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On the 20th anniversary of the Web, part 2

by Gene Phifer  |  March 15, 2009  |  2 Comments

Last week I posted a tribute to Sir Tim Berners-Lee celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Web.  This week I’d like to look toward the future and discuss some potential scenarios for the next 20 years.

I don’t pretend to have a crystal ball that looks 20 years into the future.  Yet I can see some things coming down the pike, and I can predict a few others.

The first prediction is an obvious one: the semantic Web.   The Web was built for human consumption.  The concept of the semantic Web is to make the content of the Web machine consumable.  The semantic Web will allow a programmable Web to evolve.  This also happens to be where Sir Tim Berners-Lee is currently focusing his energies, so he has an excellent opportunity to extend his impact well into the future.

The next prediction is the expansion of devices supporting the Web.  This is also a somewhat obvious prediction, but one that has just begun to be realized.  The PC-browser combination which is by far the most common method of accessing the Web will be supplemented by cell phones, PDAs, netbooks, consumer electronics, automobiles, appliances, home control and pretty much any electronic device that requires human interaction.  Many of these, ex. cell phones and PDA’s, are already enjoying limited Web access.  This ubiquity of access to the Web will impact both our consumer and business lives.

My third prediction relates to end user development.  Web 2.0 extended the creation of content to end users.  However, the creation of Web applications is still mostly a developer task.  Innovations in mashup technologies and Web Oriented Architectural approaches will enable the average end user to build Web applications.  Cloud computing platforms will deliver the environment for these applications to run.

My final prediction is for the growth of cloud computing.  While cloud computing is not entirely Web-centric, the user experience for cloud computing *is* Web-centric.  A vast array of business and consumer services will be available via cloud computing, and this will significantly drive access to and innovation in the Web.

These four predictions will manifest themselves over the next decade.  As to the following decade, the crystal ball gets a little cloudy (pun intended).  What do you think?

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Gene Phifer
VP, Distinguished Analyst
21 years at Gartner
47 years IT industry

Gene Phifer is a VP, Distinguished Analyst in Gartner Research. Mr. Phifer covers customer engagement strategies, including customer experience, employee experience, user experience and digital experience technologies.Read Full Bio

Thoughts on On the 20th anniversary of the Web, part 2

  1. Suresh V says:

    While this is a possibility, the need of the hour is to create a backend converged infrastructure for a true convergence solution for this to succeed. The Telcos have not been able to roll out IMS as the platform which was positioned to solve this issue. This will become a reality when we address this across the globe as quickly as possible.

    As regard to PC evolution, the hardware was developing while the software in terms of languages, OS was keeping pace with them in all these 20 years. While today we have a fair amount stable platforms in terms of hw, sw and OS, tomorrow’s challenge will be multiple devices access to Web can range from devices having long End of Life to fast changing ones like mobiles etc.. Hence we will need lot of migration for the previous generation user devices which cannot be replaced very immediately for access to web while these throw myraid of challenges, at the same time it would throw equally high opportunities in business. Due to current slow down, support to existing old devices may continue as opposed to replacing them with newer ones from the cost perspective. Thus it is going to be a challenging 5 years for the remaining 15 years to shape these prediction to reality. I am sure we will get there in some convergent form in the most diverged way and succeed as one size does not fit all geographies..

  2. […] esto es sin duda el futuro del Internet a 20 años de su aniversario. Deja fuera algunos otros temas importantes en regiones emergentes, como el de localización de […]

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