Internet Innovation Stack

The Internet Innovation Stack is a framework for categorizing, tracking, analyzing, and telling narratives about innovations impacting the Internet.

A summary of the stack is shown in Figure 1.

Internet Innovation Stack, V0.4, August 7th, 2020

The following provides a brief overview of each section of the stack, with links to more detail information, including timelines for mainstream adopting.


  • The equipment we use to access the Internet.
  • Already pervasively deployed: PCs, Laptops, Smartphones, Gaming Devices
  • On the ascendency: IoT. VR, AR


  • Approaches to moving information from point A to point B
  • Already pervasively deployed: IPv4, IP/MPLS, Ethernet, BGP, OSPF, IS-IS
  • On the Ascendency: EVPN, SR MPLS, SRv6, IPv6, pluggable optics, Netconf, Controllers, 5G, RIFT, SD-WAN, Quantum Networking,

For more detail, see: Internet Innovation Stack (Networking)


  • Approaches to inspecting and manipulating information
  • Already pervasively deployed: CPU, GPU, DSP, NPU
  • On the ascendency: ML-training silicon, ML-inference silicon, DPU, Quantum Computing


  • Approaches to information at rest / information storage and retrieval
  • Already pervasively deployed: Hard drives
  • On the ascendency: Flash


Information is included in the framework even though it is not a technology per se, but because a) it is a distinguishable thing from the technologies that operate compute functions on it, move it, and store it, and b) it has a special importance in the information economy, and most especially in the age of AI/ML; it has been called the “oil” of the AI/ML world. What creates it, who owns it, who has access to it, are all essential issues in the modern digital economy. The Internet has been referred to as the “Information Superhighway”.


  • Approaches to provisioning and managing IT resources.
  • Already previously deployed: DevOps
  • On the ascendency: System Reliability Engineering

Development Models

  • Approaches to getting software code written
  • Already deployed: closed-source & open-source
  • On the ascendency: Not currently tracking anything

Software technologies

  • Approaches to specifying and organizing code
  • Already deployed:
    • OS, hypervisor, VM, Containers
    • C, C++, Java, Python, Javascript
  • Ascendent:
    • Serverless
    • Go

AI / ML / Analytics

  • Approaches to creating/executing models for autonomous action and decision making
  • Already previously deployed:
    • Statistical analysis, machine learning, narrow artificial intelligence
  • On the ascendency: General artificial intelligence


  • Approaches to providing consumers and business goods & services over the Internet
  • Already pervasively deployed: centralized social media, e-commerce
  • On the ascendency: blockchain, cryptocurrencies, distributed applications

Government & culture

  • The impact of regulation and social attitudes on the Internet
  • Already pervasive:
    • Information privacy laws, widespread mistrust of information & social media platforms.
  • On the ascendency:
    • TBD


  • Approaches to obfuscating or protecting information & applications from unauthorized use

Business Models

  • Approaches to creating, delivering, and capturing value
  • Current:
    • Product, Service
    • Purchase, perpetual, subscription, usage-based
  • Ascendent:
    • Not currently tracking