The next stage in the evolution of the internet is going to be one of improved communication protocols and wireless connectivity and companies are investing heavily in research
What’s the next generation of the internet going to look like? The man who thought of the whole idea in the first place – Tim Berners–Lee – says Web 3.0 will be all about the Semantic Web. A lot of tech gurus – and heavyweight investors – agree.
But perhaps they are wrong.
Berners–Lee says that on the Semantic Web computers will be able to read web pages just as well as humans. That means we’ll have software agents doing our browsing for us. Some big companies are investing heavily in the success of this simple yet radical idea.
But a group of research organisations and companies backed by the European Commission say they have come up with something much better: Web 3.0 will be the all–wireless internet.
The group known as the WIP Project includes the Université Pierre et Marie Curie and hi–tech companies such as Thomson and Siemens. They claim to have taken the concepts of Web 2.0, such as user–generated content and social networking, and brought them into the “real world”.
Their aim is to create user–generated physical networks so internets can be set up by anyone, anytime. Wireless networking might not sound like a big deal, but the WIP project entails creating a whole new internet, where users can spontaneously create their own networks, in minutes, and with any kind of data device – mobile or fixed, handheld or deskbound.
Many of the fundamental assumptions of the original internet have been superseded and many other pillars of the web are ad hoc fixes to discrete problems, the researchers say. Their project would change all that, completely reinventing the internet and its underlying methods – creating new operating principles and communications protocols.
“We’re not looking to replace the internet with the flick of a switch,” says Marcelo Dias de Amorim, a researcher on the project. “What we’re proposing is a robust, flexible, optimised and above all user–friendly set of technologies and standards that will mean any user, anywhere, can identify and network with any nearby devices. Without any technical expertise whatsoever.”
People who go to the same gig could build a network among themselves and communicate with each other all day, for example. It would only take a few clicks, according to Dias de Amorim.There are big technical barriers in the way of that kind of networking just now. But the researchers say they are successfully solving them. The aim isn’t specifically to replace the current internet, says Dias de Amorim.
The WIP project would change the basis of networking and the current web would be one of the many networks people could plug into. “That said, if everybody, or even the majority, is using WIP to create internets, then WIP is the internet,” he added.