Definition of X- Internet
Many people think the Internet and the Web are the same thing. They're not. The Internet is a piece of wire that goes from me to you and from me to 300 million other people in the world. The Web is software that I put on my end of the wire, and you put on your end -- allowing us to exchange information. While the Internet (the wire) evolves gradually, the software on the wire can change quickly. Before the Web, other software was clamped onto the Internet. WAIS, Gopher, and Usenet were the dominant systems, and there were companies that were doing commerce using those software models. I call this the "executable Internet," or X Internet, for short. X Internet offers several important advantages over the Web: 1) It rides Moore's Law -- the wide availability of cheap, powerful, low real-estate processing; 2) it leverages ever dear bandwidth -- once the connection is made, a small number of bits will be exchanged, unlike the Web where lots of pages are shuttled out to the client; and 3) X Internet will be far more peer-to-peer -- unlike the server-centric Web. This scenario could be marred by two threats: viruses and lack of standards. Once executables start to move fluidly through the Net, viruses will have perfect conditions to propagate. Standards, or rather the lack thereof, will block the quick arrival of X Internet. I can't see Microsoft, Sun, IBM, or other traditionalists setting the standards. The Web-killer's design will emerge from pure research, academe, or open source -- as did the Web. What It Means -- No. 1: Web-centric companies get stuck holding the bag. They will wake up one day with hundreds of millions of dollars of legacy code on their hands. Yes, their brands will remain intact, but their technology will suddenly be very outmoded. Yahoo!, eBay, and AOL will find themselves competing with a new wave of commerce players that market, deliver, and service using the superior technology of X Internet. One of the upstarts will Amazon Amazon. What It Means -- No. 2: Investors get happy. The new wave of startups will race to market with X Internet, blasting old Web infrastructure and commerce companies out of their path. Internet creative destruction, round two. What It Means -- No. 3: Peer-to-peer (P2P) networking rockets. The X Internet's "smarts everywhere" design will enable an epidemic of Napstering. Courts, legislators, governments, companies, and other rule makers will have to contend with an empowered and ever more liberated, unruly populace -- armed with technology that allows them to bypass economic toll roads and bridges. What It Means -- No. 4: If you are a Global 2,500 company, get ready for another round of change. This means: 1) overhauling the skills of your technologists; 2) destroying perfectly good Web sites in favor of the X Internet; 3) dumping Web-centric suppliers; and 4) retooling organizations. Change management will get a new test.
As the Internet expands, two new waves of innovation -- comprising what Forrester calls the X Internet -- are already eclipsing the Web: an executable Net that greatly improves the online experience and an extended Net that connects the real world. An executable Net that supplants today's Web will move code to user PCs and cause devices to captivate consumers in ways static pages never could. Today's news, sports, and weather offered on static Web pages is essentially the same content presented on paper, making the online experience more like reading in a dusty library than participating in a new medium. The extended Internet is reshaping technology's role in business through Internet devices and applications which sense, analyze, and control data, therefore providing more real-time information than ever before about what is going on in the real world. The X Internet will not be a new invention, but rather the evolution of today's Internet of static Web pages and cumbersome e-commerce mechanisms into a Net that relies on...
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