The Internet will change more quickly over the next five years than it has over the last five, making online trading more competitive, more challenging and more expensive.
Michael Erbschloe, research vice president at think-tank, Computer Economics, predicted at the Comdex tradeshow in Chicago this week that ten trends are likely to impact the Web.
While no particular technology will predominate, Erbschloe said: "There will be a shift to machines talking to machines rather than people to machines. It will remain a wired world."
The global nature of the Internet will increasingly conflict with local laws governing content and commerce, while its use will continue to spread around the world, crossing cultures and spanning a wide range of educational and economic policies.
Privacy laws and taxing ecommerce transactions will also have an impact on the development of the Web, Erbschloe claimed. On the one hand, it is easy to compromise online privacy, but on the other, the cross-border nature of the Internet means that social, political and legal pressure is mounting to standardise regulation.
Defining and controlling access to the Internet is likely to be redefined, however, as cyber law and disorder becomes more noticeable. "In five to seven years, there will be five times as many people on a global basis that will become cyber terrorists," Erbschloe attested.
But the Web is also becoming more "crowded" from both a user and a purveyor's perspective, with search results often yielding more than 10,000 pages of information.
All of these factors will probably result in strategic turmoil which no-one knows how to deal with yet. "The Internet will continue to evolve, although it is difficult to have a Web strategy," Erbschloe concluded.
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