The following article about Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau comments that the internet is something that has only just begun I strongly agree with. They speak in terms of # of people connected, new business founded, etc. That is certainly true. But I also think in terms of 21st business practices and operating procedures we have only just begun. Its common now for businesses to do online marketing, e-commerce, implement communication work flow (email), share information (documents), outsource, collect data and more. The most sophisticated businesses, including notably many web based businesses, are going even further. They are creating virtual teams of loosely nit resources into cohesive working groups. Some organizations have “webified” complex business practices into flexible operating groups. But, what happens when every single procedure, step, bit of information and more is dynamically captured and mined for information value to the organization? Think of it like moving from the horse and buggy stage to the superhighway system we have today.
I truly believe we are just now seeing the existing Model-T era of the net move into a more ubiquitous era when the net will touch everyone’s lives in way they could not imagine. Take one small example, I recently decided to mine my network of contacts over the last 15 years into Facebook. Something that would have been nearly impossible 20 years ago to get accomplished with out a lot of research and hard effort, took a couple of days. That’s cool. Now imagine in 10 years when Facebook or some other app simply tracks all I do (under my watchful eye of course) and automatically maps and tracks my entire network of interactions through my entire life. I could connect to the pizza delivery guy who I get a delivery from 3 times a month to my Dr. and his/her staff instantly and more… Imagine that type of power in large organizations – finding people to solve problems, connect, share and more. And that is just one example… Recently we have been involved in software for major disaster clean up (e.g. Hurricane Katrina and Ike) – that entire process over the last 5 to 7 years has radically been transformed with web technology.
The future is very exciting and bright for the net. Hopefully we will also see it help to connect those who are right now left behind to open up a whole new world of opportunity as Berners-Lee and Cailliau suggest.