Saturday, April 01, 2006

Mobile Web 2.0 - 1

During past one month I have been analysing the impact of latest buzzword in internet world called "Web 2.0" on mobile domain.Partly as part of my work and partly due to my own personal interest .This is basically first in series of posts I hope to write on this topic .In this I try to capture the basics like what is web 2.0? and how if it all is linked or effects mobile domain.
If " web 2.0" is a new term for you search google you can get tons of web pages explaining it .I try to define what it means from my perspective ,It is basically a terminology used to describe new generation of web sites that are proping up at rapid rate.The Icons of web 2.0 are highly successful sites like Flickr (a cool photo sharing site),,craiglist etc. I would recommend to visit web2.0 sites to check an impresive list of web 2.0 sites .

These web 2.0 sites tend to have following distinct characteristics.
  • User interface(UI) -These web 2.0 sites have much more richer and interactive UI .Ex: flickr,Google Maps,Gmail,Windows Live,Yahoo maps,writely.They are more nearer in terms of richness and ease of use to desktop applications .The underlying technology used mostly is Ajax and some times mixed with Flash technology.Ajax is acronym for Asychronus Java Scripts and XML.Again you can find tons of material about Ajax in web I will try to cover it in details in future posts.
  • Data - Basically data means the content that is represented or shown in websites . Most of web 2.0 sites that data is usually user generated data unlike pre web 2.0 sites were the content is generally hosted and created by the website owner .web 2.0 sites data backbone is websites community member generated data .So community is biggest asset of web 2.0 sites Good examples are
    • Flickr -Were the user posts their photos and also are rate photos posted by others.
    • user store and rate bookmarks to different websites.
    • Blogs ,wikis,Podcasts-Again user generated content is heart of these kinds of websites.
    • MySpace
  • MashUps - This is again is related to how content is created .Mashups basically means the seamlessly process of combining content from more than one source to provide an integrated experience for the user e.Usually mashup web 2.0 sites combine content from different webistes through thier open API,RSS Feeds etc and add thier own content on top if it to create a new value for end user .Examples are
    • MySpacemap -mashup of Myspce and google map which represents myspace members on google map .
    • Lots of RSS aggregators site ,Podcast aggregator sites.
    • Google adsense
So far I have tried to explain as broadly as possible what is web 2.0 .But good question to ask is how much of the above mentioned technologies are new things that have been developed. The simple answer is none of the basic technologies underlying web 2.0 are new they have been there from very long time (They were there and known during dotcom days also) .Then subsequent question would be then why is it now it is becoming popular .In my understanding the basic reason of success of web 2.0 now is due to timing .By timing I mean availability of critical user base for these kind of services to take off has been created now .The following 2 things are basis for creation of that user base
  • Avilability of broadband connections at affordable rates as lead to increase in its penetartion.(High Bandwidth networks has become widespread min of 512 kbps is common connection speed)
  • Processing power of PC has also increased over period of time (Today Large % of household pcs have minimum of P4 level processors )
I will post exact numbers on the above 2 points which validates my claim in future postings when I try go in details .

Now let me try to explain other term Mobile Services and link it to Web 2.0 .
.Again There are tons of definations and explaination about what is Mobile services .For me Mobile services means simply services that are delivered on Mobile phones using mobile networks .So mobile services can be simple and basic like voice call ,text messaging,WAP services to latest IMS (IP multimdeia services),Mobile TV,Full HTML browsing .
Basically what type of mobile services can be delivered depends on richness of underlying networks and the capabilities of the Mobile terminal .As was the case in Internet world, required technologies to deliver web 2.0 kind of services on mobile devices are present already now (mostly same internetworld technologies can be used in mobile world also) but the big question is the time right for mobile web 2.0 ? To answer this I would like to validate one question is thier a critical user base for these kind of services on mobile world ? .
  • Availability of mobile broadband -From technology perspective it seems that networks that can deliver high bandwidth data service are there .(3G Networks and its evolution like HSDPA,HSUPA,3,9G and limited Mobility Highspeed networks like WiMax).The Deployment of these networks and 3G in particular has been happening at quite good rate .But unlike in fixed broadband world were deployment and userbase increase went in hand in hand in mobile world there seems to be a discontinuity between deployment and increase in userbase for these high data services.The reasons for these things are
  • Operator relactunce to open up thier network for open services- Presently most of the operators follow walled garden approach basically meaning ,that operators would like to deliver all services themselves and open services hosted by 3rd party service providers are closed from networks .
  • Operator still charge users based on data volumes and dont have yet launched monthly subscription model .Charges are also quite high which effectively curtails user from using any mobile data services .
  • Operators are still getting most of thier revenue from traditional voice calls .which means they are optimising this revenue stream using latest technology and new spectrum allocations.(ex: 3G UMTS networks are now days used to deliver optimised voice calls thus trying to capture more margins on voice calls then to launch new 3G data services )
So in short the trends in providing high badwidth wireless connections at afforadable price is not so good.However during end of last year and begining of this year there is small trend among small operators trying to break above mentioned barriers .So picture is not all negative .I expect as MVNO and other competions for operator hots up the above mentioned barriers would be broken at very fast speed.
Avilability of Rich enough Mobile Terminal which is another important factor for mobile web 2.0 to happen would be covered in my next postionings along with more in depth anlaysis of Mobile web 2.0 technologies .


jusus said...

Very interesting post. I could't agree more that we will have to wait for the operators to open up the space for mobile web 2.0.

However my question is what are the new use cases emerging from the mobilisation of web 2.0?

Is it just a technical transformation or are there new services and value to be created (eg. ShoZou)?

Arun Kumar said...

Good one. It was a nice and short exec summary and I agree with you on all the points. While drawing a parellel between Web2.0 in the P.C world to Mobile world you covered UI technology and bandwidth but did not address the community aspect ( "Data" in ur worlds ), something for next post?