Mapping key themes for the year

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Since I joined the Web Consortium I've had the pleasure to meet a number of our Members and the W3C Team, and a growing number of contributors. I have been impressed by the passion for the mission to lead the community in defining a World Wide Web that puts users first, by developing technical standards and guidelines to empower an equitable, informed, and interconnected society.

Looking back

I believe in the Web as a single worldwide platform to connect humanity. The collective efforts in the past 30 years across the world to make it what it is today is one of the greatest global achievements.

I have a deep admiration and respect for all of the team, all of the members, and the Web community at large who have coalesced around what the web needs to serve people, and made it a reality. I am happy to now be a part of it.

The unimaginable impact it has had on the world is in large part due to the decision to make the web protocols open standards instead of a walled garden. But also, technologies that meet the deep needs of society do not happen by chance. They are designed and standardized, not by one company, country, or community, but through the work of the Web Consortium, which has earned trust, acted as a global and neutral body and scaled along with the Web.

W3C works at problems that are at the nexus of three axes: core technology, industry needs, and societal needs. These are areas of constant change, which stimulates a need for interoperability and standardization. Engineers come to W3C's community groups to innovate. Companies - large and small - come to W3C to achieve interoperability. As we move forward, we continue to facilitate interoperability and ecosystem collaboration and seek to expand the benefits a vendor-neutral forum can provide.

We’ve seen changes to personal and social interaction, commerce, to how we access services, how we engage with our government, and more. We are shaping a Web that has evolved into a multi-faceted platform enabling people to thrive.

2024 is our 30th year. 30 years of gathering incredible experts, of honing the best and fairest process to develop Standards, of shepherding Member contributions and innovations according to key principles and values. Through our work together, today is better than yesterday. I’m confident that together, tomorrow will be better than today.

Looking forward

The past decade has seen key enhancements in video, real-time communications, payments on the web, and cryptographic authentication. The stream of possibilities continues based on new standardization work recently started, or, further out in time, incubation work underway in our community groups. Examples of that include immersive (VR/AR), machine and federated learning, high performance graphics and high dynamic range color. But there are growth opportunities and big ideas in the Web community also around Smart Devices, Digital Trust, Green computing and more.

I am looking forward to making sustainability a new key aspect and goal of web standards. We built in the W3C Process Document our dedication to security, privacy, internationalization and web accessibility. It is high time we designed and implemented digital products and services that put the planet first.

With W3C's new corporate entity being a 501(c)(3) organization, we exist in the eyes of the US government, for the public good. While it is nice to get the formal legal recognition of something that so many of us already know which we've demonstrated by being committed to being a global organization, this gives us further incentive to pursue new avenues which put people first.

There’s a lot of predictions about what the next big thing might be. While I’m going to avoid making big predictions myself, I will say that without enablement through global standards, none of them will be as big as they could be. These technologies, whether burgeoning or maturing, each have a common underlying framework, without ensuring they are accessible by all, secure, maintain privacy, respect the planet, and work anywhere in the world, they will not be able to reach their full potential.

This is our mission. And with our new responsibility to work for the public good by making available the best consensus process, the best patent policy, the best forum for corporations big and small and the public to develop the Web that best serves people, I am looking forward to growing the Consortium to meet the demands and deliver on promising opportunities to enable a better, interconnected world.

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