The Internet has enabled the formation and re-shaping of a multitude of businesses – including Quotall’s insurance system
It’s staggering to think that the internet was just 30 years old this week and yet it has already had such a dramatic effect on so many aspects of our lives.
Back in 1983, the Austin Metro was Britain’s best selling car, the wearing of front seat belts became compulsory, and wheel clamps were first used to combat illegal parking in London. The compact disc (CD) first went on sale in the UK and the first US cruise missiles arrived at RAF Greenham Common (remember the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp?).
It was also the year that a new standardised ‘transmission control protocol’ for connecting a network of computers gave birth to the Internet, and what is now a £1 trillion industry. The ‘Internet’, short for “internetworking”, was originally designed to connect research and academic institutions.
The Internet is not the ‘Web’
The World Wide Web, as invented by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, did not come along until 1990. The ‘Web’, as it became known, is a service that runs over the top of the Internet – it’s the equivalent of the software running on a computer (the computer being the Internet).
The Web enables billions of different pages of information to be connected via links, and accessed by web browsers (Google Chrome, IE) from web servers. Its the technology that makes this website possible.
The growth of the Internet continues at a phenomenal rate, and is expected to be worth at least £2.5 trillion by 2020. It already connects more devices than there are people on Earth, even though just 2.4 billion of the world’s 7 billion population is online.
So what will the next 30 years bring?
The rate of change is so great that it is incredibly difficult to tell. According to Dave Evans, Cisco’s Chief Futurist, today we know only 5 percent of what we will know in 50 years time.
It is forecast that, as they ‘ digitize’, developing nations will skip many of the phases of development that Europe and America went through, including landline phones. More machines, too, will start to use the web, meaning that your fridge (finally!) will be able to order food when you’ve nearly run out. Machine-to-machine communication is already here but its scale will become much greater.
It is predicted that in the next couple of years alone:
- the world’s data will increase six-fold and corporate data will grow fifty-fold (source: Technorati)
- information on the Internet will double every 11 hours (sources: University of California at Berkeley School of Information Management and IBM)
- and that Google will have indexed approximately 775 billion pages of content (source: Cisco)
One thing is for certain. Thirty years from now the world is likely to look even more different than 1983 does to us today.