The advent of Web 2.0 allowed users to go beyond the passive consumption of web content, enabling them to participate fully in the actual generation of content on any number of new media. This shift has been a huge boon to businesses, allowing them to mine rich veins of data about the online behaviour and activities of consumers, thus boosting both online sales and web marketing efforts. Yet the next stage of the web is already on the horizon, and it will offer an entirely new level of connectivity, communications and information on customers, including their attitudes and preferences.

Web 3.0 – what we call the “transcendent web” – has four key elements:

  • The “social web” will greatly enhance the capabilities of social networking, allowing for more powerful search, location, recommendation and similar services.
  • The “semantic web” will connect all the web’s data and information much more closely, enabling contextually-based search and research.
  • The “internet of things” will let web-connected machines of all kinds communicate with each other and with us, creating a rich flow of data about their location and status.
  • And thanks to advances in “artificial intelligence”, all this information can be aggregated and analysed to further refine search, recommendations, and other kinds of information filtering.

The result for users will be a far more personalised online experience; companies will benefit through a much greater flow of data they can apply to product development, marketing and sales, daily operations, and more.

Fulfilling the promise of the transcendent web will take time. But every company should be planning for its arrival by opening business systems to the increased flow of data, investigating new data management and tagging techniques, and developing the skills and capabilities that will be needed when the transcendent web becomes a reality.

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