As the most important application environment, the Internet and its services, need to be taken into account as well when making predictions. Furthermore, more and more people are getting familiar with the Internet (in general), and more and more are making their first trips on it:
However, after the initial period of introduction, many new users run into several problems. One of the most important is having difficulties finding (specific) information:
Contrary to what may be expected, this does not have a negative influence on the perception of the usefulness of the Internet as a source of information:
Agents can be of great help to users that are searching for (specific) information. In fact, from the preceding it can be concluded that it is of vital importance that this functionality is offered.
Probably within a year, safe payment methods will be available which make it possible to easily make many small payments  on the Internet. This will strongly stimulate the demand for agents and agent-enabled applications, as performing information searches inefficiently, does not only cost you time but also money. Weighing the (value of) offered services and information of the numerous suppliers against the money that has to be paid for (retrieving) it, will be a task that is too complicated for humans to do all by themselves. Instead, in the medium term, they will farm out this task to agents. (See chapter four for more about this.)
Another medium term development may be a further rise of the number of Intranets. Intranets are well manageable (also financially), they are well suited for multi-media applications, can act as a gateway to the Internet, and are basically secure (compared to the rather insecure Internet). For the rest, they have all the good qualities of the Internet (e.g. openness, robustness).
 As long as most of the Internet services are free (largely due to the fact that there are not yet safe methods to make many small payments on the Internet - see next footnote), commercial parties will be very inclined to do so. Non-commercial parties (such as the various governments) do not have sufficient funds to fully meet the increased demand for bandwidth.
 In the near-future it is very likely that very small amounts of money will need to be paid for each page of information that is retrieved. The exact amount does not have to be more than a few cents, as information pages (especially popular ones) get retrieved so often, that only small charges will be sufficient to cover the costs that have to be made to put the information on-line.
To make this system work (i.e. interesting for Internet users), there should preferably be no, or virtually none (i.e. not more than a few cents), overhead costs per payment.
 It is predicted that Intranets will, within a few years, become much cheaper alternatives for expensive groupware packages such as Lotus Notes. Some even argue that "Internet technologies are much more relevant and exploitable within a local LAN [i.e. an Intranet], right now, than over much slower, dial-up access routes associated with typical home-access to the Internet" (from "The Intranet - a Corporate Revolution" by JSB Computer Systems Ltd).
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