Industry News & Trends

Internet 5.0

Before I get into the details of what version 5 of the Internet entails let’s define what versions 1 through 4 are in the incredible book of “How Alex perceives the world” in the chapter of Alex’s quick History of the Internet.

  • Version 1.0  The Internet is born.
  • Version 1.6  AOL (mostly) brings the Internet within reach of the public.
  • Version 1.9  The public starts to use the Internet to communicate (email, chat rooms, message boards) and view porn (I know; porn.  Capitalizing on desires created all sorts of innovation).
  • Version 2.0  Websites.
  • Version 2.1  Browsers…..that’s browsers plural like NetScape, Internet Explorer, etc.
  • Version 2.2  eCommerce – buying goods online and having them delivered to your house.
  • Version 3.0  Widescale consumer downloading (Napster).
  • Version 3.1  Acceptance of paid downloading (iTunes).
  • Version 3.2  Moving online content offline (iPod).
  • Version 4.0  Web 2.0 is the popular name.  Let’s call it individual voices speaking to masses (blogs, reviews, & forums become more popular).
  • Version 4.3  Social Media.

Obviously I am looking at “the Internet” from the perspective of a history book.

Version 5.0….

Some significant things have happened in July of 2011.  There are three things you should be aware of:  NetFlix, Spotify, and Lion.  NetFlix forced all of its users to choose between streaming movies, continuing to receive DVD’s by mail, or to have both.  This move is noteworthy because NetFlix has determined consumers are ready to move off the physical movie hardware (the DVD) as their pricing clearly indicates favoring streaming services.  I won’t get into all the details of how this probably increases their profitability, and let’s just agree they’re all about streaming.  You don’t own the movies….you don’t even rent them.

Spotify came to the United States with 15 million music albums.  Their subscription model is much like any other, but the amount of content, quality of music, and selection is enough for millions of Americans to sign-up immediately.  You don’t own the music.  This signifies we are moving away from the CD, iTunes, Amazon, and big hard drives to store all that downloaded music.

Lion launched yesterday and is a new operating system for Apple computers.  Aside from the fact that it finally killed the save button, killed the DVD installs, continues a user experience across virtually all Apple devices and does a lot of other cool things it is the stepping stone for iCloud… what is Apple doing?  With Lion and iCloud the hard drive becomes something mainly for backing stuff up or program files.  It puts your content (documents, photos, music, videos, etc) in the cloud for unbridled use across all your devices.

Version 5.0 of the Internet is real-time shared media across all devices for a reasonable monetary fee.

Yes, there are plenty of other applications that got this started (EverNote, DropBox, etc – niche tools) but July 2011 is when this whole thing becomes the big turning point.

So aside from some fun stuff for us as consumers, how does this change our business?

Immediately; it doesn’t.  Long-term; possibly quite a bit.

It signifies a full-fledged adaption of a single platform across multiple devices.

No longer can we be linear in our thoughts of the traditional website being our sole digital frontage.  Consumers are going to be conditioned to expect the same experience across all their devices.  That doesn’t mean a shiny widget on your website has to live on a mobile device, but it means we need to think our entire digital process through with critical questions:  what is the purpose of this?  What is the clear and concise call to action?  What is the clear and concise reason for displaying this graphic/video?  What is the message we are trying to convey and is it scalable beyond my computer?  Does it work on a mobile device?

These are the questions you need to condition yourself to asking instead of things like “how pretty and SEO’d can we make this page?”  We need to think critically, rationally, and multi-media-device-ly in order to adapt to this new version of the Internet.

Who knew an argument with Jeff Kershner, in 2005, would lead to Alex becoming a partner with him on DealerRefresh. Where will the next argument take ...
  • J
    Jeff Kershner
  • July 22, 2011
Fun post Alex. Great changes in the future for sure.

Loving Lion X
Loving Spotify
Getting onboard with the "Cloud" but it will take some time to pull me away from DropBox.

