Poor security and robustness are threatening to cripple the broad deployment of the web, proposes PricewaterhouseCoopers technology director Terry Retter.
According to Retter, who spoke at the launch of PWC's annual Technology Forecast: 2000 report, rigid boundaries of interoperability and low levels of end-user trust in web security are issues that need to be addressed before the internet becomes a truly cross-functional device.
Retter said consumers would remain unwilling to transact money over the web in the absence of satisfactory online authentication services. He suggested a "fourth-party" authentication program, whereby a company oversees the entire transaction, including the use of security measures in the transaction, and informs the end user of the transaction's progress.
Retter also railed against database suppliers, who he said did not sufficiently address issues of interoperability between web protocols. For example, he said many small-to-medium businesses did not have the necessary resources to lay fibre-optic cable onsite, whereas larger enterprises did - often leaving communication between the two unreliable and inflexible.
"We ain't got robust communications," he said.
But Retter's vision of the web's future was not all doom and gloom.
He predicted that many households in the near future will have installed one central server, able to split and redistribute incoming data between PCs, mobile devices, household appliances and entertainment appliances.
Because processor speeds were doubling every 18-24 months, old processors were quickly losing monetary value and were more likely to be used to power common appliances, he said.