Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Internet Singularity - Its the Journey Not the Destination

The implications for consumer destination web sites

By Mark Scrimshire I have been discussing the potential implications of what is being termed, by Microsoft Technical Fellow, Dr. Gary Flake, the Internet Singularity. The core of this concept is that the Internet and physical worlds will become more and more tightly coupled. This is already happening as the world around us gets "instrumented". Think about it. New cars have GPS systems, They can track where we have been, We can be emailed about the health of the car on a regular basis. Radio Frequency Tags are being used to track inventory and soon will be embedded in many of the individual goods we buy. A growing number of enterprises are realizing that they need a strategy to address and, increasingly, implement the "new" technologies that fall under the Web 2.0 umbrella. I say "new" in quotes because, as I covered in my last blog (also picked up by Sys-Con here), Tim Berners-Lee believes many of the technologies referred to as Web 2.0 actually existed in the original Web 1.0. Regardless of whether the technologies are new or old. As Jeremy Geelan so succinctly, points out there is a Perfect Storm occurring. A storm that no Enterprise can afford to ignore. As I find myself talking with executives I sense a growing wave of excitement balanced with trepidation. It is in this context that the future Internet Singularity concept emerges in discussions. Web 2.0 is just an evolution in our use of the Internet. An important evolution that will have profound impacts but there is more to come. I think there will be a growing level of discussion about the Internet Singularity. My initial contribution to the subject is to give the discussion something visual that we can all recognize. So here is my Internet Singularity icon. Please feel free to share it. All I ask is a link back to the source here at

Is my web site obsolete?

If your site is a platform for the one-way publishing of your content - Yes it is - or soon will be. Web 2.0 technologies enable sites to be transformed in to emergent platforms that mould themselves to the needs of the site visitor. Traditional web sites can be considered destinations. Visitors arrive, hopefully find what they are looking for and then leave to return some other day. I believe that the recognition of the Internet Singularity means that successful web destinations need to implement a new layer of Internet Services for their customers. These new services comprising branded components that their customers can integrate seamlessly in to the tools they use everyday to help them navigate the Internet. This scenario is in stark contrast to how many sites attempt to control and envelop their customers. If your customers use Yahoo or Google as their home page they should be able to continue to do so but be able to incorporate your content as they want to. It is this inversion of thinking that drives me to describe the Internet Singularity as the Journey and Not the Destination. Here is a visual to illustrate the point.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

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