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A study on the scope and practical application of Web 2.0 concepts

Web 2.0 - An Introduction A history of Web 2.0, it’s origins and it’s functions.

Web 2.0 Technologies What technologies exist. How they are being utilised. Who the major players using 2.0 concepts are. How the major players use web 2.0 concepts to generate revenue.

Web 2.0 Marketing

By Chris Brydon

How Web 2.0 can be utilised as a marketing tool

Web 2.0 - The Future What lies beyond Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 – An Introduction The term web 2.0 refers to the second generation of the world wide web. It is not a reference to any major technical changes, but rather to the new ways software developers and end-users will use the web. Web 2.0 is often used to describe the evolution of the internet from static displays of information to interactive information exchange, interoperability and user centred design. Working examples of Web 2.0 include social networking, blogs and video sharing. The focus being on user generated content and information exchange. The term Web 2.0 was first seen in an article entitled “Fragmented Future”. Written in 1999 by Darcy DiNucci, an electronic

information design consultant, it described the web as a mere embryo of the being it was about to become. It predicted that the web would grow into a tool for mass interactivity, and that it would be accessible from multiple platforms. Interestingly, the creator of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, regards the term web 2.0 to be jargon. Suggesting the initial idea of the web was based around 2.0 concepts and thus the idea of web 2.0 as an evolution of the web is ridiculous. Web 2.0 can be dissected into 3 primary components: Rich Internet Application (RIA) – Bringing the user experience from the desktop to the browser, from both a graphical and usability point of view.

Service Orientated Architecture (SOA) Integrating functionality of different software to create superior applications. Social Web – Increased interaction with the enduser. A focus on the end user generating and altering content.

Web 2.0 Technologies Rich Internet Application (RIA)

RIA’s combine the functionality of desktop software applications with the broad reach and low cost deployment of web applications. Resulting in a more responsive, intuitive and effective user experience.

RIA’s enable better configurations, also allowing firms to embed video and other contextual help content into applications. Providing a much richer user experience.

RIA’s can be delivered via: site specific browsers, browser plug-ins, independent sandboxes or virtual machines. Further Reading:

They provide a platform for new and superior web applications that could not exist previously.

Architecting RIA’s

They allow the user experience to be moved from the desktop to the browser, from both a graphical and usability point of view.

Benefits of RIA’s

They allow for cross platform experiences so users can access websites and features from their PC’s, Mac’s, Smartphone's or Tablets. Almost any device with internet access will have the capability to use RIA’s. .

Do we need RIA’s?

RIA Overview

They make customer interaction with the companies website compelling, dynamic, engaging and efficient.

The 3 main applications in the RIA market are: Adobe Flash – 96% penetration Java – 79% penetration Microsoft Silverlight – 56% penetration Statistics from: Stat Owl Case Study Adobe Flash Flash Player is a tool for viewing animations and movies using computer programs such as a web browser. It consists of Flash, the authoring environment and Flash Player, the virtual machine used to run the files. Flash is available on all the major platforms, including Windows 2000 onwards, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X.

Flash is also supported by several Smart Phones, such as the Android, as well as several games consoles such as the Nintendo Wii’s Internet Channel. It is also available as a web browser plug in. Revenue Generation

using the content. This is evidenced by Adobe Flash’s 96% penetration rate.

However, the Flash Player is only used to view content. It is Flash that must be used to create the content. Flash is sold at a premium price of £667.20 per unit.

With traditional desktop based software only users who purchased a program could view the content. This meant if a content creators end user was not willing to purchase the software, then they would not be able to access the content. This greatly reduces the potential usage of the creators content as only people who are willing to pay for the software to view the content can access it.

To simplify, the content creators pay a premium for Flash so that content users can view their content using Flash Player for free, thus massively increasing the content creators exposure.

Adobe gives away its Flash Player technology to end users for free. This means that anyone who wants to access the content is able too free of charge. This results in a much higher number of end users

Microsoft Silverlight and Java work on the same principle as Adobe Flash The content players are free for end users but the content creation tools cost money. This is the common business model for RIA based companies.

