The Internet’s meteoric rise is far from over. The party is just beginning.
Those were the unfettered observations of revelers at the Summer Internet World 97 show in Chicago last week. They say the 2-year-old industry is not even close to peaking in popularity - in fact, it’s on the cusp of another boom period.
“We see no end in sight,” said Alan Taffel, vice president of marketing and business development at Uunet Technologies Inc., a Fairfax, Va., Internet service provider. “This is just the start of a long-term phenomenon.”
The biggest opportunity, industry observers said, is in big business, where many corporations still rely on leased lines and public data services for communications. Many are just now turning to the Internet, after balking because of concerns over online security and quality of service.
Others said the integration of “killer apps,” - software programs that improve video, sound and fax services on the Net - will fuel even greater growth in the corporate and consumer markets.
In a keynote speech at the conference, Novell Inc. chief executive Eric Schmidt said the Web will provide companies with a “service model” for “information utilities.”
All told, the momentum of the Net appears to be unstoppable, said show goers at Internet World.
“The rate of change on the Internet is like dog years. For every year in the PC market, it’s like seven on the Internet,” said Brewster Kahle, chief executive of San Francisco-based Alexa Internet, one of 300 exhibitors at the show. “It is a blistering pace.”
Uunet has come up with its own phrase to describe the widespread acceptance of the Net: “Internet Law.”
Based on “Moore’s Law,” which states that the performance of a personal computer will double every 18 months at the same price, “Internet Law” claims that the data-transmission capacity demands of consumers doubles every three to four months.
“Our network has to grow by a factor of 10 every year,” Taffel said. “What other industry is even close to that rate?”
The Internet’s rapid growth has forced industry heavyweights such as IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. to scramble to weave the Web into their sprawling business operations.
“The Internet evolution is creating a business revolution,” said Dave Hinman, Internet business development manager at Palo Alto-based HP.
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