Tanya Kalyan (Global) -The Rise of the App Internet
Internet

Tanya Kalyan (Global) -The Rise of the App Internet

At the end of 2011 Forrester CEO George Colony publically announced ‘the death of the web’. His notion? A social thunderstorm is approaching, one which will expose the web’s limited architecture, and mark the end of the traditional browser. In the wake of the storm will dawn a new era, which Colony dubbed the ‘Post-Social’ world. The web shall be eclipsed by a faster and simpler model, one which improves online experience, and extends to connect the real world, ‘The App Internet’.

Colony’s theory evolved from the fact that the web is too heavily dependent on the power of the network. Its power is growing at a much slower rate than that of storage and processing, and therefore limiting our ability to harness this power. Colony believes that in order to gain the greatest efficiency, we need to leverage the ‘super computers’ in our hands, the power of the cloud, and servers on the internet.

What emerges is the App Internet, with very powerful services in the cloud connected to very powerful applications on local devices. The application market is currently worth around 2.2 billion dollars, and growing at a rate of 85% annually. Many companies are beginning to move funds away from web page development, and towards creating downloadable applications. But could applications really replace the web? It’s definitely an attractive prospect- however the idea that the entire web would be replaced seems somewhat unlikely.

Applications are closed models by design, and their content is controlled by app developers. To move from the world wide web to apps in their current state would be a bit like moving from the ocean to a bath. In order for a move toward native apps to work, we need to carry something like the URI over, to make data for any application identifiable from any other application. Plus, we should not overlook the potential of HTML5, which could bring the world of applications to browsers, reversing Forrester’s prediction.

So what should we make of this ‘Post-Social’ world? (as Colony envisions it). Forrester sees social applications that are faster, more efficient, and have a higher value-per-time equation. We only have so many hours in the day to spend on web apps, services, etc. Therefore there is, and will continue to be consolidation in key markets. What Mr Colony is really talking about here, is happening in the present. Now we have mainstream adoption of social networking services, we need better tools for socialising which enable us to connect with new people more efficiently. Applications such as Flipboard, are already working to sweep away the efficiencies of sites such as Facebook, and enabling users to view all the social media and content they are interested in with the convenience of a singular experience.

Colony’s somewhat bombastic prediction continues to stimulate heated debate online. Many are in disagreement with the Forrester boss, the general feeling being that his concept of the internet’s future is just a sophisticated analysis of what is in the rear view mirror. But what are your views on the future of the internet?

By Tanya Kalyan intern at IDG Connect.

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Comments

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Gheorghe Matei on February 10 2012

For the future in anything about software anyone can read: www.universalsoftwaremodel.com

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L Free on February 10 2012

Being a pre-web Internet user, my first thought was the Internet has always been App oriented, the web browser application and webservers the new kids that took over the playgroud. Differnt apps used different servers, email, FTP, Usenet, IRC, various media apps, encrypted data mirrors/transit. There are thousands of these, though the average person may be only aware of mail & web. The other apps are more efficient than web, in part that they move only data without the instructions on what to do with it.

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Horace on February 11 2012

It is changing from browser-internet to app-internet.

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Kevin Minshaw on February 11 2012

I love the way people take something simple and put a lot of creative terminology around it. Colony's (cool name by the way) "Post-Social"? Really? There's nothing "Post-Social" about it. What your article is really saying is that the attempt to produce web-delivered user interfaces with total server-based processing is failing. In the 90's we said that thick clients were bad and costly, and we should move all the processing and display delivery to middle-tier servers - the thin client model. IT has been trying to implement this since mid-90's in business using Web technologies. It's natural then that it should carry over into a Web-based Internet. It's time we gave up. Why? Because when we started the quest, there was no way to deploy thick clients except by hand. And that was costly and very technical (at the time). Things have changed. In some countries, you could download AutoCAD and watch a movie at the same time. It makes sense to go back to thick-er clients while using Internet technologies to store their data and for communication (collaboration). App delivery dynamics have shifted dramatically - more bandwidth (fast delivery) and a technology-savvy user-base who are not afraid to touch their mouse for fear of breaking something, i.e. they now know how to download their own apps AND use them. So, instead of wasting the powerful 'super computers' in our hands (I liked your way of putting that), let's put 'em to good use. Problems though? At this stage "Apps" are not that powerful - the full AutoCAD or Adobe suite will NOT run on your mobile - but they're great for throwing birds at pigs and slicing fruit. And there's a gap between what bottom-range (mobile) and top-range (PC) devices can handle. With regards to the proposed model, go to any MMORPG site (or Second Life) and see it in action already. Gamers download a thick client that handles display, actions, and positioning, and the data is transmitted to a server where it is synchronised with all the other player data to create the full collaborative experience. There's really no difference between game data and social or business data -- it's just numbers. My prediction: Colony is somewhat wrong. The Web will continue more as a publishing platform: You probably don't want to sacrifice the time and effort to download the "Government Gazette App" when you can just go to their site, read, and be done. Web sites will continue as company profiles - you're not going to download a unique app for every single business site you used to visit (maybe). There will be a move back to thicker clients -- especially in business and as devices become more powerful. The gaming industry has already implemented the model successfully (and trained a generation of app users in self-service IT administration in the process). As for "Post-Social", I think we are simply observing a logical step back to something that works better now than it did in the past -- a settling of the tides, so to speak. The same drivers are at play -- more information, faster delivery, greater utility.

