The news is a pretty depressing place right now but there was a small article in the Economist about how the Fashion industry is responding to the downturn that caught my eye. Towards the end of the article the Economist mentioned how designers are looking for ways to leverage digital distribution:
One firm, Halston, recently released its autumn collection through a music video. Others are also likely to pursue digital means to reach a broader audience. Catherine Malandrino, a popular French designer, has spent the past three months rworking her website to make it more "human and interactive". Fashion, she points out, was historically old through intimate salons. She wants to re-establish that accessibility - and the internet allows her, and the others, to do it cheaply.
Fashion, and industries like it, are a perfect fit for the world of interactivity and RIAs. Clearly any kind of internet revival won't be driven by fashonistas looking for some interactive work. But industries like Fashion, where there are strong emotional and design ties, will be ideal candidates for the more collaborative, video, and interactive applications for which RIA technologies are so well-suited.
It's been oft-repeated that economic downturns, and the scarcity of resources during them, are what help the good ideas float to the top and succeed. But RIAs are seeing a tremendous amount of innovation at the runtime level which has been helped by a lot of competition in the space. Things like higher quality video, real-time communication and collaboration, a focus on design and design efficiency, as well as performance enhancements mean that we have an infrastructure in place that we haven't had before. This is going to appeal to a wider range of industries who are using the web but looking for more value added services than just a website or even some of the social advancements from Web 2.0. It's a good time to be thinking about and working with RIAs because they can provide a lot of value - even in this climate.