With the emergence of new technologies and communication medium, the world is becoming borderless. This fosters desire to remain connected every moment. Every people like to share information across the world. The digitisation of data, voice, and video has fostered excitement within the customers. The advent of digital television, set-top boxes, MP3 players, mobile phones, digital cameras are entering into everyone’s home. The Internet with smartly connected appliances has given birth to digital revolution. One such revolution has been emerged in the cell phone industry. Earlier, when cell phones were launched, it belonged to the segment of luxury product. With the digitalisation, the analogue phones moved to digital mobile phones.
http://gipscorp.com/blog/tag/mobile-trends/ Source: (Gallagher, 2009)
This fostered clear and reliable calls. Additionally, provided features such as call waiting, gaming, global roaming etc. All these digital consumer devices are rising at exponential rate because of its ability to access, modify, and manage information at any time and anywhere in the world. Today, over 3.6 billion people own or use mobile devices i.e. 25% of world’s population and 1.1 billion people access internet through desktop PC. Cellular phones had the maximum growth among all digital devices including computers. Today, more people access Internet via mobile than through computers. With the emerging new technology, innovation, smart phones came in the market. The demand for smart phones is rising at exponential rate.
3. Smart phones
Smart phones are the mobile phone having all capabilities of phones i.e. making and receiving phone calls, sms, and accessing the web. It provides computing feature along with connectivity. These are digital phones having features of PDA cellular devices. Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) is a mobile device that has various computing features like: access to e-mail, store email, play games, exchange faxes and data, browse Internet, send and receives multimedia files etc. PDA allows user to do various computer related jobs such as editing documents, using spreadsheets and databases, preparing presentations etc. It has built-in or option to accept Wi-Fi capabilities, Bluetooth capability and may also offer infrared beam to transfer information between various devices. Smart phones helps user to access email wirelessly, allow communication via voice or text, browse Internet, connect to secure corporate network, synchronize appointments, contacts, and calendars. The smart phones are designed in a sleek and lightweight model; QWERTY keypad centric device and a common operating system. Smart phones ability to support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, IR beaming features makes it more demanding device. The smart phones are the fastest growing segment of the cellular phone market that consists of powerful processors, large screen, operating systems, and abundant memory space. The demands for smart phones are growing and have climbed to 55.2 million in Q1 2010. The growth of smart phones rose to 67% this year (Vincent Chang, 2010).
Source: Vincent. (2010).
Source: Vincent. (2010).
Today, smart phones can be used for diversified purposes replacing the use of previous media, that too with unique and competitive benefits. The mobile can be used for making and receiving calls, it is used to reading text, email messages or books through mobile devices. It has expanded its scope from just communication to distribution of knowledge and absorption of information. It facilitates synchronization of reading positions, browse, download or purchase content over the air and interact with friends globally. It also helps in playing songs, watching movies, listening to radios, watching television etc.
4. Impact of smart phones on the various digital devices we own
Smart phones are now become the most lucrative segment of mobile industry. North America and Europe’s smart phones shipment accounted of 25% of total wireless handset sales in 2009. By 2015, smart phones will increase by 47% of the wireless handset market. In addition to this, smart phones are becoming one of the main Internet access channels. According to a study done by Gartner, mobile phones are expected to overtake Internet access through personal computer by 2013. It is fact that smart phones provides diversified features of various standalone products, and will be owned by the consumers. Smart phones provide multiple features of various handheld devices that will affect the purchase standalone cameras, media player, gaming devices, personal computers etc. It is estimated that smart phones will become the single most common handheld devices in the near future. The feature of smart phones to allow browsing Internet and stay connected has fostered human to bypass even personal computers demand. The Internet browsing through smart phones provides faster access to Internet as compared to personal computers. It is more personal medium of Internet browsing. Because of this, smart phones
has already bypassed personal computers demand in the recent years. The facility to edit documents work with spreadsheet, PowerPoint, and databases, has reduced the demand for PC. As smart phones are more handy and convenient to carry, people would like to use it in place of PC. Moreover, camera features are provided with smart phones that facilitate consumers to do photography as well as recording through the same device. Listening to music or radios from the air, downloading and uploading music or media files are facilitated through the same smart phones. Therefore, instead of possessing media player to listen music; PC to access Internet; mobiles just to make and receive calls; DVD to watch movies; cameras for photography, etc; it is simpler, easier, convenient, reliable and cheaper to carry one single device having all the above features i.e. smart phones. This will adversely affect demand and profitability of the various digital device producers. Even the craze of application on mobiles are growing and making mobile producers to add new features into the smart phones. The increasing trend of smart phones will subside the need of various digital devices but will also face with various implications. Security threat through mobile will increase; the increasing demand for smart phones will result in heavy traffic congestion that will result in slower and disruptive speed. It will lead to extra burden on the wireless networks. Moreover, advanced features of various digital devices are hard to be included in the smart phones and inclusion of all technology will make it more expensive. The increasing craze to have multi-feature smart phones will increase the demand and also increases its price. Thus, making more profit in growth and profitability to the producers.