AND - drumm roll --- I believe I might have it figured out how to manage my "email process" on an iphone :)  Yes - I might finally say goodbye to the Blackberry. This BB Torch is a real POS.

This does/will change our business. It changes the consumers expectations!

Referencing to the GenY article that Jade just wrote last week -

GenY (I sometimes include myself) and this up and coming generation are spoiled on instant gratification and ease of use.

Apple is spoiling us/me.
Technology that works is spoiling us/me.

There was a day I would be excited to roll up my sleeves and figure out why my Xbox keeps loosing the IP address to my router and kicking me off the network and out of Xbox Live. Let me at it!! I'll figure this shit out.

Nope - not anymore. I just want to work! I shouldn't need to spend 5 hours on different forums, and support lines to get this working. My Mac just works. I buy a wireless printer (made for PC) and it takes 2 hours to get it working on the PC. My Mac recognizes it, and in 3 clicks I'm printing. So easy - it just works. I love it!

Back to the router issue. I finally got fed up and took a hike down to the local BestBuy (BTW, one of the best email marketers ever) and bought an Air-Port Extreme. I was tired of dealing with the BS from the DLink. I plug in the Air-Port and with in minutes I have a secure personal and a guest wireless network - ALL MY DEVICES are working flawlessly.

As Alex points out, "Consumers are going to be conditioned to expect the same experience across all their devices."  This is something to think about, not only with our digital assets but also our other mediums of marketing and even process on the showroom floor. We will want to same ease of experience and gratification.

  • J
  • July 22, 2011
Internet 5.01: Jorts available in the Cloud.
  • Q
  • July 26, 2011
If everything works on one platform created by one or more companies, what happens if that platform fails? Gets hacked? Has a coding error? The company gets sued out of business?

Do we lose the entire ability to work seamlessly across multiple channels on one platform? Will there be another company to take it's place and fill the role? 

Hopefully, as users and adopters of these technologies, we will ask many more hard-hitting questions to secure the longevity of the future of internet 5.0. 

  • M
  • July 27, 2011
Great article Alex. Think you need to add a 4.1 with the mass advent of API's that allowed the type of cross platform interoperability that makes this I5.0 shift possible. Pretty exciting stuff indeed!
I don't have those answers and nobody does at this time.  All I know is it is coming.  It is just another growth step in the "organic" evolution of technology.
I knew somebody was going to get picky :)
  • G
    German Sosa
  • July 28, 2011

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Not sure who else is counting what version of the internet we are, but it's an interesting post though. Now, there are 3 key elements that are now dominating: How we interact, where we interact and where our interactions are stored. In other words:  Social, Devices and Cloud. 

Software is now Social ______ fill the blanks. Media, Marketing, Reputation, Commerce, Exchange, Business and now I hearing stuff like Social TV, Social Radio...the name itself and the concept has endless ramifications. I see the social stuff as Usability trend rather than platform or a service. The fact is that soon EVERYTHING, I mean EVERYTHING will be Social Something or that works thru a social platform.

As far as Hardware/Devices is concerned, it won't matter how or where you get your fix. It will be a matter of platform preference, your TV, your smart phone, your car, your toaster, refrigerator. Running apple os x, windows, linux, won't matter, in fact it doesn't matter much today.

Storage is all about the Cloud. Storage now takes place somewhere except your hard drive. Local storage is becoming obsolete. Think of how much "you" or how much of you is online, SSN, Name, relationships, business transactions, emails. Go back 5 years and trying being sold on the idea and see how much things have changed. 

What does it all mean? in general and as a consumer, very sadly is just invasion of privacy, but that's one end of the rope. On the marketing/sales/biz side and to our benefit, we now have access to anybody and their likes, anywhere, anytime to offer, sell and service. Matter if ethics how we use this technology.

So, if i had to agree that such thing exists and label what it represents, I'd say internet 5.0 is nothing but invasion of privacy 2.0.

German Sosa -