Since the first truly Australian internet address was allocated 30 years ago, the internet has revolutionised the way we live and work.
When I started in the telecommunications industry in 1994, the Internet was all about FTP sites and the World Wide Web was only a text based service that offered no intuitive applications like web browsers, email or work related programs.
Starting my ISP in the early nineties meant developing a static and rudimentary web page providing customers with a directory of interesting sites for them to visit, search engines like Google had not been thought of. For those early adopter corporate customers their web presence meant replicating their print media collateral and sales materials online. And we were considered forward thinking!
The sharing of basic files, and the increasing instances in which sharing was required, started to drive the evolution of what the internet would become.
In the pursuit of bandwidth (and greater sharing potential), modem speeds started to grow… and grow, and eventually, businesses started to go digital. The graphic revolution of the interface followed, and soon enough the internet had started to fundamentally change the way we lived and worked.
New era of business and consumption
The high price of doing business means business leaders are always looking to reduce costs and differentiate themselves in the market – and the evolution of the internet allowed many to do exactly this.
We started to interact with our customers in a new way that was time and cost efficient, and the back end of the business followed. The computer and applications that ran the business were automated and streamlined, creating a whole ecosystem that reduced costs, increased efficiencies and was suddenly simply scalable.
Alongside this monumental impact on business, the consumer interest in the internet started to grow.
By the early noughties, consumers became infatuated with the idea of content consumption online. Nowadays our content consumption is much more sophisticated, the likes of Netflix, YouTube and Facebook filling our data every day, but it was this desire to consume that not only evolved the use of the internet in its early days, but drove the device evolution we are still experiencing today.
The internet impact of today
Many years ago, I remember wishing mobile networks would get quicker so we could actually do useful things on our mobile phones like check email, or read the news – just a pipe dream at the time.
What we’re seeing in devices and device use now, is the future of the internet and where I believe it will continue to transform.
Where to for the internet of the future?
The greatest challenge businesses and consumers will face will be the number of devices the network must now manage.
The internet of things is real and at any one time, a business or a home has upwards of 10, 20, 30 – 1000 devices dependent on its network to operate.
While most businesses will focus on ensuring they have enough bandwidth to support operations, the real challenge is to manage the sheer number of devices and device-led consumption in the business environment.
With this said, when you consider where we have come from, I have every confidence the technology will continue to evolve. We keep getting more bandwidth and finding new and creative ways to use it. The exciting thing will be to see where the next generation of internet users takes us – surely somewhere I want to go.
Article by Luke Mackinnon, chief technology officer, Vocus Communications.