The Last Mile [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Jason Wolf & Natalie Zee
eBook Category: Technology/Science
eBook Description: "The word is broadband and companies hope the sky is the limit."--The New York Times, March 23, 1999 How big is broadband? Its implementation will affect all 201 million current Internet users. The Last Mile provides the business community with the first look at this next Internet revolution. Discussing the business impact, strengths, and weaknesses of broadband in non-technical terms, managers and executives will learn how to become major players in the new digital future. From definition to implementation, The Last Mile clearly shows readers how broadband can impact their businesses for success. Here, professionals will learn: how this latest Internet buzzword actually works; the technology behind broadband; how it is likely to affect various other industries; its overall limitations and how to deal with them; and how to identify new opportunities in the market due to the evolution of broadband. The Broadband Revolution. Building the Foundation for Broadband. What Is Broadband? Broadband. The Last Mile Deployment Challenges. Case Study: Palm. The Impact of Broadband. The World and the Economy. Case Study: Kodak and Second Story. Changing Culture. Case Study: TBWA/Chiat/Day. The Changing Culture. Case Study: shockwave.com. The Changing Landscape. The New Business Networks. Case Study: Columbia TriStar Interactive. The Changing Technologies. Case Study: ReplayTV. Final Thoughts on Reaching the Last Mile. Top Ten Reasons to Dread
eBook Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, Published: 2002
Fictionwise Release Date: June 2002
"Wake up and smell the bandwidth."
Flying cars, talking watches, and robots. Science-fiction movies like Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey helped us fantasize about a future world where sophisticated technology merged seamlessly into everyday life. But where is technology moving today? More importantly, how can you take advantage of the business opportunities technology is giving us for the future?
Picking up this book is your first step to understanding technology and how it will take us into the imminent future. The broadband revolution will move us further into the realm of science fiction, where a world of technology will become an integral part of our everyday society. First, the typewriter entered the business world, followed by the calculator, and finally the computer. Today, the advancement of business is driven by technological achievements, and in most cases those achievements are funded by businesses. Technology makes the business you are in possible, and the continual advancement of technology will allow all businesses to move quicker, sell more, and offer more to the consumer in the future. Broadband is just one such technology that is here today waiting for businesses to grasp it. The goal of this book is to help you better understand the coming technology and vision ahead -- a view just far enough away to energize you with the unlimited possibilities that a broadband world can offer you and your company.
First off, you may be asking questions such as, what is broadband? Why is it such a big deal? How can it help the future of my business? Broadband isn't an idea; it's a technological innovation on the existing copper-based analog phone system that is in place throughout the world today. By altering the analog phone system into a digital one, the consumer who once was told a 56-kbps modem was the speed limit of the Internet is now offered an almost unlimited speed connection. (This is covered in detail in Chapter 2.)
Also, with the introduction of this technological innovation, a race has started between the phone company and the cable companies. The race between these two industries is to see who can get the most number of consumers hooked up with their technology. Because your cable companies and telephone companies are just a few miles from your home, the term last mile was coined in reference to this race. This book will help you answer questions, as well as help you figure out the right plan of action your company needs to take. Right now, you may already be successful in the digital economy or have a good understanding of the Internet today and how it works in your business world. But there's a new world approaching that will change how the game is played for the future.
We are writing this book to help you easily understand broadband technically, eliminating all the hype, and to assist you as you plan and adopt your broadband strategy. But in order for you to feel comfortable with us, it's probably a good idea for you to understand where we came from and why we are writing this book. Understand that technology is our passion and we happen to be lucky that it also happens to be a part of our daily job. Running the Research and Development group for marchFIRST (www.marchFIRST.com), a leading global Internet professional services firm that helps companies build visionary business models, brands, systems, and processes, we must constantly keep abreast of new technologies, disseminating important information, creating prototypes, and teaching it to the rest of the company. We know how to weed out the marketing hype because we've seen it and heard it all.
THE BEGINNINGS OF BROADBAND -- MACROMEDIA SHOCKWAVE
What started broadband? Certainly many factors influenced the growth of the Internet toward Broadband, but one of the biggest was the porting of an interactive technology from the CD-ROM market to the web browser market. The Macromedia Director playback engine became a plug-in that could be used by Netscape's web browsers, thus unleashing the CD-ROM market onto the Web. As more and more CD-ROM developers gravitated to the Web, more people could view the developers' interactive content.
There was just one problem, however: The Web wasn't even close to being fast enough to support the interactive multimedia experience that CD-ROMs offered. The market didn't seem to care as it just grew and grew. People just continued to develop interactive content for the Web, hoping that some day the speed of the Internet would catch up.
