From Web 1.0 to 3.0, most of the information processed is direct, user-generated content that is processed by ever increasing computing power. Today, the proliferation of wireless communications enables another major transition: the ability to connect people and objects anytime, anywhere in the physical and virtual worlds. The widespread addition of objects to the WWW provides another level of user-generated content and analytic services.
For example, imagine driving to your office in a car that knows your current location and destination from its GPS system. By analyzing information from many different cars sent to a cloud of computers through wireless services, the automobile’s GPS system can come back with suggestions to improve your route to work by analyzing real-time traffic patterns. This could help commuters avoid traffic jams, conserve gasoline, and increase energy efficiency. Perhaps one day, the car will drive by itself, using the most efficient route between two points. Similarly objects may be used to unobtrusively monitor your health or the safety of your property. Information from the objects will be processed remotely, suggesting interventions that improve safety in real time. The information will be sent to a cloud, analyzed, filtered and responded to as needed.
Another characteristic of Web 4.0 will be the increased real-time integration between individuals and the virtual worlds and objects they interact with. Whether it is Webkinz or Second Life avatars, individuals are increasingly likely to live in and multitask through physical and virtual worlds. Haptics – where objects and interfaces can give us different touch sensations – represent another major
advancement in this field. Already, cell phones with locator devices can pull us toward a store.
The central challenges for strategists in Web 4.0 will be to devise strategies to fully exploit the integration of physical and virtual objects with other user-generated content to create value. This may be to frame the next generation of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) applications or to generate value from entertainment that combines information from objects and humans. Many applications integrating real and virtual objects with users have yet to be imagined.
[SOURCE/EXCERPT: “What is your Web 5.0 strategy?”, Ajit Kambil, JOURNAL OF BUSINESS STRATEGY, VOL. 29 NO. 6 2008, pp. 56-58]