It’s digital or fatal: Web 3.0 is around the corner

Web 3.0, the next generation of web technology will transform the way businesses work within five to ten years, research by management consulting firm Booz&Co predicts. “3.0?”, you might say. “I thought we stopped using nerdy numbers to label trends?” Yeah, me too, but bear with me, this is interesting.

To even an greater extent than the present state of the internet, Web 3.0 will offer businesses unprecedented capabilities to connect and communicate with customers, and to collect and mine data about their activities and attitudes. “Once this big wave of data hits companies, they are going to be faced with a twofold choice: Are we going to work out how to leverage it, or just sit and wait for the wave to flow over us?”, a Booz analyst warns.

So what is it? Web 3.0 – what they call the Transcendent Web – has four very important elements: the ‘Social Web’, ‘Semantic Web’, the ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘Artificial Intelligence’.

The Social Web will greatly enhance the capabilities of social networking, allowing for more powerful search, location, recommendation, and similar services.

The Semantic Web will connect all the Web’s data and information much more closely, enabling contextually based search and research.

The Internet of Things will let web-connected objects of all kinds communicate with each other and with us, creating a rich flow of data about location and status.

Thanks to advances in Artificial Intelligence, all this information can be aggregated and analysed to further refine search, recommendations, and other kinds of information filtering.

Needless to say, these elements are merely aspects of one thing – a never-static, increasingly fragmented and highly complex web of people, objects and devices.

According to Booz & Company, the result for users will be a far more personalised experiences and companies will benefit through a much greater flow of data they can apply to product development, marketing and sales and much more.

With Web 3.0, paradoxically, digital will become increasingly irrelevant. As internet is a part of almost everything and truly integrated in to people’s life, the mental separation between online and offline will be false. (This is also largely true in the present. People don’t think in terms of technology, the internet or brands for that matter, they think about tasks and wants. (Yes, I know this sort of contradicts the logic of this post’s title, but it’s catchy right?))

The Transcendent Web will also play a critical role in enabling the rise of Generation C – the always connected, always communicating true digital natives. Due their lack of ‘analog baggage’ futurists say they will have different behaviours and attitudes in many contexts. Therefore it is argued they will become a powerful force in society over the next decade, as they get significant purchasing power in the market and responsibility in organisations.

For businesses this boils down to delivering added value to (potential) customers with their communications. How? Through knowledge of (data collection and analysis) and engagement with (multichannel communications and service design) customers.


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