The internet was never meant to be static. Its inventors always envisioned various stages of evolution for this interconnected global network that has become integral to our daily lives. Web 3.0 promises to usher in another era that far exceeds anything we’ve seen to date.
The internet became popular in the late 1990s, and what we call Web 1.0 pushed information and access we never had before. It essentially replaced encyclopedias, phonebooks and other references. Right from the beginning, people clamored for easier ways to create and share content. With Web 2.0 the internet became much more interactive with wikis, video, podcasting, personal publishing and social media, but it was still, in essence, two dimensional. Now, we’re at the forefront of Web 3.0.
What It’s All About
2022 might be the year where Web 3.0 really starts to manifest, and it will have far-reaching implications. One of the catalysts for pushing us forward into Web 3.0 has been the Covid-19 pandemic. We saw this in 2021 as work and education were forced to go virtual with Web 3.0 concepts and technology. With the current state of the pandemic, we might continue to see increased acceleration along the Web 3.0 curve.
There are several key elements to Web 3.0, namely:
Semantic Web: systems that allow internet information to be machine readable.
Artificial Intelligence: intelligence demonstrated by machines, as opposed to people.
3-D Graphics: truly immersive user experiences.
Connectivity: increased internet access and speed.
Ubiquity: internet everywhere all the time through a wide range of “smart” devices.
It starts with immersive technology and interoperable profiles — interactive learning, games and all types of media and commerce that flow in and out of a virtual world. We’re starting to think about the virtualization of individual content and media and how people will interact with those elements.
When it comes to business on this new frontier, identify your objectives and what you hope to accomplish before diving in headfirst. Web 3.0 will not be for the faint of heart. You’ll need to discuss it with your cybersecurity, business intelligence and compliance teams, and obviously your communications design teams. You’ll have to work with these professionals to ensure you have a flexible, fluid Web 3.0 presence that meets the needs of your customers. The things you think you want to achieve might change throughout the process.
With Web 1.0, there wasn’t an interactive guide to the internet because the rules were being written on the fly. By the time we reached Web 2.0, the average person could easily engage in interactivity. With Web 3.0, we’re primed for a higher level of interactivity. The analogy I like to use is crawl, walk, run.
Drawbacks And Pitfalls
There are two sides to Web 3.0. We’re already becoming a society that does less and less in “real life.” Many of us shop online more than we do in physical stores; we text instead of call. With its immersive nature, Web 3.0 might well bring on the hermit stage of human experience.
There is always a generational divide anytime you introduce something new. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a banking solution or a new flavor of potato chips, we don’t market everything the same way to everyone. How many flavors of ice cream does Baskin-Robbins have? 31? It’s more like 1,400, but each franchisee picks the flavors that best suit their local demographics. It’s not one-size-fits-all. Web 3.0 might mean something different to older people than it does to Gen-Z.
When cellphones first took off, everyone was looking for that “killer app,” and it turned out to be text messaging and alternative communications platforms like Skype, WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram and others. With Web 3.0, I believe the next “killer app” will be DIDComm messaging, which uses decentralized identifiers (DIDs) to identify each of us without revealing any personal identifiable information (PII). We often think of single transportable telephone numbers as a ubiquitous way to communicate across everything from mobile devices to social media, but DIDs will make communications like messaging, social interactions, peer-to-peer payments and information transfer more secure as everyone will be verified without having to divulge PII.
As we create avatars that represent us in this new virtual online experience, we need to ensure that the people we’re dealing with are real people we want to engage with. Identity fraud in the credit card industry alone costs $30 billion a year worldwide. DIDComm should solve many of these issues by putting PII and the sharing of it back under user control. Once DIDs come into play, we’ll be able to trust the information from an individual because it will be cryptographically certified.
Web 3.0 offers inclusivity and empowerment, expanded and accelerated learning through VR/AR experiences, immersive interactivity, decentralized and democratized ownership and financial concepts and much more. It’s tremendously exciting and promises to go far beyond the video conferencing we’ve all experienced over the past two years, instead allowing us to virtually interact with people in secure, private environments, creating new and exciting personal and business experiences.