Term Paper: Internet the First Decade

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The first decade of the Internet acquainted consumers with this new technology as well as the services that the Web has to offer. The consumers' initial naivete about the Internet has become much more savvy and sophisticated. The next decade will greatly enhance present technology as well as introduce new advances that will provide users with greater options. To remain successful, businesses will need to keep updated on these technological changes and determine if and how they fit into their marketing plans.

Ten years ago, terms such as the Internet, Web, and e-commerce were a mystery to most businesses, let alone the general public. What a difference a decade makes! The past several years have seen several births and rebirths of the online communication industry, yet it keeps on evolving and mutating. Everyone from young to old and corporation to consumer would go through withdrawal if the World Wide Web came to an end. What is to come in the next ten years? Although a number of service bells and whistles will be in the cards, technological advancements will be in the forefront. Faster, more efficient, will be the need. Users are spoiled. They want more of the same, but better every day. Businesses that want to respond to consumer needs would be smart to investigate these technologies to determine whether they should be used for their websites. Successful companies have been able to respond to what consumers desire most from the Web in order to build long-term trusting relationships. Businesses must effectively respond to the demands of baby boomers, generation X'ers and Y'ers and ever-growing global competition.

For example, it may have been just a whisper among users a short time ago, but now Businesses and consumers are finally becoming aware of voice calls --Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) -- over the Internet in growing numbers. Analysts say that consumer use of Internet telephony will grow massively over the next five years (New Media Age, 2005). The report by Analysys "Fixed-Mobile Substitution and VoIP: Forecasts for the Battle for Mass-Market Voice" predicts that VoIP services will account for 9.6% of all voice minutes in Western Europe in 2010, up from.3% in 2004. Further, 16% of VoIP houses in this area will drop their traditional fixed-line telephone service by 2010 in favor of a combined solution of open VoIP, or calls made over a public service telephone network rather than private services, and mobile.

Already, over a million consumers in the U.S. have discovered VoIP to make local and long-distance calls. Subscribers get a phone adapter to plug into their broadband line. Because the services do not add as many fees, the bill will be lower. However, callers lose their phone when the Internet goes down, and 911 service is not foolproof (Setoodeh).

Vonage is the leading VoIP service, with some 500,000 customers. It comes with three-way calling and call return, but its customer service is rated poorly. The cost is $25 a month for all U.S. calls, with a $68 start-up fee. Useful calling features include "Take Vonage With You," which enables calling from a hotel room or anywhere else that has broadband access. Vonage will expand its offerings later this year with programs for small to medium enterprises. VoIP service for small businesses is also available from VoicePulse, Packet8, at&T, and Verizon. However integrated systems that take advantage of VoIP's flexibility and low costs frequently offer more than phone service, such as auto attendant, speech recognition with interactive voice response, call center functions, and simple Web-based management tools (Noronha).

Video is a technology that has already become standard with most Internet users.

"In July of 2004, more than 50% of Internet households had graduated beyond dial-up and entered the world of always-on Internet. Never having to wait for a modem to finish its screeching connection or for a Web page to slowly fill in a page with content is a life-changing experience: It is the point when the Internet becomes as essential as running water for the average household" (Knopper). Video will become even bigger, especially with advertising.

The growth of broadband connections is finally bringing video into the mainstream. About 36% of American households now have fast, always-on hookups.While American broadband penetration badly trails parts of Europe and Asia, fully 60% of U.S. homes are expected to be hooked up by 2009. As many as 20 million online viewers click on video every week, says a report by Arbitron Inc. And Edison Media Research. Presently, Web video ranks well down the list in overall media spending. Projected annual spending of just $198 million would finance barely a day and a half of commercials on television -- a $48 billion business. Yet in the marketing departments of some of the world's biggest advertisers, from General Motors to Unilever, online video represents a strong opportunity to move beyond the 30-second spots that TV viewers so often ignore. Further, companies are losing the ability to control when, where and how consumers see their commercials. Thus, companies such as Lincoln Mercury, American Express Co. And Converse Inc. are also drawing viewers with videos. Video ads are therefore starting to meet the tremendous growth in Web advertising that includes search engines, which according to researcher eMarketer Inc., will expand 33.7% this year, to $12.9 billion. The biggest obstacle to growth is that not enough Websites are configured to run video ads, so that marketers often have to book their slots months in advance.

Machine-to-machine communications (M2M) is another phenomenon hitting the Internet. Any device containing an embedded controller can be connected to the Internet -- sensors, controllers, appliances, and machine tools will soon begin to talk not only to the humans who use them, but also to one another (Frenzel). M2M combines communications, computing, software, sensors, and power technologies that allow remote human and machine interaction with physical, chemical, and biological systems and processes. Examples include sensing of physical characteristics such as temperature, light, pressure and gases to observe life, health, property, security, and employee effectiveness. Mesh sensor networks will connect to the Web to collect, analyze, and interpret data for a variety of telemetry. M2M can also actuate motors, lights, mirrors, and other surfaces, as well as heating and cooling systems, video cameras, robots, and microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices. Businesses can monitor and control systems and manufacturing applications in process control. Machine tools, robots, and critical processes can literally be monitored from anywhere. Some say that by 2010, there will be 10,000 devices connected to the Internet for every individual now online. Others expect 14 billion intelligent connected devices within five years, most of which will run lots of low-speed data from multiple sources (ibid).

Another semi-technological abbreviation to be seen more and more will be RSS, or "really simple syndication." RSS is a text-based format, a type of XML (extensible markup language, a simple and flexible text format derived designed for large-scale electronic publishing). that contains a list of items with a title, summary, and a link to a URL (for example, a web page). Other information, such as the date and creator's name may also be included. News and similar reverse-chronologically ordered Websites like blogs are the most common use for RSS files. An item's description may contain all of a news article and blog post or just an extract or summary. The item's link will usually point to the full content (although it may also point to what the content itself links to).

When a Website has an RSS feed, it is called "syndicated." Not all RSS files have a common file extension, although they often end in.xml,.rss, or.rdf. The term "scraping" refers to developing an RSS feed for a website that does not provide one by itself. In other words, one is scraping the text off of the page; scraped feeds are not created by the same people who developed the content within the feed. Scraped RSS feeds may stop working if the page changes its layout. Atom is a format quite similar to RSS that was created by people who felt that RSS could be improved.

For example, the company Audible, that has distributed audio versions of books, magazines, newspapers and other content since 1997, is using RSS feeds for automatic delivery of the latest audio editions of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other periodicals to subscribers' computers. Before adding the latest service, subscribers could only get Audible content in their Apple Computer iPod or other digital music player through the company's software, which a subscriber downloads from the Audible web site to a computer.

A report on Internet trends must include something on the wireless Web, which hotels and restaurants such as McDonald's and specialty locations like Starbucks are using to lure in customers who are away from the office. In fact, discussions on this technology are relatively old. Wireless allows people to use cell phones, PDAs or laptops to do simple tasks such as send and receive e-mail and broader ones… [END OF PREVIEW]

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