The internet as it is today is something many of us take for granted. We’ve almost forgotten what it used to be like – slow, time-consuming with not as much content. And anyone old enough struggles to remember what it was like in times before we had internet at all. The whole thing has made quite an advancement, a gradual one that we may not all have noticed. But is this as good as it gets? Is there more to come from the internet? Technology experts believe so and they predict a very exciting internet future.
Internet usage increase
As global population increases and internet connectivity improves this seems like a very obvious statement. What is less obvious is the rate it which it has grown and will continue to do so. 2.94 people worldwide used the internet in 2014 and 3.14 did so a year later. While that is fairly steady growth it is anticipated that by around 2020 almost 5 billion people will be using the internet, which means almost everybody on the planet will be online. Developing countries playing catch up will finally see their efforts come to fruition and the playing field is expected to be a lot more level in terms of connection speed.
You might think that your current internet connection is pretty good and that it couldn’t be better. You’re wrong. What would you say to permanent internet connection? This is a distinct possibility and is already being worked on. The days of password free, overlapping systems could see an internet connection that is never, ever interrupted or lacking in quality. This would be a massive boost for film streaming as anyone who ever watches online movies will tell you that connection issues are the biggest problem they encounter.
We currently use phones a lot for our internet usage and this is set to become even more prevalent. 4G is already fairly standard for most of us, but an even better 5G is now just over the horizon. Mobile internet is set to become superfast in the next decade with a much higher percentage of people than now expected to be accessing the internet in this way.
Virtual and augmented reality
Nobody thought having the internet in your pocket or on palm-held devices would be possible at one point, but that was achieved. What about projecting or embedding internet into real world situations? Well Google pioneered a form of this with Google Glass and Microsoft are continuing it with their HoloLens so this kind of augmented reality is already available even though it’s still in its relative infancy. Virtual reality too is enjoying a resurgence too and while neither of these technologies currently seem to be essential they might well do by the time they are fully developed.
The cloud will dominate
Cloud computing is already big business, but in the future it is expected that more if not most services will be available in the cloud. Cloud computing already generates close to $50 billion every year and it is expected to grow and grow in the coming years. A bigger and better cloud infrastructure is already being developed in anticipation of this. Cloud-based software is tipped to dominate.
Computers take over
Computers can already do many things to make our lives easy and they are also beginning to master tasks such as writing. App development and allowing machines to network via the internet together could create a kind of virtual workforce, enabling much more to be done by machines rather than people.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a relatively new term and it is basically a system whereby other items than computers and phones connect with each other. Fridges, clocks and other appliances can be connected using this technology. You might wonder what advantage that has, but what about a fridge that can add cheese to your online grocery order because it knows exactly how little you have left? This is valuable, time-saving technology and it’s going to get better. Within a few years it’s anticipated that this technology will also connect cars, wallets and health monitoring equipment. Anything that can be connected to the internet eventually will be connected to the internet and it will soon become yet another technological breakthrough that we can’t believe we ever lived without.
Environmentally friendlier internet
In all aspects of living great strides are being made towards making things as environmentally friendly as possible. As resources have being plundered new ways have had to be found in order to produce energy and manufacture things. The internet is no different. Infrastructure is being remodelled to make it more efficient and “greener”. A number of companies are already trying to be as green as possible and others are following suit, using the most environmentally sound solutions possible. If the whole planet is going to use the internet then it makes sense that the internet looks after the planet too and it’s going to be essential once some resources run out and prices increase massively.
Earth is not enough
We are the only planet we know of with internet and until proof of other lifeforms on other planets is verified in some way we will remain the only planet with internet. Or will we? Plans are already afoot to create internet access on Mars for when people eventually settle there. This might be a lot further off than just 10 years, but it is a plan that NASA thinks needs to be made already. Once Mars is colonised the idea is that it will be possible to send messages via internet to friends and family back home and to communicate regularly with Earth. This will be achieved thanks to satellites orbiting the red planet and it is anticipated that it will take 24 minutes to transmit data one way.
These potential developments will make for a very exciting and very real future and that future is starting now.