Category Archives: Technology related issues

Web 2.0 Platform: How YouTube has changed the way people communicate and collaborate

Introduction

As the world ushers in the new millennium, it also brings along a series of noticeable development especially in the field of technology. One of them is the introduction of Web 2.0 that has kicked off a multitude of newer platforms for communication purposes (Tapscott & Williams, 2008). All these platforms have brought the world closer together by erasing any physical boundaries. Its usage is not restricted to only individuals but companies and governments are also taking advantage of these Web 2.0 platforms. Arguably, one of the biggest player and front runners is YouTube (Tapscott & Williams, 2008). Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to look at how YouTube has changed the way people communicate and collaborate. To answer this question, this essay will explain briefly the concept behind YouTube. Then, this essay is also going to discuss how YouTube interacts with other Web 2.0 technologies. Finally, it will analyze how YouTube has changed the way people communicate and collaborate.

A brief concept of YouTube

YouTube is a company started in 2005 by three IT entrepreneurs (Costigan & Perry, 2012). In 2006, it is purchased by Google and has been running as a part of the company till date (Costigan & Perry, 2012). YouTube is a website that enables users to share videos by uploading or downloading these clips through the usage of Adobe Flash Video and HTML 5 technology (Shelly & Frydenberg, 2010). Although the majority of the video contents are uploaded by individuals, major corporations like CBS, Hulu, BBC and VEVO are also making use of this site to make some of their materials available to the public via a partnership program (Shelly & Frydenberg, 2010). In early 2012, it is reported that about four billion videos are streamed from this website daily.

YouTube interaction with other Web 2.0 technologies

In 2010, YouTube has launched a new design that makes it easier for users to interact with other Web 2.0 technologies (Kock, 2012). One of the most notable features is the ability to share any video contents with other social networking as well as blogging sites such as Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Blogger and Tumblr (Kock, 2012). Recently, after the launching of Google+ in 2011, YouTube is integrated directly into Google+ and Google Chrome browser (Lastufka & Dean, 2008). This means users have the ability to view and search for any YouTube videos from the interface of these sites. Besides that, video streaming is also accessible for selected smartphones after their introduction of YouTube Mobile in 2007 (Kock, 2012).

How YouTube has changed the way people communicate and collaborate

Its ability to allow users to upload video contents has managed to change the way people communicate and collaborate because this creates a situation whereby relationships and experiences are deemed impossible before the existence of YouTube.

Video logging

One of the most popular types of video that has changed the way people communicate is video logging (Lastufka & Dean, 2008). It is almost similar to blogging except video logging allows the author to share their experiences and hobbies to the public using a video format. This eliminates a number of restrictions caused by the usage of a written text. With video logging, anyone who has access to the Internet can make their own videos and upload them onto this website. In fact, many have used YouTube as a platform in order to gain popularity and become household names (Blossom, 2011). One good example is Ray William Johnson who rose to stardom by posting comedy video logs. Apart from that, both, Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black, have also reached celebrity status by sharing their homemade music videos on YouTube. With millions and billions of viewers, YouTube has paved a pathway for amateur singers, directors, comedians and musicians to showcase their talents (Blossom, 2011). This Web 2.0 platform redefines how new talent is communicated to the general public. The old fashion way of searching for talent is time consuming and confine to those who can pull the right strings. YouTube has changed all that and one only needs to make use of this new platform in order to rise to fame.

News

YouTube has also proven itself as a new platform for worldwide news. This can be seen when breaking news is captured by individuals using mobile or video cameras and these footages are uploaded on YouTube (Francq, 2010). Normally, they are taken by those who are accidentally on the scene like the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. One can find many videos of this natural disaster unfold in front of their eyes. Besides that, raw footages of war from Afghanistan and Iraq can also be found on YouTube. This new platform has enabled anyone to become a reporter and share news that may interest the world (Francq, 2010). Before YouTube, news is, generally, broadcasted on television networks and interviews are carried out by reporters. Their account may not be complete or even edited before being aired on the television (Lastufka & Dean, 2008). YouTube has changed the way news is communicated to the public. Raw and unedited videos on breaking news allow the public to form their own opinions and judgment. Aside from that, these amateur videos are more often than not quicker than news that is broadcasted on a television network and thus, alerting the public faster than ever before (Costigan & Perry, 2012). With the ability to share on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, the public is able to watch the unfolding of events by the minutes as if in real life.

