It seems as though terribly inefficient business practices are so ingrained in todays society that it is hard for some people and even some companies to consider better approaches to their common day activities. Perhaps that is why the internet, particularly web 2.0 will forever have its place. By all means it may become web 2.1 or web 3.0 but the current day internet and all of its services will remain. There are a few reasons why I feel this way. First the web provides a constant stream of disruptive services that are good at uprooting the traditionally accepted approach. Secondly the web is very consistent at providing more efficient, cheaper and more adoptable products. Lastly developers are able to benefit from the successes of other web services so as the web becomes more intricate and more deeply entwined development can progress more rapidly and with more precision.
There are also the more obvious reasons for the existence and rapid growth of web 2.0 companies such as cheap go-to-market costs, cheap market exposure costs, extremely thorough target audience data and short deployment and exit durations. Simply put its very easy to go-to-market, test the product, market to a specific audience and exit if it all doesn’t work. Additionally most services are just piggy-backing existing infrastructure whereas traditional technology business had to develop and finance a lot of the infrastructure.
Consider today’s telecom companies, in particular the telephone portion of their businesses. To start a phone service 50 years ago their was infrastructure, research, labor, construction and a lot of overhead. Today, look at a company like Vonage that provides a cheaper and much more feature rich service. Vonage utilizes VOIP (yes I understand that is based on another telecom infrastructure, the internet) and completely cut out the need for construction and infrastructure. Of course, they do have servers and networks but that can all be centralized which is much easier than putting phone lines under half of America’s front yard.
In a slightly similar sector of business is conference calling. In fact this is what my post was intended to discuss. Conference calling, as it is commonly utilized by most of the people I know, is very inefficient, non-integrated and consistently a pain to use. Conference call attendees spend sometimes upwards of 15 minutes waiting for other attendees to join. When someone forgets to call in they have to be tracked down by one of the current callers who has to use another phone to locate them, that is if they even have their phone number. Essentially attendees could be lost from an activity that is supposed to bring people together. For the most part traditional conference calls exist at one point in time and even if it’s recorded, accessing that recording is a cumbersome process or just not common knowledge. I think the most frustrating portion of traditional phone conferencing is user interface, a 10 digit menu that is as limiting as it is engaging. Overall the “accepted” means of conference calling is flawed and I think that its time for a web 2.0 application to step up and cover the void.
Posted in Technolgoy, VOIP, Web 2.0
Tagged business practices, calls, collaboration, conference, frustrations, internet, phone, problems, service, technology, telecom, voip, vonage, web, Web 2.0
I was walking home from work today and I decided it was time to buy a new iPhone leather case, the one I had broke and my iPhone was left unarmed to fend wherever it gets tossed. I use amazon for the majority of my online purchases so naturally my first stop was amazon.com. I assumed they would have an iPhone interface and I was eager to check it out. Most of the iPhone web interfaces I come across are fairly debilitated compared to the site I’m familiar with and I suppose I expected the same with amazon.
Initially I was frustrated. Feedback was hidden and I couldn’t find a description. All I wanted to know was whether or not the case would fit my 3G. After searching around for a while I came across an item that had 3G in the title so that was enough for me.
To be honest I expected my frustrations to continue however that was not the case. Very much like the “real” amazon.com I was able to 1 click checkout, select one of my previously used addresses and purchase with one of my previously used credit cards.
The entire checkout process took no longer than 1 minute and it was simple. Needless to say I’m much more confident about purchasing from amazon using my iPhone.
I’ve been blogging a lot more recently. Mostly because I bought the CSS upgrade a couple weeks back and I’m finally happy with how my blog looks. Also because I’ve found that I really enjoy getting my thoughts off my chest. Anyway one thing led to another and it didn’t take long before I was looking for a wordpress app for my iPhone. There were a bunch to choose from but because I trust wordpress I decided to download the genuine wordpress app.
At first I had a hard time using the app. There were some interactions that didn’t behave like I expected. For instance if I edited the title of a blog without editing the content I was never given a save button. I had to go in and modify the content before I could save my modified title. Also saving my blog post over the 3G network caused some problems. Two out of three of my attempts to save over the 3G network timed out after 5 minutes without saving or publishing the post.
Now it may seem like I have only bad things to say about this app, however I think I had not found how to optimally use it. Typically we’re used to a live connection to publish our blog posts, instead publishing blog posts from your iPhone is better served by locally authoring your content. If I author content locally I can quickly and efficiently write a post, including photographs from either my gallery or camera, and publish when I have a strong 3G connection or a wifi connection.
The other noticeable benefit I have found is “idea-generation”. When I happen to be wondering around walking, shopping, traveling or basically not near my computer I can create and even start writing my blog posts. I have found that typically I’ll start a post while it’s fresh in my mind and then later I’ll change the status from “local draft” to “draft”. Changing the status to “draft” then publishes the post to the web where I can finish up and polish everything with HTML view. This approach has worked best for me.