The Internet in 2003

The Internet is likely to experience more changes as we adjust to this medium and change our habits. Broadband access through DSL, Cable and Satellite, is expected to reach 23.3 million households, penetrating more than 15% of the market according to Ben Macklin of E-Marketer. He predicts that this number will rise to more than 27% in 2004.

More and more gadgets are being fitted with WiFi technology (wireless local area networks). From cellphones to Palm Pilots, more people are accessing the Web on the run. It is believed that wireless prices will go down to about $15 per month (depending on the amount of data transfer). If you rely heavily on your website for business, you will want to be sure to welcome visitors with coding that shows your information on a small screen.

Starbucks is offering high speed wireless internet access at 1200 locations because of their partnership with Hewlett-Packard, and T-Mobile. Starbucks reports that their T-Mobile HotSpot service keeps you connected at speeds of up to 50 times faster than with a dial-up internet connection. Marriott is also planning on offering the same technology in 400 of their hotels. They believe it will be useful in hotel lobbies, meeting rooms, and, restaurants, adding additional revenue

Bill Gates, speaking in Las Vegas at the Comdex Technology Tradeshow, spoke about SPOT –“Smart Personal Object Technology”. SPOT takes everyday objects like an alarm clock, and with wireless internet technology, syncs the alarm clock to an online atomic clock. He also talked about a magnet with a liquid crystal display that can be placed on the refrigerator and will stream headlines, stock information, weather, road conditions and sports scores.

Through Microsoft, four vendors are releasing a Windows Media Center. These are systems that combine TV, stereo and home theater, organizing and playing digital content. According to PC World “one of the new products has a huge plasma display, one looks like an audio component, and another is about one-third the size of an average tower system.”

Although this may seem like a strange new world, it is important to foresee how these new products effect the business world. The rapid change in technology has radically transformed the face of advertising. The users of broadband access and WiFi technology are both going to expect to be able to access your website. Broadband users will be looking for more animation, while WiFi users will also expect to retrieve information from your website.