Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – “Inflection point” is a popular team these days, and it certainly applies to the ever-growing world of the web and Internet.

For the moment, businesses, developers and users are absorbing the potential of many tools that are coming available in a confluence of events and technology that provide the potential for vaulting the Net into a new world of user experience.

The Immersive Internet.

Will you and your company turn upward in growth following the inflection point when the forces of change combine to ignite an explosion similar to that generated by the Internet, the web and networks?

Or will you miss the turning point and curve southward, missing the chance to ride upward a wave of new developments, applications, products and markets?

We are talking about real-world, more realistic, more useful virtual reality, 3D, real-time more-than-data collaboration for work and play across continents, cultures and time zones.

The truly Immersive Internet.

Several pieces of technology are evolving to the point that individual, interactive, life-like avatars will be as common as individual web pages.

  • The 3D technology is here, from movie screens and the smash hit Avatar to PCs to television and even hand-held gaming devices.
  • Compression technology enables even the most bit-hungry high-definition video to be viewed in real time.
  • Mobile broadband through 4G networks (Sprint, Clear, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, etc.) and enhanced 3G networks (AT&T) make work-in-motion and real-time news and sports available virtually anytime, anywhere.
  • Devices, meanwhile, hit the marketplace with a growing array of potential, from Apple’s iPad and iPhone 4 to Droids and Sprint’s 4G phones to more smartphones and smart laptops that can navigate automatically between different types of networks.

Application developers who have for years waited for other aspects of Net and communications capabilities to catch up with 3D and virtual reality now can deliver the Immersive Internet.

Imagine your corporate web site as a world of multiple dimensions that enable potential customers to handle your new device or thoroughly examine a new product.

Imagine a blogosphere in which blogs enhanced with YouTube videos provide virtual reality tours.

Imagine classrooms in which distance learning evolves into hands-on experience for students at workstations working hand-in-virtual-hand with fellow students in Beijing or India’s Silicon Valley.

These ideas just scratch the surface of what the Immersive Internet will offer.

One of the world’s leaders in the coming Net is Duke University’s Dr. Tony O’Driscoll. And LTW’s next Executive Exchange on July 28 event features him. O’Driscoll, a professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and co-author of “Learning in 3D,” is a former executive at IBM and at Nortel. He’ll talk about the new Net and what it means while also demonstrating some of the potential it holds.

Be sure to register to attend with Dr. O’Driscoll.

The next big thing, or big wave, or whatever you want to call it, is upon us. Get ready.

Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.