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App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

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January 1, 2008 11:46 AM

Reviewing 2007 in Review and Forecasting 2008 Forecasts

To start off the new year, I'd thought about putting together a post of all the 2007 year-in-review and 2008 predictions articles I'd come across as they relate to the Internet and the use of broadband.

While perusing my RSS reader yesterday, I discovered that I was far from the first to do this, perhaps best exemplified by Cynthia Brumfeld over at IPDemocracy.com. She's produced two charts: one of 24 Year-in-Review Articles and one of the Top 16 Articles That Feature 2008 Predictions.

So, having been beat to this proverbial punch, instead I want to highlight a few similar articles not included on her list that for good or bad made me think more deeply about the recent past and oncoming future of the Internet.

Consumer Apps: 2007 Year in Review
This ReadWriteWeb.com post highlights, in my opinion, how the broadband app space is still too focused on me-too applications that don't do much to further society. Social networking is the main area of discussion, following by talk of personal publishing.

These apps are certainly not bad things, it's just that they tend to create a world that's somewhat separate, even tangential, to the rest of society. People are expected to join these networks to be part of a group, but to what end? People are encouraged to publish writings about their life, but who cares? It's not that social networks and personal publishing aren't being used for good, it's just that the majority of the effort put into these endeavors, both by developers and users, doesn't seem aimed at any end other than filling up pages with content, creating shallow relationships with strangers, and sharing random tidbits with friends. Again, I'm not against these technologies, I'm just frustrated by the fact it seems like we could and should be getting more good out of using them.

The last three trends they mention are IPTV, web office, and iPhone. These are all trends that really matter as getting video over the Internet, finding new ways to be productive, and having mobile experiences that matter will be three of the biggest drivers of demand for bandwidth in 2008.

2008 Web Predictions
You'll find lots of interesting thoughts in this list of predictions from ReadWriteWeb.com. The only problem is that they all seem to be too insular, aimed at people in the know, describing things that will happen to further the existing paradigm rather than introduce new opportunities.

Internet development, at least that which gets the most publicity, is still focused on "consumer" apps that deal with entertainment or communication. This reality bears out by the fact that not a single prediction found herein regarding web applications talks about the use of broadband in healthcare or education or government.

I've decided that one of my missions for 2008 is to talk to more applications developers in the hopes of convincing them to focus at least some of their efforts on developing things that could benefit society at large.

Drama 2.0 Predicts What Won't Happen in 2008
Is it a bad sign when the predictions article I agree with the most is the one predicting all the things that won't happen in the coming year? Predictions like "The Majority of Web 2.0 Startups Won't Develop Scalable Long-Term Business Models" and "There Won't Be Much Innovation" found in this Mashable.com post unfortunately ring too true.

And the reasons for these anti-trends are in large part the issues I've lamented earlier in this article. The Internet space is still too caught up in its own hype, developing within its own bubble, catering to the early adopters who are already there. If the Internet really wants to grow up, spread its wings, and find the marketshare needed to grow and continue to innovate, the broadband industry needs to start focusing more on engaging all of society with broadband apps.

Despite these concerns, I'm hopeful that '08 may be the year we see the first apps that are designed to be must-haves for everyone that will break free from the boy's club of the Internet to benefit everyone.

Mashable's 2008 Predictions: Mark's List
This list of predictions is still a little industry-centric, but I liked it because the predictions are all well-reasoned and explained and all seem likely to happen. If you're interested in websites becoming the new operating systems, the push towards common logins between applications, and/or the business of online video, I'd encourage you to read this post.

Looking, back, looking forward: Best of 2007 and predictions for 2008
This article cites a decent mix of trends from 2007, including online video, open access, and casual gaming, but I have to admit my dismay at reading through their predictions for '08. Three out of the seven focus on the wireless space in some way, whether it's the devices or the networks.

The reason I bemoan this attention isn't because I'm anti-wireless--I think wireless access is a crucial piece of the broadband ecosphere--I'm just worried that we're going to get so caught up in hyping mobile that we'll lose site of wireline applications that demand more bandwidth, and that we'll get distracted by the glitz of new mobile apps and not pay enough attention to those mobile apps that may benefit society, like falling over ourselves about mobile video without considering the possibilities of mobile pain diaries or electronic medical records.


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Comments (1)


I agree 100%. We don't see nearly as much as we should about apps here in the U.S. that can and will benefit our society.

Live interaction between health professionals and patients
Remote monitoring and chronic disease management Reduced healthcare costs and accessibility

Distance education including real time study groups for kids after school

Enabling people with disabilities to overcome the limitations and empower them to live and work independently

E-Goverment and civic participation

Public safety

While social networking and video are good, these are just a few of the apps we should really be focusing on. We are far behind many other countries when it comes to this. And yes while wireless has come a long way these apps will require true high speed broadband.

Posted by Roger Osburne on January 2, 2008 10:36 AM

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