Businesses

Recently, many business organizations have taken advantage on the popularity of YouTube to promote their products and services (Thomas & Wasmund, 2011). YouTube has boasted a huge number of audiences, claiming about 2 billion videos being streamed per day. It is no wonder YouTube has become one of the emerging trends of advertising for businesses (Ihlen, Bartlett, & May, 2011). Previously, advertisements can only be done through television or movie theatres. This can be expensive, time consuming and lack of audience targeting (Thomas & Wasmund, 2011). YouTube has broken all those limitations. Firstly, business organizations only need to pay when users watch their advertisements. Besides that, YouTube also allows businesses to advertise based on their target audience (Ihlen, Bartlett, & May, 2011). For example, a company that is selling sports equipment can choose to advertise their products and services on videos concerning to sports. This way of targeted advertising is almost impossible before YouTube.

Education

YouTube has also transformed the world’s education scene. Conventional ways such as listening to mentors, books or attending classes are no longer seen as the only resources for one to pursue an education (Rogers, 2009). There are countless of how-to, documentary and instructional videos ranging from any topics under skies can be found on YouTube. Videos make it more interesting and visual to captivate the students’ attention in learning new skills and knowledge. Apart from that, YouTube has also allowed anyone who has deep, profound knowledge on any subject to become an educator (Rogers, 2009). They can create videos and upload them onto this site in order to share their expertise as well as knowledge of the subject matter in order to help other people. Since anybody can be an educator, YouTube has also transformed education into a much quicker pace. Information can be spread wider across the globe and as a result, this will create a more informed world or society.

Conclusion

Web 2.0 platforms have definitely shaped how people communicate and collaborate in an enormous way. Digital content sharing and social networking has made traditional communication mediums seem like nothing. YouTube is beyond any doubt one of the platforms that enables users to share their thoughts and experiences in a new, better and quicker method. Individuals can upload videos showcasing their personal talents and use the website as a platform to jumpstart a new career. Besides that, business organizations can also make use of YouTube to garner more viewership and popularity in order to promote their products and services. Furthermore, YouTube has also managed to transform the way news and educations are presented to the general public. All in all, YouTube as a part of Web 2.0 technologies has introduced a new way of communication and collaboration through content as well as information sharing. Almost a decade ago, this may seem impossible. However, Web 2.0 technologies has make this happened and it is growing in popularity and function day by day.

References

Blossom, J. (2011). Content Nation: Surviving and Thriving as Social Media Changes Our Work, Our Lives, and Our Future. Hoboken : John Wiley & Sons.

Costigan, S. S., & Perry, J. (2012). Cyberspaces and Global Affairs. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Francq, P. (2010). Collaborative Search and Communities of Interest: Trends in Knowledge Sharing and Assessment. Hershey: Idea Group Inc (IGI).

Ihlen, Ø., Bartlett, J., & May, S. (2011). The Handbook of Communication and Corporate Social Responsibility. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Kock, N. F. (2012). Interdisciplinary Applications of Electronic Collaboration Approaches and Technologies. Hershey: IGI Global.

Lastufka, A., & Dean, M. (2008). YouTube: An Insider’s Guide to Climbing the Charts. Sebastopol: O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Rogers, P. (2009). Encyclopedia of Distance Learning. Hershey: Idea Group Inc (IGI).

Shelly, G. B., & Frydenberg, M. (2010). Web 2.0: Concepts and Applications. Stamford: Cengage Learning.

Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2008). Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. New York: Portfolio.

Thomas, M., & Wasmund, S. (2011). The Smarta Way To Do Business: By Entrepreneurs, for Entrepreneurs; Your Ultimate Guide to Starting a Business. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

A SWOT Analysis on Sony’s Home Entertainment Products

* Normally, a SWOT analysis should be written in a table format with bulleted lists.

Strengths

For a long time, Sony has successfully built their name in the home entertainment industry. They are known for their reputation in producing innovative and high quality products (Stadtler, 2011). Based on their history, Sony has a track record of coming up with a lot of new devices, the first of its kind on the consumers market. Besides that, the company also has imprinted their brand among consumers all over the world spread across 204 countries. Despite a drop in sales revenue in 2008, Sony still manages to earn about $88.7 billion in profit margin and is ranked in the top 30 in the InterBrands award as the most recognizable brand among consumers (Stadtler, 2011). This is because Sony has a diversity of products on the market from LCD television to Blue Ray disks that appeal to the consumers.

