Future Tech

In the future, mobile will become the more dominant means to connect to information, and advertising will evolve to other models. That’s according to “Future of the Internet III,” a report released by Pew Internet & American Life Project and Elon University, with insight from Internet activists, builders, and commentators.

Access and formats will advance, with multiple scenarios given leading up to 2020. Some views expressed by respondents include content being distributed for free or at a very low cost, “supported by advertising, which will be embedded in the content,” according to Tze-Meng Tan of Multimedia Development Corporation, an architect of the Malaysian Internet.

Another view, offered by BuzzMachine blogger Jeff Jarvis, said, “When audience and content can be metered and monetized, it will be in the interest of copyright holders to have their content distributed as widely as possible, with the knowledge that this is how they will make money through advertising or through the expansion of their brands.”

Narrowcast advertising is yet another potential path of advertising by 2010. It may be possible to broadcast personalized messages to individuals even within a crowd.

“There’s a very wide range of opinion,” said Lee Rainie, director of Pew Internet. “One where people expect it to become more personalized, one where people expect it to become more embedded in content. The boundary will be diminished if not obliterated.”

Mobile devices are expected to become more advanced and sophisticated over time. Many believe mobile will become the primary connection tool to the Internet for most people by 2010. “Especially for poorer populations and less developed world,” Rainie said.

Wired connections won’t disappear completely. “There’s a sense among these experts that the premier wired experience is still going to be more powerful than the premier wired experience,” Rainie said. “The premier wireless experiences are catching on and will dramatically catch on in the future. Digital divides will still exist in the future.”

The report is part of an online survey of 578 Internet activists, builders, and commentators who submitted their ideas about the impacts of networked technologies on world societies by 2020. An additional 618 stakeholders also participated, for a total of about 1,196 participants sharing their views.

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