The internet age which started in early 90s has almost completed its silver jubilee celebrations since its inception. Generations of people of both kind – ones who had lived their life without it and ones whose life was entirely shaped with the wonderful offerings of the Online Age, have lived together in harmony in this Online age. The former earlier not ready to indulge in to the wonders of the Internet, but had to give up their resistance thanks to the wonders of the online digital platform.
Internet life journey has been long starting from dial-up connections and brochure-ware to broadband and social networking. In the communication space too, which was earlier restricted only to voice and text, Internet has offered a lot of other services like electronic file sharing, online gaming, e-commerce and transactions, search engines for electronic searches. Companies like Google watched their brand name become a generic to electronic search and Facebook almost became a part of life of the users. These services were cost effective, had an emotional connect, helped their users with their needs and also reduced burden on human part. The Internet has seen its movement from one platform to another starting with the desktop, then laptop and now the usage on the mobile and tablet platform. The transformation from LAN, WAN to the Wi-Fi, 3G and the more advanced generations to come clearly depicts the overall role the Internet has played over our lives.
Internet has not only been a game changer to the individual consumers but has also helped make or break organizations. It had almost collapsed the United States economy in the early 20’s but has also helped firms like Google to become one of the largest organizations of the world. Earlier, buyers had to depend on vendors for all the product information of their need which was risky as well as time consuming. Online age let the buyers have beforehand information of the products thereby reducing the risk and making the process less time consuming. Also, prices which were entirely monopolized by the seller can now be decided by the buyer, by comparing seller products with other competitors. Although experts feel that the tyrannies of choices creates anxiety among the buyers and make a purchase less likely. As a result, many customers prefer to have expert opinion on these buying decisions rather than themselves taking the final decision. For example, the airline industry has seen the miracles of Internet with consumers’ decision driven entirely by price with consumers able to choose the lowest cost air flight without consulting a travel agent. In other words, the rise of one sector and business pulls down another business thereby witnessing consumers’ move from one platform to another. Similar scenario was witnessed in the computer space with hardware products now being bought over the internet thereby affecting the local retailers. In spite of knowledge available on finger tips, a lot of emphasis these days lies on the business acumen and in-depth industry experience. This is because the customer these days has the firsthand information via the internet and only likes to depend on others for very detail Nitigrities. Consumers these days expect a huge level of industry knowledge, technical knowledge and general business expertise from sellers.
In the coming years ahead, experts and researchers will no longer depend on the Internet’s marvels and capabilities and internet as a medium will no longer exist similar to the present wired telephones. Instead, something more modified platform will replace internet making the existing internet obsolete. When that happens, researchers and experts will no longer compare the Internet to the other forms of communication that they have used in the past. Instead it will have its own rules and comprehensible usage.
Cloud computing explains how sales groups often offer leading technologies that later become accepted by the corporate landscape. A lot of people would be wireless connected with users able to retrieve a lot of information through tablets and smartphones. On the first week of May, 2013 when Samsung announced that it created a cellphone system fast enough and comparable to the 5G generation, it helped pundits to imagine downloads speed of 1GBPS. This means that high definition movies can now be streamed and downloaded within few seconds. This not only will open doors to several businesses but will also enhance the overall user experience of Internet. Advancements like these will transform the existing Internet age in to more of a “Supernet” age.
In the future of Supernet age, people would be able to communicate and build strong relationships however they will still be able to distinguish between “real relationships” and “social networking” colleagues. Regardless of the technological advancements, humans will remain humans and hence would still prefer face-to-face meetings and personal contacts especially in cases where trust factor is involved. The huge database management softwares and servers currently used by large companies will become outdated with huge chunks of data to be stored in the cloud environment. This will provide the benefits of easy access of data anytime, anywhere and from any devices possible.
While Microsoft, Apple and Google trying every possible way of keeping their hold in the existing market and entering in to new market spaces, standard window machines will still remain to dominate the PC and laptop market due to its wide usability and compatibility with its users. Even in the meetings sector, video conferencing and meetings provide several advantages over physical meetings similar to email over hard copy. The advantages include easy storage and retrieval, time saving, easy to record, cheap etc. FaceTime has become very common among consumers and business people. Voice mail is making cold calling increasingly difficult. Governments are increasingly putting restrictions on cold calling. In fact use of social media will replace cold calling for lead generation.
In the Supernet age, virtual and real world will be merged in to one. Google glasses are just a beginning with lenses to come in the future that can create an entire virtual world near the retina. Self-monitoring of several things like health would be possible and GPS navigation would be accessed without depending on other devices. All the information required would be available just by thinking about it and would be displayed in front of the retina. The human brain in the future will act as a node and wifi signals would be accessed by it to provide instant access to information. Entertainment will be streamed online by the node and will be displayed in front of the retina. The next generation would be the age of Social discovery instead of Social media with people able to connect instantly to unknown people with similar interests. This will definitely change the way human relationships are formed.
Thus a lot of changes will happen in the near future with speed and service quality remaining the main points of differentiation for the companies. The coming age will be called as “Supernet” with business remaining in Internet space but transactions becoming more quicker and response time reduced to few seconds. Whatever it may be, humans will still remain to be humans and a lot of humanity traits will remain unaffected in the future.
The article is authored by Saurabh Pramanick from Welingkar Institute of Management
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