Chapter Eight: Social Networks and Industry Disruptors in the Web 2.0 Environment
Online File W8.8 (continued)
Servers and Operating Systems
A major trend is to use Windows XP and NT as the enterprise operating system. Among NT’s capabilities is clustering. Clustering servers can add processing power in much smaller increments than was previously possible. Clustering servers also is very economical, resulting in cost reductions. Microsoft and others offer special EC servers.
The use of EC frequently requires rich multimedia (such as color catalogs or samples of movies or music). A large band- width is required to deliver this rich multimedia. Several broadband technologies (such as XDSL) will increase bandwidth many-fold. This could help in replacing expensive WANs or VANs with the inexpensive Internet. The use of VPNs can enhance security on the Internet.
EC Software and Services
The availability of all types of EC software will make it easier to establish stores on the Internet and to conduct all types of trade. Already, hundreds of sites rent inexpensive pages for a variety of activities, ranging from conducting auctions to selling in a foreign language. Other support services, such as escrow companies that support auctions and multiple types of certifications, also are developing rapidly. In addition, a large number of consultants are being trained to assist in specialty areas.
Search engines are getting smarter, better, and more specialized. Use of this improved technology will enable consumers and organizational buyers to find and compare products and services easier and faster.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Technology
P2P technology is developing rapidly and is expected to have a major impact on knowledge sharing, communication, and collaboration by making these activities better, faster, less expensive, and more convenient.
The forthcoming integration of the computer and the TV and of the computer and the telephone will increase Internet accessibility. Web Services (see next item) also will facilitate integration.
Web Services are being developed rapidly, solving major problems in EC systems development and integration, especially in complex B2B systems and exchanges. Web Services will enable companies to build EC applications more quickly, efficiently, and cheaply.
Users will be able to dispatch intelligent software agents to search, match, negotiate, and conduct many other tasks that will facilitate EC activities.
Although it has shown few signs of success, some believe that in the future interactive TV may outshine the Net for e-commerce. Many desktop models in 2006 or newer allow you to watch TV programs from your PC (and record them for personal use).
Universities are using interactive TV to teach classes in multiple locations. For example, Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, offers MBA classes concurrently on both the Charleston campus and at Parkland Community College in Champaign, Illinois, using this technology.
Many research institutions around the world are working on tomorrow’s Internet. Although projects such as Internet2 are slow to progress, sooner or later these efforts will greatly advance EC applications (internet2.org).