"The problem with today's Internet is that it's dumb, boring, and isolated," said George F. Colony, CEO and chairman of Forrester. "News, sports, and weather imparted on static Web pages offer essentially the same content presented on paper, which makes the online experience more like reading in a dusty library than participating in a new medium. Now that the novelty has faded, business executives and consumers are going back to reading newspapers and watching TV. Ultimately, the Net hasn't truly become a part of our real worlds."
The first stage in the X Internet is an executable Net. Users will get real-time, interactive experiences over the Net through disposable code-programs you use once and throw away-downloaded to their PCs and handheld devices. These quick downloads will allow users to carry on extended conversations with Net services, a stark contrast to today's transactional Web services.
"Today, users are trapped in Web-only thinking," said Carl D. Howe, research director and principal analyst at Forrester. "It's a little like the early days of television when programming was just radio with pictures of announcers. But executable applications will give users tools to experience the Net in more entertaining and engaging ways. For example, imagine a corporate buyer navigating a virtual marketplace with a Doom-like user interface-buyers could simply shoot the deals they want. That's a far cry from today's Web."
The executable Internet is just half the story. Forrester also sees an extended Internet emerging through Internet devices and applications that sense, analyze, and control the real world. With cheap chips and a worldwide Internet backbone, nearly every device that runs on electricity will have an Internet connection, through both wired and wireless networks. The result: The number of Internet devices will boom from today's 100 million to more than 14 billion in 2010.
"The extended Internet will reshape technology's role in business," added Howe. "Most firms struggle to understand and act upon what is happening in their business now-they're lucky if they know what happened last week or last month. Extended Internet devices will provide real-time information about what is going on and provide knobs and levers for companies to control their businesses. A data center business in California might combine real-time data from both the power company and customers to reduce the power consumption of their air conditioners when power demand peaks-all through extended Internet devices."