5. Introduction to e-commerce & Web Technology 2.0
In the era of rapid globalisation, more and more companies are gaining competitive advantage by using internet for direct selling and for communication with the suppliers, customers, creditors, clients, shareholders, partners, competitors who are normally dispersed globally. The use of Internet for the above purpose is termed as Electronic Commerce. Electronic Commerce or popularly know as e-commerce includes all electronically mediated transactions between organizations and the third party it deals with. It includes financial transactions such as buying and selling on the Internet. Also deals with request for some information by the customer or customer feedback through Internet etc. According to Kalakota and Whinston (1997), e-commerce has various perspectives. For instance:
The delivery of information, product or services or payment by electronic media.
The application of technology towards the automation of business transactions and workflows.
Providing service delivery with increased speed and improved quality, along with reduce cost.
Online buying and selling of products and information.
E-commerce fosters organisation to sell products, advertise, purchase supplies, bypass intermediaries, track inventories, eliminate paperwork and share information. E-commerce helps to minimize the expenses and unwieldiness of time, distance and space involved in doing business globally. This helps to gain better customer service, high efficiency, improved products, higher profitability and increased competitive advantage. With the passing of time, Web Technology 2.0 was introduced.
Web Technology 2.0 was the term coined by O’Reilly. It is transformation of Internet into Web platform having full-fledged computing. According to this, platform is characterized by open sourcing, greater interactivity between user and also providing facility for uploading or downloading anything user desires. For example, web logs, wikis, RSS feeds, social networking, Web API, Orkut, MySpace etc. the technology includes server-software, message-protocols; standards based plugins and various client applications. Some of the e-commerce hosting solutions having Web 2.0 features are:
Free blogs – many web-hosting providers give blogs free of charges. These are easy to use and friendly with the search engines.
Social networking tools – chatting scripts and bulletin boards provide power to create a community environment.
Multimedia support – Multimedia technologies such as Flash and Silverlight, can be used to enhance the experience of each site visitors.
6. Impact of E-Commerce and Web Technology 2.0 in Amazon Inc
Amazon is an online retail website incorporated in 1994, USA. The company is listed at NASDAQ (listed in the year 1997 as AMZN) and has global operation in USA, France, Canada, Germany, UK and Japan. Amazon is the first company to sell products directly or becoming a platform for sale of various products. The Amazon was established with the vision to become Earth’s biggest bookstore but currently it has product portfolio that includes diversified items, ranging from books to household products. It includes music, videos, electronics, toys, beauty products, games, and apparels. The company also offers services such as self-publishing, e-commerce platform, online advertising and co-branded credit card. This global Internet company had around 64 million active global customers and reported revenue of 24.50 Billion in the last financial year. The company also reported 27.9% of sales growth (2009) and consists of 24,300 employees. (Yahoo Finance n.d.).
E-commerce technology has been implemented at Amazon. The basic objective was to use Internet for buying books with high speed, convenience, and as enjoyable shopping moment. To have satisfied shopping experience, Amazon Inc created an e-retail infrastructure to meet the needs of the customers. For instance, demand for out-of-print book is fulfilled by, first checking its availability with the suppliers and then notifying customers through email for purchase conditions and price before shipping it. E-commerce implementation at Amazon helped them to have reliable, secure, scalable, better experience, transparent pricing etc (Amazon.com n.d.). Amazon success was achieved due to its loyal customer base and repeated purchases. This was achieved through easy to use functionality; prompt customer service, trusted transaction environment, editorial and customer reviews, manufactured product information and customized web pages with individual preferences, facilities for notifications and recommendations etc. With the help of Web2.0 technologies, its online community provides product reviews, one recommendations lists, buying guides, wish lists, wedding and baby registers. E-Commerce helped to reach customers globally as well as carry its operation in 24*7 modes.
