John Patrick, former vice president of Internet technology at IBM and now president of the consulting organization Attitude LLC, shared his vision and told how the next steps of Internet evolution will come about.

Many of his expected changes are already arriving, but can’t surface until there are some sweeping changes to the Internet’s framework, and–more importantly–to people’s attitudes, Patrick said.

Having an always-on broadband connection, as opposed to dial-up, opens new possibilities for Internet use, he says. Patrick estimates broadband users are likely to view ten times more Web pages than dial-up users. Those page views aren’t confined to desktop PCs, but also appear on handhelds and convergence devices, he notes. And through wireless access, you can log onto a hotspot and make a phone call using Internet telephony instead of your cell phone–perhaps even without a Voice over IP service provider, he added.

Patrick is a fan of VoIP, and expects it could someday replace your phone. Through a variety of emerging services, you can plug a phone into your PC and pay pennies rather than dollars a minute for long-distance calls.

“I used Net2phone to make a call when I was 9000 miles away from home,” Patrick said. “If I had used my GSM, it would’ve cost 99 cents a minute.” Some VoIp services even support video.

Patrick cited several other innovative online applications. Some college students are reaping the benefits of services like ESuds, which monitors the status of washers and dryers in dorms. When the wash is done, the student gets an instant message. If a machine breaks, it sends a message requesting repair.

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