Technical Aspects

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The Future of the Internet in 2015: Technical Aspects

While this scenario is to focus on a possible future of the Internet where most driving forces are restrained and don't create any major changes in the world as we know it, one area that must change to some degree is the technological aspects of the future. The following description explains the possible future of the Internet bearing in mind the technological advancement taking place at this time without any major break-through that redefines the Internet or any other Internet related matter. It is written in the present tense, at 2015.

Figure 1. Systems Diagram: More of the Same

So What Technology Do We Assume to have at 2015?

Unlike with most other technologies, the greatest change the Internet has done in the last 10 years was to cause convergence of different technologies. It simply made more sense, and the main driver was that the Internet provided a standard platform for all electronic data transfer, including voice, multimedia and electronic signals (as for TV or satellite).

The most important one was the end of the long arduous battle between mobile communication and wireless. As the costs of G4 were so staggering and the high speed was offered at the same time by the Internet urban long range WiFi grid, mobile phones producers realised the VoIP on mobile was a great opportunity. To the dismay of the mobile carriers these phones became very common, offering roaming within hotspots in cities, and then when no coverage was offered it would switch to a low cost G2.5, always supported by the mobile providers and at this point at low cost during air time. That brought the mobile carriers into the game and as sales of G3 did not pickup, they joined Internet providers to offer the first real integrated mobile-wireless phones. It was a forced marriage but both enjoyed it: users would enjoy high speed and low costs in urban areas, Internet providers enjoyed use of bandwidth and subscription based programs (air time became obsolete when VoIP was used), and the previously pure mobile carrier players enjoyed supporting the network when no WiFi grid was around with its old and still useful infrastructure while in urban areas supporting the location-based services (as VoIP via the Internet could not locate the user geographically; for that the mobile cell grid was used).

Phones became smaller, used voice recognition and as e-Commerce had its second birth, when banks and credit card companies saw the benefits of using personal mobile phones as modes of purchasing in real-time, as the identification process and the purchase details were immediately transferred via the Internet connection to the client’s bank. It was similar to Ubiquitous Internet Banking. Phones were then equipped with biometric identifiers making all transactions safe and secure. The most common standard was using an index finger fingerprint reader for identification and the pad for any codes required.
Mobile internet.jpg

The next addition was the "iPOD like" concept, extending the memory capabilities of mobile phones far beyond the several Kbs they initially held. With high speed and always on-line status, P2P software for phones was created. Although the industry fought this development it was inevitable. It meant that downloading songs and movies was relatively easy and severely hurt the music and film industry. This in turn curbed Hollywood’s fascination with epic block-busters. Unless it was a sure sale in the DVD market there was little hope to recover the budget so movies rarely were produced at a higher budget than 100 million USD. Product placement became prevalent as an advertising scheme, partially because of P2P and the need to secure income from movies and TV series.

The next step was to use Blue Tooth and its variants for smart devices. This was now done with the mobile phone and allowed control of several home appliances. But this did not pickup much, as people didn’t want to bother with the configuration of the devices at home. In the end, the biggest downfall of the technological advancement was not just standardisation but also ease of use. And people bothered automating only a few aspects of the devices around them (they didn’t bother teaching the mobile how to operate their TV. The remote control was there anyway). But the mobile phone did transfer data into a TiVo like system, which at 2015 was the latest standard home appliance. This appliance was allowing TV on demand (as TiVo in the early 2000’s), DVD burning capabilities for export and archiving and full access to computers which allowed editing of any multimedia content. This was useful as once this technology met the P2P and the enlarged storage capacity of mobile phones – it brought P2P to new levels. Downloading was done with the mobile phone anywhere, then storage was done by this appliance. It could play a movie from the mobile phone as it transferred it in high speed close range data transfer.

Landline companies still exist, although they diversified into high-speed content as well, while cable companies diversified into voice and data transfer. The convergence was inevitable and the concept of phone vs. cable companies was disappearing as one was buying the other. New homes had just one wiring system, used for both ends, that at 2015 are in fact one – simple data transfer, whether it is voice, TV signals or computing signals (“Internet Connection”).

In fact, all this convergence of mobile-Internet was the main technological driver for any uses the Internet had outside the direct use of it using the old PC terminal. As far as content, the Internet never redefined the laws of physical existence. It was the same tool for communication and information it used to be in the early 2000’s. People still surfed, emailed, dated and played on their PCs and laptops, which at 2015 looked like small books. In the end it was the keyboard and monitor that defined the final size of the unit.

The Internet itself continued to use XML as the basic standard, with its simplified version for kids (the old HTML). Pages look as they did 10 years ago, displaying mainly text and pictures. Speed did not enhance much since the birth of ADSL and cable modems. Optical wiring was offering higher speeds but at 2015 that was not yet the standard. Data transfer in 2015 was not above 1 MB per second.

Security and privacy remained high on the agenda. Viruses, worms and Trojan horses remained a threat. Dealing with them daily, like lice in the Middle Ages, was just a matter of life. Pretty much, more of the same as it was 10 years ago, in 2005.

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