The Next Big Thing Online
By Robert Imbriale
Business Success Coach
When I first landed on the World Wide Web early in 1992, one of the biggest claims I’d hear again and again about this dynamic new medium is that it would soon be able to transmit graphics, then photos, then sound, and finally even video would be able to travel from computer to computer without the need for a television.
While these were great promises, the truth took a bit longer to materialize. Over the years we’ve seen many innovations on the Internet, including voice and video conferencing. The question that is on the minds of many business owners is where do we go from here? What’s next?
We’ve now got audio, radio, telephone, and video on the Internet, what’s left to tackle? Don’t worry, we’ve got a long way to go and what you’ve seen so far really is just the very crude beginnings of what’s still to come.
How you figure out what’s coming next is to look at the evolution of the Internet to date. There is a pattern of evolution that’s worth looking at. Let’s take streaming radio broadcasts for example. If you remember when these broadcasts started to appear on the Internet in the late 1990’s they all sounded as if they were being broadcast through a pair of tin cans with a piece of rope between them.
While the innovation was amazing, it took several years before it was fine-tuned and really ready for the masses. Today, when you tune into a radio broadcast, it’s almost as good as being in the studio listening in person.
This is what you now see happening with video on the Internet. First, it was really amazing to have a tiny, tiny window open up to play a very low quality video clip on your computer. The first time I saw this in a mass distribution was with Windows 95(TM).
On the installation CD, there were a few video clips that would play with Windows Media Player right on your computer. In those days, I’d show that video to everybody I ran into that was running Windows 95(TM) because I thought it was just so cool!
From there, we began to see small, short video clips appear on the Internet, but they were very flaky, often failed to download, and you usually needed some media player to view them.
Nearly a decade later, we have YouTube.com and now just about everybody can watch video on their computers. While this is really great, there are still many improvements in the works and this is where you’ll see the biggest innovations to come in the next few years.
First, there’s the Internet connections offered by the ISP’s. These are now undergoing some major changes and you’ll soon see Internet connections reaching or exceeding 100 Megabits. That’s more than 10 times most current broadband connection speeds.
As these connections become more and more available, video will continue to evolve from the fuzzy, often choppy small video clips we’re used to seeing on YouTube.com to full screen High-Definition quality video being streamed in real-time to your computer.
As this happens, there will be innovation in the quality of video people produce and upload to the Internet. For businesses, that will mean no more sticking a $50 web cam in your face and recording a low-quality video with poor lighting, and sound that echoes off every wall in the room.
Viewers will simply stop watching as they will have the choice of seeing many more high-quality videos from hundreds of thousands of sources.
This change will stimulate the creation of even more video editing products, and cameras that continue to deliver higher and higher quality video at lower and lower prices.
Video is not the only area of innovation to keep your eyes on either. The other major area is voice over IP, or VOIP. This emerging technology is just now becoming good enough to be a serious contender in the telecom industry.
In the coming years as Internet connections speed up ten-fold, you’ll see VOIP offer better and better quality, and in many cases it will surpass the quality of the POTS (Plain Old Telephone) lines we use today.
When that happens, look for telecommuting to grow exponentially because a company can then run a telephone system that can connect to any phone in the world from a single location.
While many of these systems are in place now, but their poor voice quality has kept many businesses away from VOIP. That will soon change as sound quality improves and it will spark another round of outsourcing like we’ve never seen before.
Finally, the other big trend to pay close attention to is portable computing. We now have many cell phones and hand-held computers that can surf the Internet, but in many ways, they are still rather crude. Look for this to change rapidly in the coming years as better, bigger, foldable screens become available and wireless Internet connections become faster and faster.
With social networking on the rise, and better than 90% penetration in the US for households with Internet access, innovation will continue to evolve at its normal break-neck pace for the foreseeable future.
About the Author
Robert Imbriale is the author of the best-selling book, Motivational Marketing. He is a successful business coach, and seminar leader who has helped hundreds of thousands of business owners create bigger, more successful businesses, and he can help you too. Tell him what your biggest challenge is with your business right now! Go to www.AskRobertImbriale.com If you would like to have Robert help you with your business, you can reach him at 1-800-541-3816 or at www.RobertImbriale.com