The current Internet gives users quick access to data and the ability to send and receive e-mail, but it doesn't transmit audio, video or extensive graphics very efficiently yet. Enter what Burrus terms the "second" Internet, which will, on average, deliver information about 1,000 times faster than the current Internet. Direct broadcast satellite, cable modems and broad-band ISDN are just some of the emerging technologies that will handle the job, Burrus says.
As a result, CD-quality audio, high-quality graphics, 3-D simulations and virtual reality will all become possible. "Smart" Web pages and, soon after, smart Web channels via cable and direct broadcast satellite will evolve to deliver information at warp speed.
It won't look like the Internet we know now, though. "We're going to see these technologies," says Burrus, "but the consumer will hardly know they're there because they'll be sort of `behind the scenes.' "
Entrepreneurs on the Web who believe they have several years to build high-quality audio, video and graphics for their Web sites are sadly mistaken, says Burrus. Now is the time to begin developing them if you want to be prepared for the coming changes, keep up with consumer expectations and remain on the cutting edge.