The future of the Internet underestimated

“The impact of the Internet is overestimated in the short term, but underestimated in the long term.” This quote from Bill Gates dates from the turning-point year 2000. Back then, the still young Internet sector was confronted with doubtful business models and an enormous stock market crash. Nobody believed in the Internet anymore, except a persisting few, considered fools by many.

In the meantime we know better. The Internet has caused an enormous impact on social, geopolitical and economical fields. Some of those initially persisting people got their profit out of it…

Socially, the Internet has radically changed the communication methods between people. E-mail, instant messaging, chatting and blogging have become for many essential elements of their identity. Just consider how many new relationships have come out of the Internet. The success of the Blackberry illustrates how many are not able to live off-line for even just a few hours.

Geopolitically, the Internet has caused quite a stir, both negative and positive. The spreading of malafide information among terror groups worldwide has never been easier than today and creates an incredible threat. On the other hand the Internet creates a global economical platform, in which companies beyond their countries boundaries become dependent of one another. This certainly contributes to a worldwide stability.

Economically, the Internet offers an incredible source of information for only a fraction of its former cost. The hereby created product and price transparency ultimately created efficient markets. Products and services can now be spread worldwide in a record time. The enormously fast roll-out worldwide of the iPod and iTunes would not have been possible without the Internet.

So have we experienced everything the Internet has to offer? No! Although the appreciation for certain Internet companies is now high time, the future of the Internet is still largely underestimated.

Firstly, the access to the Internet will still be extended. Today the Internet is still mainly accessible via the PC. Tomorrow this will happen via PDA, mobile phone, television, household electronics, GPS system,… Especially the Mobile Internet will play a crucial role in all this and the most relevant information will always and in real-time be available for any consumer.

The use of the Internet is expanding exponentially. Among others, this is made possible by new facilitators who offer the creation and the distribution of content on the easiest way to the non-technical end-user. MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, … are only a few examples of new facilitators that experience a rapid growth.

From the start it has been fascinating to help build the Internet sector in Belgium. With the First Tuesdays we, in collaboration with Best Of, have established a certain dynamic during the first interesting years. With the challenges ahead of us, we are sure that the momentum of the coming years is certified.

We wish Inside another 10 successful years as facilitator of the Belgian Internet business community!

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