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The Evolving Internet: Driving Forces, Uncertainties and Four Scenarios to 2025

The Evolving Internet: Driving Forces, Uncertainties and Four Scenarios to 2025
with co-authors Enrique Rueda-Sabader, Cisco Systems; Don Derosby, Monitor GBN

Monday, October 25th, 4:00pm

South Hall, room 202

What will the Internet be like in 2025?

How much bigger will it have grown from today’s 2 billion users and $3 trillion market?

Will it have achieved its full potential to connect the world’s entire population in ways that advance global prosperity, business productivity, education and social interaction?

Or will it be something less?

Cisco and the Monitor Group’s Global Business Network, the world leader in scenario planning, have published “The Evolving Internet,” a report examining the driving forces and uncertainties that will — in whatever combination — shape the path of the Internet over the next 15 years.

In four scenarios — the result of more than a year’s worth of research, data collection and interviews — different potential pathways are described and detailed. The scenarios suggest how a range of critical factors might play out, such as net neutrality policies, infrastructure investments, consumer response to new pricing models, and technology adoption.

One scenario describes a familiar roadmap in which the Internet continues on its trajectory of unbridled expansion and product and service innovation. The other three challenge that future, and in the process illuminate various risks and opportunities that lie ahead for both business leaders and policy makers.

Notes Enrique Rueda-Sabater, report co-author and Cisco’s director of strategy and economics for emerging markets, “The next 2 or 3 billion Internet users will be mostly in emerging markets and very different from the first 2 billion; global business models and national policies will fail if they are based on old expectations of behavior, preferences, and success.”

Adds GBN cofounder and Monitor Partner Peter Schwartz, a major contributor to the work, “We can’t predict the future, but we do know that the Internet-related choices being made in 2010 will have long-term consequences — intended and unintended. We hope these scenarios will foster a deeper strategic conversation in and across the technology and policy communities about the impact of today’s decisions tomorrow.”

An interdisciplinary team led by Cisco and GBN have examined the driving forces and uncertainties that will shape the Internet — and the $3 trillion market (… and counting) it enables — from now through 2025. Their findings culminate in four illustrative scenarios, designed to help decision-makers in both technology companies and government understand, anticipate, and manage key changes, risks, and opportunities so that the Internet’s potential to create economic and social value can be realized globally.

The report’s illustrative sets of implications are indicative of how the scenarios can help leaders spot opportunities and make wiser decisions about tomorrow, today. The complete report may be found at www.monitor.com and http://newsroom.cisco.com.

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