The World Wide Web is one of the greatest accomplishments in human history. At its inception the Internet was simply a library of static web sites. These static pages were created and maintained by an elite few. Those corporations and government agencies that rarely engaged because it was an excepted practice.
Over the past decade there has been a fundamental and global change in who defines what information is on the Internet. Web 2.0 is nothing short of a revolution -- a climate shift in which an everyday consumer has the potential to become a producer of content. We no longer lay wait impatiently for the next morsel of information. The Web 2.0 tools available to us -- allow us to create, curate, distribute and comment. These tools are household names -- Twitter, Facebook, the Huffington Post and Mashable just to name a few. These platforms have given us an alternative to the mainstream channels.
Some would have you believe that the revolution is more like a street fight with the incumbents. That we are neither skilled nor vetted to produce quality content. This could not be further from the truth. I do not deny that there is much content in the way of ridiculous and nonsensical. Fortunately, there is also much content that is informative and awe-inspiring.The consumption and production of content has become an infectious movement.
- 234 million - The number of websites as of (December 2009)
- 1.73 billion - Internet users worldwide (September 2009)
- 4 billion - Photos hosted by Flickr (October 2009)
- 1 billion -- The total number of videos YouTube serves in one day
These statistics are staggering so what is the catalyst that fuels this revolution -- it's mobile. The mobility landscape has been an ally to the content revolution. Devices such as smartphones, tablets, net books and the impending superphones have inspired generations of consumers.
Roughly, 519 million smartphones were sold in Q1 2010 and by 2014 3.6 exabytes of mobile data per month will be traveling over the Internet and carrier networks. It is pointless to ignore the numbers and companies from all verticals are rushing to monetize the mobile web -- from game publishers to magazine publishers to book publishers. Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley explains
...users are more willing to pay for content on mobile devices... for a number of reasons
- Easy-to-Use/Secure Payment Systems
- Small Price Tags
- Walled Gardens Reduce Piracy
- Established Store Fronts
As smartphones and superphones continue to dominate the mobile landscape - I think that tablets will be the primary platform for the consumption and production of content. Ned May -- VP and Lead Analyst of Outsell explains:
May continues to explain that publishers are moving more rapidly into the digital space but they are debating use case -- mobile app or HTML 5. Many of the publishers have limited resources and simply cannot support multiple apps on multiple platforms.
Smartphones have fallen off the publisher's radar because of the success of the tablet. It's about the lean back or lean forward - this is what the consumer is looking for.
What Sports Illustrated is doing with HTML 5 is very good. It just works well on the tablet -- it will work well on any tablet. This is different from building an application that will be locked into a specific tablet platform -- in the case the iPad.
--Ned May, VP Outsell
The landscape is moving swift and true. By 2014 the mobile Internet will overtake the static Internet. There is simply no slowing down -- companies must adapt swiftly to succeed or be forced into extinction.