The Next Migration

You have probably heard the terms, “browser-based” and “Web-enabled”. These terms refer to the concept of applications or systems, previously hosted on Local Area Networks (LAN’s or Intranets) at your business, that have now migrated to the Internet.

I believe that a huge migration is taking place, and that within a few years, the volume of data and applications resident on your computer or network, will be very small indeed. Already companies like Google are offering “Office” type applications that you use from the Web. ie. there is no expensive application like Microsoft Office actually installed on your computer.

Data Warehousing (hosting) will also be common. Why whould you, as a small to medium company, need to install a Server? This is a specialist task, and will just be outsourced to specialist hosting companies.

Without going into the technicalities, what does this trend mean in terms of change? How will our daily working (and studying) lives change? Here are some clues;

  • All computers will be connected to the Internet by broadband-wired, cable, wireless, satellite or one of a host of innovative connection methods.
  • Computers, (if we can still call them that) will thus be mere terminals to the Internet, using simple Open Source Operating systems (Linux etc) with no loaded applications software. The computers themselves don’t even need any local storage (hard drives) because all data would be on the Internet.
  • All data will be stored off-site (on the Internet) and if, for example, your company wanted to open a new branch, you would merely install the appropriate workstations at this branch, plug them in, and start trading.
  • The concept of in-house “computer experts” and “system administrators” would cease to exist. These geeks would be centralised at data-hosting companies and Software Development houses. A computer and printer “installation” would be as simple as just plugging it in, and switching it on.
  • The big losers would be companies like Microsoft <spit> who, unless they embraced Open Source, and formed partnerships with the chip and hardware manufacturers to package on-board Operating Systems costing $1 – $2 each, would just disappear off of the radar screen.
  • The big winners would be Google and the other companies with a head start in Web-based services. Also the Open Source community, who have built a business model around “free” software.
  • linux-penguin.jpg

  • For you and I, cheaper, faster and simpler computers and other Internet-connected devices in our homes, offices, cars and carried as portable devices.
  • And lastly, this is the one I really don’t like. Physical newspapers and books really belong in the ark, and are destined to be superseded by online media. Problem is, I really cannot picture myself sitting on the toilet reading a computer screen !!


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