Getting Nearer to the ‘Obvious’ Web 3.0?

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I can recall a time when using a Web browser and accessing the Web (I guess ‘Web 1.0′ in those days!), was the domain of the specialist alone. And I can recall a time when everyone I knew used the Web as if it was entirely natural. Trying to remember exactly when the change happened […]

I can recall a time when using a Web browser and accessing the Web (I guess ‘Web 1.0′ in those days!), was the domain of the specialist alone. And I can recall a time when everyone I knew used the Web as if it was entirely natural. Trying to remember exactly when the change happened is more tricky – but I guess that’s the point – it was a transition supported by underlying conditions and an understanding of the benefits spreading across social networks.
And so to Web 3.0. A collection of concepts, inventions and specialist use yet to be adopted by the masses – with adoption by the masses being the greatest test of course of the usefulness of a thing!
I had the privilege of being invited to host on behalf of Chris Harding and the Open Group in Paris earlier this week a stream on ‘Web 3.0’. We started the conversation by reminding ourselves that there was a day when ‘Web 1.0’ wasn’t an obvious concept to the masses, and then there was a day when it was.
With this front of mind three seemingly obvious Web 3.0 concepts came out of each of the presentations we had – one technology focused, one consumer focused, and one trend sense-making focused.

To my mind the three concepts that came out also seemed to be expressible to both business and IT communities – essential to them being truly mass adoptable.
Perhaps this doesn’t yet represent understanding and adoption by the masses but it does at least seem to represent a more common understanding of the things that are really required to bring Web 3.0 benefits into the mainstream. Sam Ceccola of BEA, Kurt Kammerer of VI Agents, and Nigel Green of Capgemini while each bringing unique perspectives seemed to share 3 common, and in essense ‘obvious’ Web 3.0 concepts:
– The concept of domains of interaction each with their own vocabulary – either pre-agreed (like an ontology) or community evolved (like a folksonomy) or a combination – enabling information to be usefully made available to both people and software agents
– The concept of event processing as opposed to transaction processing – i.e. the ability to be able to identify and make relationships between real-world events as a trigger for transactions
– The concept of _explicitly_ applying the ‘consumer’ Web model to ‘enterprise IT’ – so in fact there is no distinction – but with appropriate organisational values, policies and trust relationships applied to Web services used by the enterprise
We also heard from Nigel Green that some Web 3.0 concepts could actually be the ‘killer application for SOA’. An intriguing assessment where SOA is more focused on exposing information services rather than functional services – thereby helping to ‘externalise’ information to be useful to any system (or more precisely software agent) or any person.
In a sense much of the ‘Web 3.0’ technology and standards are already around us – with rapid developments underway – but the obvious concepts for their incremental adoption have perhaps been to date more elusive.
You may wish to view the Open Group presentations when they’re published, but to my mind we heard at least 3 ‘Web 3.0’ concepts at the Open Group that seemed obvious to the group!

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