Dumb, boring, dusty -- are these words that describe the most ballyhooed innovation in decades, and the foundation on which our New Economy teeters? According to technology research firm Forrester Research, that's just what today's Web is.
And not only is the Web cold, clammy and pale, but it is doomed to die, says Forrester. In a report released Thursday the research firm predicts that the Internet will experience a second round of expansion that will move it beyond the browser to become a more interactive and pervasive medium which Forrester calls the "X Internet." In its evolution, the report predicts, it will eclipse the Web.
The X Internet, Forrester says, will be more executable, offering real-time, interactive data through disposable code, or programs that can be used once and then thrown away. Furthermore, the current Internet's steroid-boosted second incarnation will muscle its way into a myriad of devices. Eventually, nothing with electricity and an Internet connection will be safe from X Internet, which will function through both wired and wireless networks, the report states.
Forrester predicts that during the Internet's next wave of development, fueled by a global Internet backbone and cheap chips, the number of Internet devices will explode from the current 100 million to more than 14 billion.
But first the Net needs to evolve and users need to move beyond their Web-only thinking, says Forrester. Today's wimpy Web is like early television programming which was just radio with a picture of an announcer, the report's author, Forrester Research Director Carl D. Howe said in a statement. The X Internet, however, could make users' online experiences more engaging, like letting consumers shop online using a Doom game interface whereby buyers shoot deals they want, Howe added.
For companies, the evolved Internet will provide real-time information about what's going on in their businesses, the report states, allowing them to make immediate adjustments according to their needs. A California-based company could take real-time data from the power company, telling it to turn down its air conditioner during peak consumption hours, for example.
With so much in store for consumers, one can only hope that the X Internet doesn't go the way of the much-publicized and now defunct XFL, the U.S.'s "extreme" football league.