Whetting the online appetite

Web applications and services will have a greater impact on businesses in 2007, as convergence takes place and businesses increasingly scale up in mobility.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

It's tough to go without the Internet for more than 24 hours in today's corporate world. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Internet has also been identified as a market in which venture capitalists are interested to invest this year.

Andrew Milroy, consulting director of the ICT practice at Frost & Sullivan, told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail that Web applications will have considerable impact on businesses in 2007, spurred by convergence and an increasingly mobile workforce. One area is telemedicine, where "care workers can use [multimedia mobile] devices to take X rays and send the images instantly to specialists who can then recommend care from remote locations".

In fact, said Milroy, all industries will be affected "significantly" and "convergence married with multiple end points will increase the efficiency of many business processes and allow organizations to transform many existing ones."

What lies ahead in the Internet space? ZDNet Asia takes a peek.

Online apps on a roll Hosted applications and services is clearly a growing trend today--even e-commerce giant Amazon has gone into offering hosted storage.

Software giant Microsoft, amidst rolling out the new Windows Vista operating system, has also set its sight on delivering Web services. CTO Ray Ozzie gave a hint in June 2006 what online services corporate customers can expect from Microsoft. These include the management of network and security.

Anything IP goes
Internet telephony and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) gained traction over the last two years, buoyed by the popularity of Web brands such as Skype. The trend is set to continue, with greater broadband and wireless connectivity penetration in the region.


What's hot
Applications and services delivered over the Internet will dominate the business world in the year ahead.

Bottom line:
All industries will be impacted by Web applications and services, given the increasingly converged and mobile ecosystem. Many business processes are likely be transformed over time.

IPTV--the delivery of video via carriers' broadband networks to TV sets--is also expected to gain momentum in the year ahead. According to research company iSuppli, IPTV subscription in 2007 will increase dramatically, tripling 2006's figures to reach 15 million. iSuppli predicts that the number of IPTV subscribers will jump to 63 million by 2010, while Gartner estimates a more conservative 48 million.

Spinning around Web 2.0
Enterprises are roping in Web 2.0 elements into products and services, or for use internally.

Frost & Sullivan's Milroy said the adoption of Web 2.0 aspects such as user-generated content into the enterprise is likely to be gradual. "Companies will increasingly see this as a way of sharing knowledge and driving greater collaboration within the company and across supply chains," he added.

John Chambers, chief executive of Cisco Systems, also said in December 2006 that the corporate world will view user generated content as an unavoidable part of daily business.

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