November 25, 2006 |
What’s at the heart of Web 2.0? This isn’t a holistic definition, but among the key factors
- An ability to tag data or information in multiple ways
- Ways to share the information without changing the core, enabling many people to act on it.
- Linking it up to other pieces of data; or presenting it in different ways, including linking to location (geo maps), people or activities; commonly referred to as mashups.
If it’s a funny video or a personal profile, it’s of interest to people; but there is a limit to how many videos any single person will watch, and how many friends you can communicate with. Not surprisingly, you’ll find that interest is transient – today’s top funny isn’t the same as it was a week or a month ago.
And more important – there’s a limit to the inherent value that can be generated. Monetization tends to be indirect, relying on scale where it’s ad supported; or even where subscription models exist, the value per unit is limited by personal budgets.
Let’s look at a business perspective instead. Huge amounts of transaction data are generated; and each datum represents value to the organization. Along the way, each transaction serves different needs. As an example, consider Fedex’s shipment tracking. At one time, all that you could do was call your local Fedex to find out if they had any info; more often than not, all you’d get was a “we’ll get back to you” reply.
When the web tracker first launched, all it did was show you where the package had been sighted last; today, it allows you to request email notifications, send out alerts, and get an image of the delivery confirmation.
All these are specific “tags” related to the customer / shipper; now add possibilities to expedite or increase priority, re-route the shipment, or any of the other post receipt activities. Or even schedule testing, manufacturing or other value add activities linking back to this, and you begin to get a much more valuable offering.
Think Dell-style manufacturing information systems for the small business. And that’s just the beginning.