The traditional viewpoint of describing the Internet is fundamentally that the Internet is a utility. Just as electricity and water are described as utilities, the Internet is seen as the new utility. The implication of a utility is that an organisation cannot survive long without it.
How long would a bank, a hotel or university function without water or electricity? The length of time an organisation can continue with its daily activities without these core services can be measured in hours, or minutes at best. The Internet is already seen in this light in various organizations, where normal business activities are severely hampered without access to the Internet. Just as it is expected to find electricity and water in any commercial building you enter, so will the Internet be expected to be present.
Inexpensive and reliable access to broadband Internet, next to access to electricity and running water, will become one of the non-negotiable criteria as foreign firms analyse the infrastructure of a country with an eye on long term fixed investment.
Countries without broadband Internet will have the same chance of success in the foreign investment stakes as those without access to electricity.
This description of the Internet as utility is correct, yet still founded in the client-server paradigm. A more comprehensive description is required in order to understand the real nature of the Pervasive computing paradigm.
The description of the Pervasive computing paradigm is quite simple, yet it is deemed important to take a slightly longer route to provide a broader understanding of the Pervasive computing paradigm and the impact it will have on organizations, business and society at large.
Internet connectivity everywhere
The longer route to understanding where the Internet is going starts with this command to you, the reader.
Stick your finger in the air. In the 1 mm square space of air at the tip of your fingertip you will find waves that carry at least radio 200 radio stations and more than 60 television stations. (If you do not believe me, use a radio receiver and a TV satellite dish to verify my claims.) At your fingertip you will also find radio waves that you can use to access the Internet. Within a few seconds you can log onto any Internet server or website via your cellular phone or PDA with a press of a button.
The Internet will undergo substantial alteration as optical technologies allow the transmission of many trillions of bits per second on each strand of the Internet’s fiber-optic backbone network. The core of the network will remain optical, and the edges will use a mix of access technologies, ranging from radio and infrared to optical fiber and the old twisted-pair copper telephone lines. By then, the Internet will have been extended, by means of an interplanetary Internet backbone, to operate in outer space.
This simply means that Internet connectivity will be available everywhere you are. You will be able to access the Internet in the middle of the ocean, or if you find yourself in the International Space Station. Your access to the net will then be directly via satellite, whereas your choice of access on land will be far larger.
The most common link to the Internet when you are in travelling across the country is the data line provided by your GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network, and in some cases their GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) service. In cities and towns you will find Wi-Fi hotspots (wireless Internet connectivity hubs). You will incidentally find these in airports and even in aircraft from 2004 onwards. The whole west coast of the USA will be covered before the decade ends. Bluetooth and Ultra Wide Band technology will also play its role in making the Internet accessible wherever we are. This is the true nature behind the Ubiquitous Commerce paradigm, as we become more and more connected, linked to the Internet 24 hours day, 7 days a week, wherever we are. No longer will an Internet server claim the sole right to be always connected to the Internet, we as humans will be always connected with the devices we carry in our pockets. If we like it or not, we are already part of the Internet.
No longer is mankind born into radio space, we are born into Internet space.

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