no-images

Houssam Hamdan on February 12 2012

I believe HTML5 web apps are the future of the web. The future web browsers wont have limited privileges to access core operating system functions. Thus, I do not see any future of the native apps when web apps delivers the same responsiveness and functionality. You code once and deploy to multiple platforms.

no-images

Tom Chaffee on February 16 2012

Forrester CEO George Colony says this coming 'social thunderstorm' will also expose the 'web's limited architecture'...that's right -- the thunderstorm will bring a FLOOD of users gobbling up network capacity...Good stuff and right on the mark!

no-images

Greg on April 07 2012

I totally disagree with Mr. Colony's opinion. The Web will thrive more and it will bring more developers interested in rich app/API delivery. HTML5 enables us to develop any kind of functionality on the Web that was before reserved only for rich clients. New browsers will harness the full potential of clients device power like GPU acceleration, camera/gps functions, phone etc. that was before available only in native apps. The flexibility of the Web is the dominant factor here. You can run web application on any kind of device connected to internet. The App Internet is already here! The most prominent example is SaaS. And in my opinion the evolution of the Cloud will only strengthen the Web's role.

no-images

Gheorghe Matei on February 10 2012

For the future in anything about software anyone can read: www.universalsoftwaremodel.com

no-images

L Free on February 10 2012

Being a pre-web Internet user, my first thought was the Internet has always been App oriented, the web browser application and webservers the new kids that took over the playgroud. Differnt apps used different servers, email, FTP, Usenet, IRC, various media apps, encrypted data mirrors/transit. There are thousands of these, though the average person may be only aware of mail & web. The other apps are more efficient than web, in part that they move only data without the instructions on what to do with it.

no-images

Horace on February 11 2012

It is changing from browser-internet to app-internet.

no-images

Kevin Minshaw on February 11 2012

I love the way people take something simple and put a lot of creative terminology around it. Colony's (cool name by the way) "Post-Social"? Really? There's nothing "Post-Social" about it. What your article is really saying is that the attempt to produce web-delivered user interfaces with total server-based processing is failing. In the 90's we said that thick clients were bad and costly, and we should move all the processing and display delivery to middle-tier servers - the thin client model. IT has been trying to implement this since mid-90's in business using Web technologies. It's natural then that it should carry over into a Web-based Internet. It's time we gave up. Why? Because when we started the quest, there was no way to deploy thick clients except by hand. And that was costly and very technical (at the time). Things have changed. In some countries, you could download AutoCAD and watch a movie at the same time. It makes sense to go back to thick-er clients while using Internet technologies to store their data and for communication (collaboration). App delivery dynamics have shifted dramatically - more bandwidth (fast delivery) and a technology-savvy user-base who are not afraid to touch their mouse for fear of breaking something, i.e. they now know how to download their own apps AND use them. So, instead of wasting the powerful 'super computers' in our hands (I liked your way of putting that), let's put 'em to good use. Problems though? At this stage "Apps" are not that powerful - the full AutoCAD or Adobe suite will NOT run on your mobile - but they're great for throwing birds at pigs and slicing fruit. And there's a gap between what bottom-range (mobile) and top-range (PC) devices can handle. With regards to the proposed model, go to any MMORPG site (or Second Life) and see it in action already. Gamers download a thick client that handles display, actions, and positioning, and the data is transmitted to a server where it is synchronised with all the other player data to create the full collaborative experience. There's really no difference between game data and social or business data -- it's just numbers. My prediction: Colony is somewhat wrong. The Web will continue more as a publishing platform: You probably don't want to sacrifice the time and effort to download the "Government Gazette App" when you can just go to their site, read, and be done. Web sites will continue as company profiles - you're not going to download a unique app for every single business site you used to visit (maybe). There will be a move back to thicker clients -- especially in business and as devices become more powerful. The gaming industry has already implemented the model successfully (and trained a generation of app users in self-service IT administration in the process). As for "Post-Social", I think we are simply observing a logical step back to something that works better now than it did in the past -- a settling of the tides, so to speak. The same drivers are at play -- more information, faster delivery, greater utility.

no-images

Houssam Hamdan on February 12 2012

I believe HTML5 web apps are the future of the web. The future web browsers wont have limited privileges to access core operating system functions. Thus, I do not see any future of the native apps when web apps delivers the same responsiveness and functionality. You code once and deploy to multiple platforms.

no-images

Tom Chaffee on February 16 2012

Forrester CEO George Colony says this coming 'social thunderstorm' will also expose the 'web's limited architecture'...that's right -- the thunderstorm will bring a FLOOD of users gobbling up network capacity...Good stuff and right on the mark!

no-images

Greg on April 07 2012

I totally disagree with Mr. Colony's opinion. The Web will thrive more and it will bring more developers interested in rich app/API delivery. HTML5 enables us to develop any kind of functionality on the Web that was before reserved only for rich clients. New browsers will harness the full potential of clients device power like GPU acceleration, camera/gps functions, phone etc. that was before available only in native apps. The flexibility of the Web is the dominant factor here. You can run web application on any kind of device connected to internet. The App Internet is already here! The most prominent example is SaaS. And in my opinion the evolution of the Cloud will only strengthen the Web's role.

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