The web environment has made enormous leaps since its “browser breakthrough” in the mid nineties. As a multiuser platform, its base has grown from to 16 million users in 1995 to the 1.6Billion we have today; almost a quarter of the world’s population.
This precipitous growth has had far reaching effects on business practices; socially and culturally it is nothing short of a revolution. Over the next few years, it will be interesting to see how fast the underrepresented areas grow and how their regional economies track to that growth.
Enterprises have adapted to the Web, or IP networking, as a way of reducing costs. Workable solutions for media sharing that can scale across the web reduce the cost of in-house IT. They speed up internal communications, or at least force managers to examine internal business processes. Global interconnect protocols that standardize identity, permissions and secure transactions permit banking and government systems to offer online services to web users. The encryption protocols in place guarantee secure access to our bank accounts, make transactions, buy and sell goods and services from a web browser or a mobile phone. We happily entrust the systems in place whenever we press the “Buy” button not to pass on personal or financial details when we do so. Within the enterprise, social networking tools allow the setting up and tearing down of project or group based initiatives; ideal for start-ups or working groups within enterprises. Software as service (SAS) platforms provide billing, tracking and management tools for any kind of business operation.
SAS platforms are made to be delivered and installed via the web. They are made possible by the increased, global standardization of current IP programming tools, the software that acts as the glue between legacy technologies in ICT platforms. They are the tools behind the amazing efficiency of the web, and are known collectively as semantic web tools. Semantic, because the language and architecture of the Semantic Web Layer cake (term borrowed from cooking to define the global internet structure) mirror human behavior in their search for meaning or coherence. Languages like RDF/XML, RDFS, OWL and SPARQL are powerful because they describe taxonomies, rules and database categories that are dynamically created by users. The semantic web is a socially defined web, a massive social media environment. Its tools massage the data as it is created by users. Enterprise data, Google adwords, search keywords, tags and labels used by bloggers and social media applications like Utube, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter, generate the raw material (content) analyzed once again by smart semantic web applications that can identify trends, needs, fads and fashions. A market researcher’s dream and the power behind the new web advertising model.