Tim Berners-Lee & the trends driving the Web's future

The history of the World Wide Web is all about finding better ways to transmit information; the future of the Web will be all about what we do with that information. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the Web’s inventor, shared his hopes for the future of Web at the recent IP EXPO event in London. And in a word, the future of the Web is all about data
Here are 3 of the big ideas from his speech:

  • We need to reimagine “Big Data.”  Big Data might be a hot buzzword right now, but Berners-Lee argued we should focus on “Rich Data” instead. Our ability to turn data into insights doesn’t depend on the size of the data set, so much as its context, he said. At Microsoft, we’ve seen customers prove this time and time again. When you’re trying to use data to radically rethink your approach to customer service, you can’t look at just one facet of their transaction history. You need to be able to see whole people if you want fans instead of customers. The same principle holds true if you’re trying to transform elevators, an office campus, or even a whole city.
  • We need openness in data.  Everyone knows that information silos kill innovation. But most organisations don’t take their approach to openness far enough, Berners-Lee argued. “Don't give me a nice website with visualisations of your data. Give me the raw data, so I can merge it with what I want, so I can find out what that data looks like next to this data. That's open data!” We’ve seen that when organisations take a truly open approach to data, it can help improve service and even transform an organisation’s culture.
  • We need to push the boundaries of data analysis.  As important as the current generation of insights are, they’re nothing compared to what will come next. “Yes, computers are getting faster. But more importantly, they're getting smarter," said Berners-Lee. The advent of affordable cloud services means that anyone can have access to unbelievable processing power. We’re already seeing hints of how cloud tools will transform everything frommaintenance to language translation to medical imaging. But that’s just the start. The organisations that prosper from the next wave of Web innovations, will be ones will to push the limits today.

That future sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? But Berners-Lee took pains to impress on his audience that these ideas are just his hopes for the future of the Web. They are “instructions, not predictions” he told the crowd. It will be up to us to build a Web worthy of these ideals. "We have to remember that the future is something we build. Nothing will happen if we just wait,” he said.

If you enjoy listening to visionary talks from some of the brightest minds around, register to attend Future Decoded on 10th November at ExCel London. You’ll hear Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Sir Bob Geldof, Jeremy Paxman, Dame Stella Rimington, Sara Murray OBE, Sir Martin Sorrell and Ronan Dunne share their perspectives on the future of business, society, education and more!