This generates huge revenues for Adobe, as content creators are desperate to get hold of the technology that allows them to reach 96% of internet users.

Service Orientated Architecture (SOA) Service Orientated Architecture is a design principle that has a focus on integration between different systems.

It is used during system development to create a system that offers functionality and usability for interoperable, loosely-coupled service resources. SOA separates functions into distinct units or services, these units are then made accessible over a network, to allow users to combine and reuse them in the production of applications. Each service implements one action, such as booking a plane ticket online. In earlier technologies, services had to have calls to each other embedded in their source code. They were tightly coupled together, leading to disadvantages such as ripple effects, high inter module dependency and difficulty re-using modules due to the need for their inter-dependent counter parts.

Therefore if you wanted to create a new application, you had to create new software or alter existing software. SOA allows for loose coupling. The calls are not made to specific services, but rather to an interface which can be accessed by many services. This means that a new or altered service (X) can interact with another service (Y), without Y having to be changed. SOA therefore allows users to alter, change and add functionality to create new applications from existing software services, rather than having to create a whole new software service before creating an application.

SOA therefore offers greatly reduced costs, by dramatically reducing the programmers workload through allowing them to reuse software and

focus solely on designing the application. SOA also offers additional benefits to reduced cost and saved time. It also offers the opportunity to spread costs to customers by giving them the capacity to alter and change applications themselves, creating their own bespoke software. Furthermore SOA allows for software to gradually evolve through incremental improvements (continuum theory), rather than for occasional big leaps forward, requiring mass expensive changes. Further Reading Coupling Semantic Interoperability SOA – A new Route

Many large companies now embrace SOA technologies as a fundamental aspect of their business model. Case Study Ebay Ebay is an online auction and shopping website where both customers and businesses buy and sell a huge variety of goods. Ebay employs SOA to manage more than 2 petabytes of data, a number that is growing at a rate of 100,000 lines of code per fortnight. There is also an average of 30,000 software builds per week. SOA allows Ebay to integrate this new software with the software that already exists. This allows the company to expand, adapt and change in an industry where the technology is constantly evolving.

IBM IBM is a multi-national technology and consulting firm. It manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. In 1998 IBM had an inventory of 16,000 applications. SOA allowed for IBM to reduce this number to 4,000 applications in 2006, by switching to an internet based SOA system. Reducing the application inventory allowed IBM to streamline their services and increase overall efficiency and effectiveness of their systems.

Harley Davidson Harley Davidson’s credit and loan process used to rely on tightly coupled financial systems that were slow and time consuming to adapt to new marketing programs. It was very challenging to change a system as due to the rigid nature of a tightly coupled system, a change to one system meant a change had to be made to many more. Harley Davidson broke up all of their systems and inserted SOA into the core, with all the systems now running on a loose coupling basis. This allowed them to dramatically decrease response time when it came to altering systems to adapt to market chnages.

Social Web Social Web is a term used to describe the web as a social media. It involves utilising web based technologies to turn 1 way communication into a user interactive dialogue. Social Web is also characterised by having a great deal of user generated content, sometimes being referred to as consumer-generated media (CGM). Traditional industrial media such as newspapers or TV generally requires a great deal of resources to produce. It is also often sold at a premium rate. Social Media however is relatively inexpensive, if not free to use and is accessible by anyone to access or publish information.

Social Web requires people interlinking, interacting and engaging with each other in order to produce content.

The key difference to understand between the World Wide Web and the Social Web is that the World Wide Web links documents, the Social Web links people. Case Study Facebook Facebook is a social network service with over 600 million active users. That is around 10% of the worlds total population. It allows users to create a personal profile, create links between themselves and their “friends� and upload content such as videos and photo’s. As a result almost all of Facebooks content is user generated. Facebooks revenue comes primarily from advertising. Companies pay to place banner ads on Facebook pages that users will then view.

Facebooks value is almost solely based on the 600 million users they have. The technology to run social networking sites is relatively uncomplicated and widely used by Facebooks competitors. It is mastering the fine points of this technology that separates Facebook from its competitors. Facebooks gigantic amount of users makes it a very attractive advertising platform. Companies can even use Facebook as a free advertising platform by creating profiles and groups and interacting with their customers.