Besides that, Sony has a group of dedicated and experienced engineers working for the company. Since Sony produces a wide range of home entertainment products, engineers from this company have the opportunity to try their hands on building all these equipment (Pride & Ferrell, 2011). Aside from that, they also can learn from past mistakes and re-apply their knowledge in later years as well as future products. These learning curves that are thrown at the development engineers are highly valued by Sony. They are the company’s living resources and it is something that gives Sony an upper hand over newer competitors (Pride & Ferrell, 2011).

Another strength that defines Sony over the others is their level of competitiveness over other brands on the home entertainment industry (Goektuerk, 2007). Recently, the company has decided to change their tagline to ‘Now Life’s Better’ to go against LG’s motto, ‘Life’s Good’. Apart from that, their latest pricing strategy for high definition television model, Bravia XBR9, is to go directly up against Samsung and LG (Goektuerk, 2007). Finally, Sony also has the ability to expand to different markets and work with various products such as home theatre system, LCD television, video as well as audio devices.

Weaknesses

Despite all of the success Sony has managed to achieve throughout the years, there are a number of weaknesses and wrong moves that the company has experienced. Consequently, Sony has to let go of about 16 000 jobs worldwide and closes six of its production factory (Pahl & Richter, 2009). One of the reasons is the poor number of sales on a few of its products as well as bad business decisions. Since Sony does not manufacture their own LCD panel, they form an alliance with Samsung. This joint venture proves to be a failure and cost the company an estimated net loss of $100 million during 2005 to 2006 (Pahl & Richter, 2009). Besides that, due to tough competition from other brands in terms of pricing, Sony faces a rough time in recent years. Other companies such as Toshiba, Sharp and Panasonic overtake Sony in sales.

Another weakness is connected to Sony’s poor management. This company has too many products on the market from home entertainment, communication to games, there seems to be a lack of direction or concentration (Ferrell & Hartline, 2010). One good example is the building of PlayStation 3. The company’s focus on showing great graphics through high definition television has minimized the number of potential customers. Only those who are already owners of HDTV will be tempted to purchase and enjoy PS3 to its fullest. Besides that, almost 60 percent of production are made in Japan and later, distribute to other regions. This management concept increases the prices of their products and leads to lower sales (Ferrell & Hartline, 2010).

Opportunities

Sony is a company that utilizes their branding image as an innovator. They rarely copy any products from their competitors and always come up with something new (Williams, 2006). The engineering department has been working hard to improve Sony’s products from just being good looking to innovative features such as intelligent and user-friendly applications as well as improve visual appearance for example, the introduction of 3D on their televisions.

Besides that, Sony has also invested and improved their marketing strategies in order to attract new customers, create awareness as well as trust from the consumers (Williams, 2006). One successful advertising technique is the company’s partnership with FIFA or the Federation Internationale de Football Association. Sony is one of the proud sponsors for the World Cup in 2010 and will continue to so for the same event on 2014.

Aside from that, Sony’s realization that they need to be competitive in terms of their pricing has also created a lot of opportunities for the company to build a larger customer base (Stadtler, 2011). One good example is the pricing strategy for Bravia XBR9. Not just that, there has also been talks about expanding their business overseas to promising countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China (Stadtler, 2011). This is a smart move considering that the citizens from these countries represent more than 40 percent of the world’s population.

Threats

There are a number of threats that will hinder Sony from reaching its full potential in the future. First of all, the current economic downturn has caused the company to experience lower revenue (Pride & Ferrell, 2011). Countries such as the United States, Japan and Europe that are hit hard by the slow economy contribute about 74 percent of the company’s profit. Furthermore, the fluctuation in foreign currency exchange has resulted in a stronger Japanese Yen. This works against Sony as it will appear that their products are more expensive (Pride & Ferrell, 2011).

