Internet future will see us untied from its shackles

Futurists have been telling us for ages that we are going to live in an increasingly connected world. Only last week Marks and Spencer launched the iPod suit, where the jacket comes pre-wired with all the connections you need for your iPod. We’ve been hearing about computerised clothing and the fact that all our appliances will be Internet connected within a few years.

Yet as fast as the future thinkers come up with new ideas for our “sci-fi” world we are due to enter, along come other people who dismiss the suggestions. We were told the microwave oven would revolutionise cooking within a couple of years….but it was 30 years later before the first consumer microwaves caught on. So, even though futurists can make accurate predictions, their timing is sometimes out.

So, the notion that we are all going to be dependent on a constantly interconnected world where everything we touch is “on the Internet” may not be as close as some future thinkers might suggest. The first possibility that this could be the case came to light recently at a conference of programmers at Google in the USA.

What they were talking about was people being less connected to the Internet – not more. Indeed, Google itself was talking about the need to come up with ways of “pre packing” parts of the Internet so that people could carry those bits around with them and use them without needing any kind of Internet connection.

The idea is that you could have several thousand web pages updated on your handheld device. Then, when you need to access the information you could do so without connecting to the Internet. Later on in the day, when you do have an Internet connection, you could then get the pages updated.

What this means for Internet business is significant. It means that instead of millions of people being able to stumble upon your site, there will be fewer ad-hoc visitors. If Internet users haven’t pre-selected your information for uploading to their hand-helds, you’ll get fewer visitors than if everyone was “always on”.

This implies that your business is going to depend upon good old-fashioned “offline” marketing and brand/reputation management. With future systems that will encourage less Internet connecting, what you do offline will suddenly become more important. Don’t neglect what your business does offline – in the future it is going to be of real help to you.

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