What is the future of web for businesses both large and small? While one can only speculate today, I recently came across an interesting article, on an ongoing trend that I felt business owners should be aware of as it pertains to the future of the Internet. The article was titled “World Must Prepare for Bigger Net” and it was on ZD Net Asia. The article primarily talked about how there will be more than 5 billion users online by 2025. While 2025 is a soft date and many analysts believe that we will likely hit that number by 2020, the sheer number of new users makes this a tremendous events. The current number of people online is approximately 2.2 billion, according to Internet World Stats. With the regions that have the least amount of penetration being Asia and Africa.
The current population of the world hit 7 billion in 2011, and the global population is expected to stabilize at 9 billion by 2050 according to the statistics posted by the UN. So it is quite likely we will have the majority of the global population online by the end of the decade. The internet has had a tremendous impact on the world and has created major opportunities for entrepreneurs as well as big companies. These opportunities will only expand when the current internet population is more than doubled from what it is now to what it will be in 2020. The article which was based on a report by Cisco Systems and the Monitor Group’s Global Business Network, explores scenarios and examines the driving forces and uncertainties that will shape the path of the Internet over the next 15 years. According to the study, by 2025, most of the growth in Internet-related markets will come from emerging economies and outside of today’s advanced economies.
The report also valued the future market at more than $3 trillion dollars, saying that as new consumers and users come online, they will start demanding more content and services. According to the study, the Internet has already brought about volumes of change and improvement to many parts of the world, but remote areas such as villages in some countries are still cut off from the information highway. The report said that as the cost communications continue to spiral downward, it will become cheaper and more feasible for governments to extend internet access to even the most remote of locations. The surge in users will create a internet landscape that is more diverse and segmented, resulting in demand for more diverse types of content. In terms of the increasing popularity of social media, the report said that social networking will become a greater part of people’s lives and eventually, social networking sites will develop content to cater to a “much more segmented and diverse” community.
While this is great news for internet websites, it is a double edged sword for sectors like traditional media, which include things like newspapers, tv, and movies. Big media companies like News Corp and Viacom are already having touble dealing with internet upstarts. The drive to pass the SOPA act by the traditional media sector, indicates that they have serious reservations about the future of their current business and are trying hard to clamp down on anything that could challenge the “old” ways of doing business. The future of the Internet could greatly affect traditional media outlets. According to the report, “Business models of media companies will certainly continue to be challenged and to experience much change.” In essence, the trends that are being driven by the internet today, such as consuming various types of content through the internet, political action, innovation, and increased connectivity, will only continue to intensify. This turn of events will bring tremendous prosperity to the small businesses and entrepreneurs, who take advantage of this burgeoning market.