Thursday, 14 October 2010

Four key concepts in web 3.0 - 2. Seamlessness

2003 was the year of the mobile. As was 2005. At #JUMP yesterday I heard several people say that 2011 is going to be the year of the mobile.

Actually 2011 might be: a recent New Media Age report suggested that 61% of phones are smart phones. I know that quite a lot of them really aren’t that smart and the online experience is rubbish, but the trend is there. It's not just phones. Televisions, phones, computers are all becoming less well defined. So the second theme that defines Web 3.0 is seamlessness – our experience of the web will be properly platform agnostic.

Again this is an old dream. Just like the semantic web, people have been talking about freedom and portability of data for years. But this time round it looks like it might be true. Nearly 10% of the (admittedly relatively few) readers of this blog do so from smart phones.  IPhone has transformed our expectation of what the mobile browsing experience should be and the other manufacturers have rapidly followed that lead.

The more important feature of Web 3.0 will be the fact that our data and information will be organised so that we get seamless access from multiple access points. Spotify premium is a good example of this. My choices and lists are automatically synched between devices and platforms. Tweetdeck picks up searches in one place and delivers them elsewhere on demand.

It looks like Internet Television is now (finally) upon us and many other traditional boundaries are being blurred or completely eroded. There was, for a while in the mid-noughties something of a reaction to the C word. So I shall only whisper about platform Convergence – but it’s happening.

Outbound telephone calls are now very unlikely to be carried by analogue signal over copper wire. (Actually it’s pretty sad how many still go by digital over copper wire, but that is a whole different conversation.) The rise of VoIP has been extraordinary and tools like Skype are delivering services that were inconceivable 10 years ago and we access them through a variety of different platforms.

So Web 3.0 will be underwritten by the ability to move seamlessly through the semantic web across a variety of platforms. Content will be delivered through linked pipes that allow multi-format information to be delivered to consumers through channels of their choice.

In some ways this might be the most profound change of all the Web 3.0 elements that I’m suggesting. Should this an accurate prediction, it will have a huge impact on the nature of the Media and traditional models of content creation. We’re already seeing content businesses breaking out of their traditional silos. (Well some of them. There are others that are enforcing platform apartheid).  Content owners will have to look for partnerships and diversification in order to supply their promiscuous consumers.

So in Web 3.0 all your devices will track what stories you’ve read and pass this information on to the next in device you wish to use. They’ll know what tunes you’ve downloaded (and know that you are entitled to listen to them on other devices) – they'll actually know what you were listening to in the office, train, car and allow you to continue that when you change environment. When you watch a television programme (that may or may not be delivered through an RF signal and receiver) you’ll be able to pause it whenever and pick it up the next day on your smartphone. Seamlessness may not be a particularly elegant word, but as a concept it rocks.

This is what platform agnostic means, this is coming and will be a fundemental part of Web 3.0

Next time: personalisation