The Internet speeds continued to get faster while prices dropped dramatically and more and more people
incorporated digital into the way they lived, learned, worked and played.
The emergence of the web in 1993 was a combination of existing telephone networks, personal computers and
the web browser to make information accessible. At that time, there was a small amount of information online,
it was slow and expensive to access. As time passed, more and more information became available online.
Government and universities were early adopters and then, in the late 1990’s we saw the rapid adoption by
businesses in the form of websites with the ability to buy products and services online.
In the early days, it was difficult to set up online services of any complexity. Software was expensive,
organisations had to manage their own hosting infrastructure or have it managed by a hosting company.
Websites were often built from scratch requiring design and development work. The ongoing operation
involved identifying fi xes and functionality, updating content, as well as measurement and reporting. It also
meant that organisations needed to access a wide range of new skills that weren’t always readily available.
The 2000’s saw some major changes. As the Internet became more pervasive, there was an increasing focus
on individuals sharing their content. People began publishing blogs using free software, YouTube provided
the opportunity for anyone to share videos online, Wikipedia emerged as the world’s most comprehensive
encyclopaedia, payment systems such as PayPal made eCommerce easier, Facebook connected family and
friends and Amazon launched its Web Services group which made hosting cheaper and simpler.
Software went from something that you installed and managed to something you accessed as you required.
The move to software-as-a-service (SaaS), or what we now call cloud services, meant that individuals and
organisations could use the software they needed without long implementation cycles and high up-front costs.
Prior to this time, success with digital technology generally came to those who outspent others, contrastingly,
the new digital era meant success went to those who out-thought and out-executed others as software prices
plummeted to the extent that there was often a small monthly fee or in many cases, available for free.
The emergence of smartphones and tablets at the end of the decade meant that rather than computers,
devices designed for the digital era were in our pockets, and always connected at high speed through 3G
networks and WiFi. As the Internet became mobile, things like paper maps became obsolete as we could
navigate anywhere with our devices leveraging the GPS satellites in space.
All the while this digital activity meant we were generating ever increasing amounts of data, we would learn to
make use of over the next decade.
The fundamentals of the digital era were forming Cloud, Mobile, Social and Data.