SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Gary Arora, Zakia Bouachraoui

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The Cloud and Web 3.0: The Third Generation of Connected Computing Has Arrived

web 3.0 icons If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it at least two or three times: computers involve too much manual labor. All this clicking of buttons and pushing the mouse around and plugging in physical objects with physical cords, it’s just absolutely exhausting. In fact, my doctor says it’s why I have chronic left-hand pointer-finger fatigue. I am elated to see the new developments on the horizon that could be the cure for my dysfunctional dexterity disorder (DDD): Web 3.0. We’ve covered some of the same ground here in previous posts, but it is fascinating territory, and it doesn’t hurt to further prepare ourselves for this overhaul of the relationship between the physical and the virtual. How Web 3.0 will change the world Some folks wonder when this environment is going to arrive, like a ragtag Internet commission (possibly composed of Al Gore, Tila Tequila, Stephen Hawking, and Hulk Hugan) is going to make an announcement one day that it’s here. The fact is, the third phase of the web is actually a grand transition that is connecting the physical and virtual worlds “at the hip” (the physical and virtual hips, both of which are wildly attractive). As Thoughts on Cloud suggests, it would be nice to be able to find a car key through a mobile app based in the cloud. Really, it would be nice to be able to find everything we own by clicking a button on our cell phones (regardless of the threat it poses for DDD sufferers). Our refrigerators could sense what items are running low and let us know what we need to get at the grocery store, in real-time, as we walk down the aisles. Our cars could let us know through the cloud when oil changes or tuneups are needed. All those scenarios are possible in the Internet of Things (IoT) – also known as Web 3.0. Smart phones are light-years smarter than their predecessors, and they are getting more intelligent all the time. The two primary reasons that’s the case are faster processing speeds and greater interconnection. Regarding faster processing speeds, nothing is capable of the fast and reliable performance that cloud computing offers. In fact, medical researchers have realized that the IT strategy outpaces the supercomputers that used to be the standard for handling massive scientific research data sets. Regarding greater interconnection, the fact that we’re racing toward a self-driving car – and that, in fact, one is already available on the market – should tell us how dedicated businesses are to apply new technologies to the world around us. The Internet of Things is a major, major development not just for our business and personal lives but in the unfolding history of humankind. We are building machines that replicate the real, tangible universe. It’s a mechanization, in a way, of the sixth sense. Telekinesis? You may not be able to move that object with your mind, but this device can with its artificial mind. Psychic perception? You may not be able to know immediately what’s going on across the world, but this computer can with its access to more locations, objects, and living things all the time – with high-powered algorithms and databases to understand them. We may well be able to put just about anything online. That which is not identified on the Internet could start to seem, over time, like artifacts of a quaint past. The digital world and the physical world will start to share the same space. Conceptually and philosophically, this technological transition is mind-boggling. The ramifications for security are massive – think what a hacker could do to a car traveling full-speed on the interstate. Privacy is also a major and compelling concern. But the momentum of the Internet of Things is unstoppable, revolutionizing the world in amazing ways. It’s an exciting time to be alive. Web 3.0: history & benefits As occurs when any new and game-changing technology that alters our way of life hits the market, we basically have three options, all of which are completely reasonable:
  1. run for the hills (or the mountains, if you live in the hills);
  2. stick your head in the sand (or in the dirt, if you can dig a big enough hole);
  3. get excited about the possibilities and see what it has to offer.
Here’s the skinny on the Internet of Things, with various pointers from CloudTimes. Internet of Things proposal Web 3.0 is a term meant to understand the web’s expansion into greater “real world” scenarios within the context of web history. In contrast, the Internet of Things is a popular buzzword these days among individuals and businesses: it captures our attention, even though most of us don’t think a huge amount about what it entails. The idea of interconnecting all the objects in the world – or as many as possible – was suggested in 1999. The idea then was to use an interconnected system of barcodes and RFID (radio frequency identification, as used in retail stores). Only in the last few years, though, has the idea really taken form in the public consciousness. Technologies such as global positioning systems (GPS), Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), and near field communication (NFC) have opened our eyes to the possibilities of this approach. If you don’t recognize NFC, it’s the technology that allows cell phones to establish radio communication with one another when placed in close proximity. Benefits of the Internet of Things The benefits of this movement will prove vast as they build exponentially, but several specific examples we already experience include the following:
  • watches and clocks that change in real-time to recognize adjustments in daylight savings time or time zone;
  • HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) systems that respond to changes in the local weather; and
  • recovery of stolen computers and cell phones by continued communication between the cloud and the device.
From a business and economic standpoint, further connecting the web to the world could also be highly profitable. Getting in “before the curve” with apps that integrate with this computing trend will likely make many of us millionaires (that’s right – $1 million!). Web 3.0 represents the dawn of a new age in which we can utilize the Internet to make our daily lives and businesses run more smoothly. In development since 1999, the possibilities revealed by this computing revolution are virtually endless. Cloud services allow companies to easily take advantage of opportunities as this new landscape unfolds.  

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