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.