
These are the first steps into the world of a truly dynamic Internet. I can't wait to watch it evolve and to be a part of the evolution.
We are really just scratching the surface.
So in a world where there is uncertainty, and doubt about the future I would suggest that when it comes to technology the future is gleaming and ripe with opportunity. Just like it has been for the last 15 years.