What is the Internet?

The Internet
The Internet

The technical definition of the Internet is fairly unimportant to this thought experiment.  What I want you to think about is the conventional or popular definition.  To non-technical people (which is most everyone) the Internet is a means through which they browse the web and get email.  In their mind’s eyes, they imagine the access point as their computer (desktop or laptop).  In some cases, where the users are on the higher end of the technology curve, they might think of the access point as primarily their computer and secondarily their PDA or, in rare cases their cell phones.  This is not my view, it is a popular view.  And, as that famous Rolling Stone cover prophetically stated: “Perception is Reality.”


Just for fun, let’s think about a wireless-Internet-based world where news and information are delivered to your PDA, cell phone and automobile via EVDO (Evolution Data Only, Evolution Data Optimized) network at speeds slightly better than current consumer grade DSL.  Suddenly, IPTV and VoIP take on a completely new role.  With unregulated IPTV and untariffed VoIP phone service and complete access to RSS and Web Servers … even in your home.  An EVDO-modem/router for your LAN or simply separate line accounts for your television, telephone and computer(s).

Do we still need fiber-to-the-home?  Do we still need cable or wires to the home?  What kind of software will tie my media, information and email assets together to make them visible on all of my devices all of the time?

Suddenly, and without much effort, you can see a probable future of the Internet that is very advertiser and brand friendly and extremely network unfriendly.  In fact, the technology is hugely disintermediating.

As a practical matter, it would not have to be EVDO based.  It could be WiMax or anything else you might think up.  The interesting part of this exercise is that EVDO is here now and phones that take advantage of the speed can be purchased at your local Verizon Wireless store.  This is not a distant probably future … this one is around the corner. Shelly Palmer

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, writes a weekly column for Adweek, and is a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC and writes a popular daily business blog. He’s the Co-Host of the award-winning podcast Techstream with Shelly Palmer & Seth Everett and he hosts the Shelly Palmer #CryptoWednesday Livestream. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com.



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