Web 2.0 Marketing The Social Web has the most scope for marketing using Web2.0 concepts. It offers companies the ability to engage with their customers. Forming a dialogue rather than the 1 way communication of traditional marketing campaigns. The opportunity exists for customers to give detailed feedback on products or services, having an active involvement in what the company is selling to them and how they are doing it. As a result many companies are utilising the social web as a part of their customer loyalty strategies. Web 2.0 creates an opportunity for CGC (consumer generated content), with consumers producing their own services that add value to the company. For example, thousands of users of the Apple Iphone have created “how to” guide videos and shared

them with the world via the video sharing website youtube. This CGC serves both as an advertising medium for Apple and a way for them to improve their customer service and inter-action.

Companies can also utilise the social web by creating company accounts and using the available technology to connect with customers, advertise, and release information at almost no cost. Traditionally companies would have to release information via PR methods such as press releases and product launches, both at high cost. The social web allows this to occur quicker, cheaper, and often more effectively. An example is Skoda’s Facebook page. Not only does the page contain a great amount of detail about Skoda and their products, but it

serves as a medium to release information to the public.

Furthermore, Skoda has released a “The more you like the less you pay” marketing campaign based solely around the “like” function Facebook offers. The more users that “like” a particular Skoda model, the lower the price of the car drops. This allows users to interact with Skoda and have a direct effect on how they operate. This is of benefit to Skoda as it increases brand awareness and loyalty. It also serves as an excellent marketing tool as millions of people will see a Skoda product advertised at almost no cost to Skoda what so ever. Reaching this many people using traditional marketing mediums would prove extremely expensive, thus demonstrating the benefit of the Social Web as a marketing tool.

The Social web also gives small companies the ability to compete with much larger ones. Traditionally, in order to run an advertising campaign that reached lots of people, companies would have to pay great deals of money to do so. Buying TV time for adverts or running an advert in a national newspaper was reserved only for those companies that could afford to pay great sums of money for it. This left smaller companies with a lower budget unable to compete with larger companies as they could not afford to advertise to reach their customers. The ability of the social web to be utilised as a free advertising platform gives small companies a fighting chance, by allowing them to reach huge numbers of people for free, if they can utilise the Social Web effectively.

Creativity and insight becomes what buys customer attention, with free advertising options levelling the playing field Rich Internet Applications (RIA) can also yield marketing benefits. Whilst marketing is not the primary function of RIA’s, the amount of users they target (such as the 96% market penetration of Adobe Flash) means they can be used as a marketing tool. For example, Adobe sells a huge variety of toolkits and applications such as Photoshop and Flash Catalyst. The fact that 96% of internet users will have used Adobe Flash before, will help sell Adobe’s other products such as Photoshop through instilling brand awareness, brand trust and brand loyalty.

Web 2.0 – The Future Web 2.0 concepts are clearly revolutionising the culture of the internet and have been at the forefront of technological change for a number of years. But what lies beyond Web 2.0? Semantic Web The Semantic Web is an evolution of the World Wide Web that allows the Web to understand the meaning of the information it processes. It will allow applications to determine the meaning of the data and create connections to other data for the user. The Semantic Web would mean software programs could access the web intelligently, being able to perform tasks automatically and locate relevant information for the user.

Essentially, the Semantic Web will allow for many tasks to be carried out, without the need for human direction. This is currently not possible as websites are designed to be read by people and not by machines. The evolution would require websites and machines to be coded so that they can interact intelligently with each other. The Web currently uses Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) which codes text with multimedia objects. However it does not understand what information is actually referring to or how it is linked together. For example it would not know ÂŁ1.00 is a price, or that a kilometre is related to a metre. The Semantic Web would utilise Extensible Mark Up Language (XML) which would allow

information to be machine readable. In summary, the Semantic Web would provide machines with processes similar to human deductive reasoning and inference. This has limitless scope and would lead to some of the first real artificial intelligence systems than can think for themselves. Further Reading: Semantic Web Scientific American Semantic Web Semantic Web – A Guide to the Future of XML

Web 2.0