Canadian Pizza Magazine

Features Business and Operations Delivery
Power your business with the Real Time Web


December 2, 2009
By David Naffis and Pradeep Elankumaran

Topics

The Internet as we know it has certainly changed the business world. And just when you thought the web was as good as it could get, it’s about to evolve again.

The Internet as we know it has certainly changed the business world.
And just when you thought the web was as good as it could get, it’s
about to evolve again.
 
Up until now, the Internet was primarily about sharing information. You
put up a web page, post a white paper, or upload product images and
details. Then people search you, your company, or your products and
services, and eventually find your website.

The new evolution of the Internet focuses more on collaboration rather
than sharing. Real Time Web (RTW), or web 3.0, helps your information
to get “pushed” to the people who are interested in your topics,
products or services. In other words, if a person is interested in
something your company is involved in, produces, offers, or
manufactures (and that person has specified those parameters of
interest in their web settings), then whenever you put out information
it will automatically get sent to the person, saving the person the
trouble of searching for it.

As far as using RTW technology internally in your company goes, it
allows you to collaborate with your team members in real time and even
edit documents together in real time regardless of where everyone is
physically located. You can also get updates from co-workers in real
time. So as tasks are completed or projects pushed through to the next
phases, you would know about it immediately rather than having to wait
for an e-mail update or physically check its status. And you can get
the information on both your desktop and mobile device, so no matter
where you are you can stay informed.

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In essence, the RTW is going to change the architecture of the web and
how websites interact with each other. It’s going to promote the
trusted exchange of user data and tighter integration between web
applications over multiple devices. It will also change how we interact
with applications, share and utilize information, and work with one
another as the next generation of web applications that take advantage
of this new paradigm are created.

Unfortunately, because RTW is not well defined yet, many people don’t
know what it is. In fact, we’re just starting to see the first versions
of applications like Twitter and FriendFeed that focus on
consumer-oriented RTW. So when business owners and managers talk about
RTW, they’re not clear about what it is, how it could apply to their
business, and how they can take advantage of it.

Whether you’re just starting to investigate the possibilities of RTW or
are using some fledgling RTW applications, the following suggestions
will help you understand and integrate RTW into your organization.


Educate yourself
As stated earlier, the web as we know it (web 2.0) was all about
sharing pictures, videos, and information. Web 3.0 is all about sharing
that information in real time for immediate awareness, collaboration,
and sharing. For example, web 2.0 included document collaboration in
the form of wikis, whereas the real-time web generation of document
collaboration will involve many people editing and updating a document
at once, seeing the changes made by others immediately, and
collaborating concurrently as opposed to the asynchronous web 2.0
version. Think of it as the web on steroids. Access to information just
got faster, meaning clients, customers, co-workers, and anyone else can communicate with
you, learn from you, and collaborate with you more easily and better
than in the past.


Investigate the leading real-time applications

Some examples of RTW applications are Twitter, FriendFeed, Present.ly,
and Drop.io. So if you’d like to “see” RTW web in action, a good place
to start is Twitter. In fact, Twitter is now given credit for being the
first to come up with real-time search. Here’s how an Internet search
typically works: The search engine goes out and indexes the entire web.
When you use Google to search for something, you type in your search
phrase and Google displays the results. However, those results are not
always up-to-date. They are only current according to when Google did
its last update, which could be a week ago or longer. With Twitter,
though, you can find information as it is happening. This has been
demonstrated with recent natural disasters around the world and other
major events. People are going to Twitter to find out what’s going on
right now.

Brainstorm
Your company could gain a lot by being on the leading edge of this
movement toward real-time information sharing, or you could lose a lot
if you are not planning for it. Here are some ways your company could
use RTW.

You could respond to customers as they complain or voice issues with
your company. In fact, some companies have dedicated employees
monitoring Twitter to identify upset customers and to rectify the
situation immediately before any damage is done to the company’s
reputation.

You could send coupon codes to people where the coupon is only
available for the next six hours. Think of it like the famous
television infomercial line, “Call in the next 10 minutes and you’ll
also get …”

You can use some tools internally, such as micro-blogging, to stay up –to date in real time within your own company.

You could build a brand on Twitter and use RTW to promote your company.
For example, a small pizza shop in California posts its menu online
every day. People receive it, see it, and make their lunchtime eating
decision before they’ve even had breakfast. So, as far as marketing
goes, there are endless opportunities for leveraging RTW.

You could send off information much more quickly than in the past and have it read immediately by your customers or employees.


Get in early for the most rewards

The bottom line is that those companies taking advantage of RTW are
reaping the benefits right now. And the good news is that there’s more
to come in the near future. As the months progress, we’ll see new
technologies and uses that no one has yet thought of. More and more
people and companies are gravitating toward the RTW to power the next
generation of Internet. By all accounts, it’s an exciting time to be
online.



Dave Naffis is a senior partner and co-founder of Intridea. Pradeep
Elankumaran is the director of research and development at Intridea.
Intridea is a full-service web and mobile consulting firm that helps
companies with design, development and strategy to provide simple
solutions on everything from social and business collaboration to cloud
computing to web and mobile applications. Clients include Fortune 500
Companies, small businesses, non-profit organizations and government.
agencies. For more information, visit www.intridea.com