That day has arrived. Behind the scenes, Macromedia has strategically positioned its plug-in for Director into the installer of Navigator and Communicator through a deal with Netscape, making the developer's life easy in terms of distribution. We can specifically remember the exact moment the engineer a few cubes away yelled "It works!" We all went running to his desk to see a very simple interactive Director movie running in a Netscape window. For a good minute, about 10 of us stood there and watched as he scrolled the movie up and down on the page. None of us had any idea what we were really looking at, because at the time, most people had no idea where to even type those funny-looking "http" things. Well, times have certainly changed. Just about everyone has an e-mail address and knows exactly what dot coms are all about.
The next big factor was the introduction of the plug-in version of QuickTime and RealPlayer. These two plug-ins not only allowed video to be played in the browser window but audio as well. Who cared if the movies were the size of a postage stamp and played back at about half a frame per second? Like the Apple IIe that hooked many of us way back when, others were hooked on this new potential too. Video distribution via a computer started a lot of people thinking about other ways of communicating using the computer. About this same time, electronic forms of communication like e-mail, file transferring, and websites were really taking off. Companies started adopting strategies of making the most of the Internet. Businesspeople the world over started seeing the possibilities of interacting with one another, with their customers, and with other businesses electronically. The potential energy that was building was enormous, and that potential was released into a full kinetic fury of a business named Amazon.com. When Amazon effectively demonstrated that a company could not only stand alone by doing business solely on the Internet but could make a monumental fortune at the same time, companies everywhere made a sharp left toward the on-ramp of the information superhighway.
This metaphorical highway was built years ago by our government and was now starting to get really crowded, with thousands of new companies merging on every day. What do you do when the freeways start getting crowded and slow? You build a new, bionic one. Enter broadband.
TRANSFORMING THE WEB INTO AN INTERACTIVE MEDIUM
Now that the Web has video, sounds, text, and graphics and is able to link to other pages using hypertext, interactivity has started to become a buzzword. Interactive websites are all the rage, and trade publications have been making them widely known. Companies everywhere have started to see the bigger picture of the Web's potential. People were really out there, clicking on links, entering their credit cards, and signing up for free e-mail services.
Interacting with the end user became the next logical step. At first, a website was like sending a message in a bottle to your customer. You wrote something, packaged it up, and sent it off -- except it cost $10,000 or more. Without advertising your website, which no one did, you had about as much chance of someone finding it as a floating message in a bottle. The hope was someone, from anywhere, would find it, read it, and contact you. But their return contact had to be essentially through another medium, such as a phone or maybe e-mail. There was really no measure of ROI (return on investment) for the effectiveness of a site. Sure, people were talking about "hits per day," making claims like "My company gets 50,000 hits per day." But real web developers knew that you had to first divide all the items on your site by the number of hits to come back with a close approximation of the number of people that were actually doing the clicking. Besides, faking the number of hits was as easy as editing a text file. It meant nothing.
BROADBAND AND THE NEXT INTERNET REVOLUTION
The inspiration for this book was fueled by our passion for technology and its unlimited uses. We are both already accomplished authors working in this highly demanding industry. However, this topic is something we are truly passionate about. We've been talking about broadband so much, to our teams, our peers, and our clients, that it seemed crazy if we didn't spend the extra time to get all of our thoughts on paper to share with the businesses that could really position themselves for the next big Internet wave.
You'll find that we've organized the book into three main parts. Part One is simply "The Broadband Revolution." In this section, we will go though and explain the history of the Internet and mass media, and the current infrastructure for technology. We will also explain in more detail what broadband is, the various ways it can be deployed, the deployment or "last mile" challenges, and the interactive possibilities.
Part Two, "The Impact of Broadband," discusses how the business decisions and mergers from around the globe affect the world and global economy. The section will also talk about how the changing culture of communication, technology, and commerce will affect businesses.
Finally, Part Three, "The Changing Landscape," brings it all back to you. You'll discover how broadband will affect your company and learn the necessary strategies to go from a business-to-business (commonly referred to as B-to-B) focus to a business-to-consumer (B-to-C) one. It also forecasts what life will be like in the future, which helps you better forecast your broadband strategy.
We hope you can take the information in this book and apply it right away in your business. Also, since research is an ongoing process, please visit our website -- www.lastmilebook.com -- to get timely updates to research and links to some important sites. We are here to help you understand everything you need to know before the last mile is completed.
-- Jason Wolf, Natalie Zee
Copyright © 2001 by McGraw-Hill