Moreover, at Amazon, it subcontracted most inbound logistics and operations, retaining only the order processing, billing and customer service functions. During 1999, it started building its own warehouses in order to have more control over logistics. This simple change I the value chain has a profound impact on the organisation and its cost structure. The firm infrastructure at Amazon id considerably smaller than a traditional retailers, as is the effort devoted to managing it. It requires far less real estate, no investment to build or remodel stores and no stores sales personnel when compared to the other value chains. Human resources has fewer people to hire and train, technology development focuses on the website for taking orders and not on sales systems for retail stores.
Amazon has implemented a feature called “one-click checkout”. This states that if you have provided information earlier like shipping and billing address, credit card numbers, and the user can click on one button to checkout.
7. Impact of E-Commerce and Web Technology 2.0 in eBay
EBay is a company formed in the year 1997, California – U.S.A. The company is an auction company and also provides online shopping website. EBay holds 88% market share and fosters online person-to-person auction community. The eBay Inc deals basically in three businesses i.e. (Yahoo Finance n.d.)
eBay marketplace – it provides online e-commerce platform that fosters buyers and sellers interactions and trading with each other. It allows sellers to list items for sale on and auction or fixed price basis. The buyers are given options to bid for and purchase desired items. It also provides feedback forum, verified rights owner programs, safe harbour programs, loyalty programs, and customer support.
Online payment services – with the help of PayPal, it aims to create new global standards for online payments. It enables customers with an email address for receiving and sending online payments. This provides various services like: Bill Me Later – transactional credit for U.S. online consumers at the time of sale, verification of PayPal, withdrawing of money by account holder, trust and safety programs etc. its safety programs are to reassure customers about the secure online service on eBay.
Skype Internet Telephony
The success of online auction industry depends upon expertise in technology, talented human resource, product innovation, after sales service, technical assistance, customer services, accurate billing, advertising and e-commerce. This also includes gaining a large customer base; retaining existing customers, secure payment and range of products. EBay offers collectibles, real estates, vehicles; office equipments etc. It fosters its customers to create personalized auctions and online stores for selling used or new products. Its peer reviews creates confidence and operation in global market opens new markets. The supply chain at eBay is:
The eBay core competencies were bidding site, technical proficiency and usability. Its major focus is on connecting people and focus on community. Therefore, it exploits benefits of customer relationship management. Its revenues are from listing and commission on completed sales. The e-commerce helped eBay to establish worldwide electronic auction. This fostered amazing sales and profit growth over the previous years. The main product helped to increase profits were eBay motors, media and collectibles.
E-commerce and Web technology 2.0 also fostered greater impact on the popularity of Amazon and eBay companies. The e-commerce helps the organisation to provide convenience to buyers and sellers. Here, every transaction or request is based on Internet, so buyer’s job is just to click the items to be purchased, add in the shopping cart and make payment. This helps to save time as well as compare products of different brands from different e-shopping stores. The e-commerce ability to provide safe and confidential transactions creates trust. The company offers to deliver safe and timely products and in some cases, full refund of money if goods are damaged. The web technologies 2.0 includes various social networking platforms such as Face book, orkut, etc. the Face book has 200 million users whereas orkut has 60 million users and Myspace has 110 million users. Among 200 million users of face book, half of the users login on the site each day. The integration of online market place with social networks, provides higher satisfaction to the consumer as here, transactions are done with social friends. Web technology 2.0 allows consumers to play active role in as well as get involved in the website content. This helps the business to gain trust, credibility and popularity. It helps to create communities on the basis on existing products; building relationship and exploring new relationships with their customers. Web 2.0 technologies help to establish and strengthen brand recognition and allow customer to be retained. EBay has detailed feed back report that bridges the gap between organisation and customers. Face book platform is used to promote eBay business. EBay Auctions application helps to show auction listing on personal Face book profile. The customers can also browse friends’ auctions, search, creating wish lists, comment etc. Thus, e-commerce helped Amazon and eBay to gain competitive advantage through implementing e-commerce in their business as well as web technology 2.0 provides various social network platforms to the company. This social network fostered them to shift from static web pages to dynamic websites, where users can upload or give comment or their opinions freely. This ultimately helped the company to bridge the gap between firm and consumer and also fostered better understanding of their customer base, and as tools of promotions to their offerings. Thus, e-commerce and web 2.0 helped organisation to achieve its triple bottom line more efficiently and effectively.
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