A newsgroup post from 15 years ago by Tim Berners-Lee entitled “WorldWideWeb — Executive Summary” heralded the development of the language, protocols and architecture of the Internet.

To think 10 years ago I was sitting trying to figure out how to get my 8mb Mac iiCX connected to a 5 hour free trial on CompuServe (who?!) on a 28.8k modem – Took me the whole 5 hours free trial just to download the software! Now am streaming digital video and music all around the flat.

Makes me think what the internet will evolve into in 15 years time?
Hmmmm – try this for starters…

The Web at 30

I find myself shopping in Tesco’s and decided to add a bottle of coke to my basket. To think Tesco’s know exactly which bottle of tagged coke I have just picked up and even where it had been placed on the store, all carefully positioned with what they have learned and no doubt ‘incentivised’ from Coke themselves to gain that prime shopping lane real-estate. The price changed as I had moved toward it up because they know how much I like my Coke and regularly buy it at Tesco’s, and they do like to reward me with my discounts. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the digital price label screens on the bottle of Pepsi all blinking that I was entitled to 3 for the price of 2, “pick me” they sequentially flickered, but I choose to ignore. I walk out of shop and as the label readers automatically adjust stock levels of shop, they also debit my account – simple and quick – how much more complicated life was before I was tagged – I still remember those check out girls of my youth and apparently the prices I now enjoy are attributed to the practically non-existent shop-lifting.

I drive home and as I go past a series of animated billboards, I see them change as my tagged car approaches and as I pass by they all the boards merge together to to show the latest Pepsi advert moving from one to another. There is a beep and as I turn and look down at my virtual 3D sat nav screen – I see those same advertising billboards on screen coupled with a little Pepsi logo blinking on the top right and a small video animation of a girl who is desperate to talk to me. Last time that happened, the wife pressed it and while she was happily enjoying playing the latest Pepsi challenge with her new friend, I was trying to figure out where the heck we were! I realise my in-car music video stream is half way through my fave song, I say ‘replay’ and before it kicks in comes a Pepsi commercial. Why don’t I just pay for the damn music stream I wonder to myself?

I get home, got to the fridge take the half empty bottle of Coke out and replace it with the new one. The labels react to one another in proximity and start playing an animation of the Coke logo with ‘Coca-cola is it’ and ‘enjoy the taste of coca-cola’ on them. Closing my fridge, it adjusts the temperature to best average, tells me what’s in there, what’s out of date and even what I have just taken out. I pour myself a glass of coke, into my free coke glass and put the empty bottle in the bin – and my bin knows…

I turn the TV on and there in the middle of my programme that I downloaded last week for free, come these great new adverts from Coke that I have not seen before… you can’t by pass them – free content always has a space within the video stream that called the relevant video ad sequence in live exactly at point of watching it. The LCD lighting in my room flutters red and white creating a Coke swoosh effect on the wall around me in time to the music backdrop. There is a scrolling animation on the bottom of my screen that shows there’s a news article I asked my colleague to post to me, I feel the vibration of my mobile device to let me know the same. I look at the screen and then at my mobile and in the corner of both alerts is that same little Pepsi logo.

I decide not to view the message here but send it through to my screen in my home office. As I walk into the office my mobile device rings. It’s my daughter phoning, probably to tell me she will be home late, and before I answer I have a choice to watch a 2 second Pepsi blip or to pay for the call. I stand and read the projected message from my colleague and as I go to watch the news stream he has sent, it is preceded by the 15 second Pepsi advert which drops back to that interactive logo at the top right of the stream. As I am watching I see some brown liquid flowing along the top of my video stream and down the right and pouring into a pretty young lady’s open mouth with a tattooed Pepsi logo on her cheek. I move my hand in front of the screen towards her and she turns and tells me “You now you too can enjoy the taste of Pepsi for free, right there within the hour, if I just say ‘give it to me’ out loud to her.”

I walk back into the lounge and I put my branded glass of Coke onto the interactive coffee table in front of me. The table starts to softly glow red with white swoosh’s floating out from around the glass and a lady appears there sitting like a mermaid on one of those white wavy swoosh’s. She says ‘Go on top up your glass, the coke in the fridge is now 5 degrees, just the way you like it’

I carry on with my TV programme. The person in the storyline is now drinking a can of something – is that Coke? Through my on screen pointer I pause the TV of the person drinking and zoom in specifically on the can which comes out of the screen in high definition 3D and allows me to turn the can to read the label and ingredients, as I am spinning it around a little note flies out from behind it it to say if I can buy 6 of these for the price of 5 due to my loyalty to Tesco’s. In fact, buy 12 and they will give me access to some hidden extras to the programme I am watching.

Too good an opportunity to miss I think, so I select “yes” and I get the choice of home delivery or in-store mobile reminder for pick-up with a further discount? I’m at home, what’s 10p when they’ll be coming this way tomorrow anyway with the stuff they didn’t have in store today? I take comfort it’s been added it to my online Tesco shopping account at a touch of a button. My mobile device, beeps again. I look down to read the password for my free extra content and there’s this cute little video animation saying “Coke, you got to love it – thanks for shopping at Tesco’s…”

Welcome to the future! ;-)