Tech Expert Daniel Burrus on 3D Web Browsers and the Future of the Internet
The Internet has changed drastically in the past two decades, yet the most radical innovation to date may be just on the horizon, says world-renowned business strategist and technology futurist Daniel Burrus. The advent of the 3D Web is near, he says, and it will be unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Despite the Internet’s maturity, Web pages remain essentially flat, two-dimensional entities. While we can embed dynamic objects like videos and interactive modules into Websites, information is still presented to us in a two-dimensional form—as if it were laid out on a piece of paper. However, we are on the cusp of Web 3.0, says Burrus, when the future of the Internet will become a three-dimensional, fully immersive experience.1
Web 3.0 will fundamentally transform how we experience and interact with Websites. Using a 3D Web browser, users will enter and explore online environments as if they were physical, three-dimensional spaces that create an experience akin to entering a store and looking around, as opposed to reading the information on a flat surface or viewing an embedded video. And you wouldn’t have to wear special glasses. You’ll probably be using your personal computer, smartphone or tablet—all of which have a relatively small viewing angle. That means you can have a fully immersive 3D experience without wearing cumbersome glasses.
“For example, suppose you’re looking to buy a new car, so you go to the 3D Website of your favorite car dealer. Once there, you’ll be able to not only look at the new models available, but also go inside the showroom, walk around, open the doors of the cars and sit inside, check out how much headroom and legroom you have, and look at the interior and open all the compartments,” Burrus explains. “You’ll also be able to start the car and listen to the engine. Having good speakers will help! You can open the trunk and put some virtual golf clubs in to see how they fit. When you close the car door, you’ll hear it slam exactly as it would sound in real life.”
“Do you want to take the car for a test-drive? You will be able to select what road, city, or country you would like to take your virtual test-drive in. All will be available with the point of your finger or the click of a mouse,” he explains.
The technology already exists, in a sense; videogames are an excellent example of what the 3D Web may look like. Therefore, it’s just a matter of creating a browser that effectively interprets 3D interfaces—a development that could upset the established Internet corporation hierarchy—and the company to develop the first 3D Web browser will become “an enviable and formidable competitor,” says Burrus.
Web 3.0 will also affect the U.S.’s growing technologies workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for Information Security Analysts, Web developers and Computer Network Architects to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020,2 but this projection does not take into account the potential impact of an industrywide 3D overhaul. Burrus predicts that the future of the Internet—Web 3.0—will further increase demand for graphic artists, Web designers and programmers.
According to Apple, between 2007 and 2012, there were 290,000 new jobs created designing and developing iOS apps in the U.S.,3 and that was during a global recession. “The need for 3D Web designers will grow at a similar rate as companies and organizations of every size will want to take advantage of the new capabilities that 3D will bring to the Web,” he says.
Moreover, 3D Web browsers and technology will create a need for continuing and supplementary education programs to help current industry professionals adapt to the new platform. When a 3D Web browser is finally developed, it will introduce a new breed of Websites that will require developers with knowledge of the 3D technology and the specific skill sets needed to work efficiently in the Web’s evolved medium.4
“Designing a Website involves much more than writing code—it involves collaboration with graphic artists and social media experts, as well as marketing and sales professionals, to name just a few. All will need to learn new things in order to maximize the benefits Web 3.0 will offer,” notes Burrus.
The concept of such a fundamental shift in the way Websites are designed, programmed and used may seem overwhelming for some. However, the growing pains of technological innovation are easily mitigated by strategic foresight, says Burrus: “Disruptive technology is only disruptive if you didn’t look and see it coming.”5