Sunday, January 08, 2006

Everything old is new again.....

I have to make a small confession ...... I am not as young as I used to be (and some of my friends would say as I think I am). I have been in this commercial internet business for about as long as it has been "mainstream" (since 1994 and am proud to say have worked with a team of great people responsible for many *firsts* on the internet in this part of the world) and have seen a lot of things come and go. Surprisingly though, I am now starting to see a lot of things come back.

The early internet was mostly about the potential of a loosely formed concept .... a persistent network of millions of connected computers sharing, linking and transmitting information. As we go into 2006, the internet today is now more about the fact - this stuff REALLY works and there have already been big changes in the way we work, recreate, communicate and socialise as a result.

When I started my internet services business in 1994, we thought is was going to be "just like TV" and before the first commercial Australian websites started to emerge, we had a vision of a million channels running through the network - in fact before there were HTML editors and while the decisions were being made to support BOTH the JPG and GIF image formats, there was a lot of discussion about how this content would look (and behave).

Our first foray into internet content was to use a couple of VERY expensive Silicon Graphics workstations. These were the ones which were used to "make dinosaurs" on Jurassic Park and since we thought that the internet would be made up of interactive "TV-like" content, these things seemed to be just the tools we needed..... I believe one of them now runs as a mail server of some sort and have to confess that I don't think we ever used the computers for much more than a bit of graphics rendering.

It seems though, that this early vision of the internet including lots of rich media content is now starting to come true. As I have mentioned in the past, we are doing a lot more work with embedded video these days as the content and the functionality integrate..... and about time. I had a chance to read up on some of the releases from Microsoft and Intel (and others) about their innovations for 2006 announced at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the whole message this is year is about two things; the convergence of the content and more leverage from the network.

Some of these concepts aren't so new (if you read the Microsoft announcements about Microsoft Live you'll see old favourites such as customisable web portals and peer to peer web based communication reprised). So what's changed?

A lot!

The big changes are across the board; the internet is faster, the hardware and the OSes are purpose built for it, the applications work, the content is ready made, the security is MUCH better (with still a ways to go) and the commerce is starting to work as well. A lot of the building blocks we fudged around, made up or just went without a decade ago are now commercial grade and ready for business.

Most importantly though, I think WE have changed . Coming back to work for 2006, the team are already off and running on a range of interesting and innovative projects and many of them are about the things mentioned above. We are already doing some cool stuff with media-rich content, some AMAZING work for the mobile space (some stuff which is VERY high profile) and a lot of work on integrating commerce to this next wave of the internet.

I guess this sort of brings me to the end of this post, part of the benefit of being a bit of an "old man of the internet" (and it is all about the frame of reference right) I have the benefit of having seen some of whatis happening before. There are some real "gotchas" out there but if you work with the right team (and I do) then I think the opportunities are amazing .... and our clients are starting to see this too.

I love my job ...... 'cause we get to change the world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Im all out of sleeping pills.
Can I borrow you for tonight. I'm in dire need of a good nap!