Another form of threat for Sony is the rise in black market (Goektuerk, 2007). Electrical products that are smuggled or counterfeited are on the rise in 2010. The number is supposed to double in the near future. Although manufactured with less quality, these goods appeal to consumers because they are cheaper. Besides that, an emerging production market of electrical counterfeited devices in China has also played a role in taking away some of the revenue from Sony (Goektuerk, 2007).

Finally, there is an increase in the price of raw materials for the manufacturing of electronic devices (Williams, 2006). Partially, this is caused by the unstable supply and demand conditions from companies such as Sony. The effect of the economic slumps as well as the risk in currency exchange has pushed the company to take calculated move. However, it is predicted that Sony has suffered from a loss of about $350 million in 2008 to 2009 due to this reason (Williams, 2006).

References

Ferrell, O. C. & Hartline, M. (2010). Marketing strategy. Cengage Learning. Connecticut.

Goektuerk, H. (2007). Personal buying behavior and marketing decisions. GRIN Verlag. Munich.

Pahl, N. & Richter, A. (2009). SWOT analysis – Idea, methodology and a practical approach. GRIN Verlag. Munich.

Pride, W. & Ferrell, O. C. (2011). Marketing. Cengage Learning. Connecticut.

Stadtler, R. (2011). Strategy coursework – Sony corporation. GRIN Verlag. Munich.

Williams, C. (2006). Management. Cengage Learning. Connecticut.

Innovation – Dropbox.com

Introduction

Innovation can be defined as a form of new creation for the purpose of improving existing products, services, technologies or ideas in order to make them more effective (Roebuck, 2011). These new ideas are often accepted and appealed to a larger market because they provide comfort and convenience to the users. One company that is synonymous with the word invention is Dropbox.com. This company is founded by 2 graduates from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT in 2007. They are Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi (Roebuck, 2011). Both come up with the idea of innovating the way individuals can share files and folders on different devices such as mobile, desktop and laptop which they own through file synchronization using the Internet. Basically, Dropbox is a company providing web-based file hosting services through cloud storage (Surhone, 2010). Although not new, this service can be considered the first of its kind as it solves most of the problems that existing service providers are suffering from at that time. Till date, Dropbox has registered more than 50 million users and grossing revenue worth $240 million, an astounding figure for a small and new company (Surhone, 2010). Therefore, this paper is going to analyze the innovative ideas from Dropbox and their success throughout the years. Besides that, an elaboration on the impact this company has made to individuals, companies, schools and organizations will also be discussed. In order to see the growth of this company, this paper is also going to look into its financial situation. Finally, this essay will end with a conclusion as a form of summarization from the points that have been discussed and analyzed.

Dropbox: Reinventing innovation in cloud storage

The whole idea starts with the founder of Dropbox, Drew Houston, who keeps forgetting his USB drive while he is studying in MIT. Due to problems such as poor networking, bugs and not user friendly services, he begins to script his own program that will enable him to access files and folders from anywhere easier and more efficient as long as he has access to the Internet. Soon, he begins to realize that this program can benefit other people who are facing the same problem and thus, the creation of Dropbox.com.

Dropbox is a free service that enables users to share photos, documents and videos from anywhere (Miller, Vandome & John, 2010). This is made possible by the usage of cloud storage technology. Every file and folder users upload onto their computer, it can directly be shared with other devices as well. From desktop, laptop to mobile, this innovative idea will keep all that information safe. Every user is offered with a 2 GB free online storage. However, if someone wishes to upgrade their online storage, they can pay $10 per month for 50 GB or $20 monthly for 100 GB.

This program appeals to a wide market because of its ability to allow users to retrieve their information even if something happen to one of their devices from any part of the world (Miller, Vandome & John, 2010). This scenario often happens to users who are frequent travelers with a high possibility of forgetting to bring along some important documents or losing their electronic devices to accidental spills. Aside from that, Dropbox is able to offer its services to a wide range of operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iPhone and Blackberry in comparison to other providers of the same kind (Perera & Pudney, 2011). Besides that, there are also some add on for web services that allow users to do more with their files and folders like synching IM chat logs, the ability to send files to Dropbox via Gmail and etcetera.

All these services that are provided by Dropbox are innovative as it manages to provide convenience and efficiency to users in files and folders managements as well as in eliminating existing problems in cloud storage technology.

The success of Dropbox

Dropbox has achieved many milestones since their official debut in 2008. The founder of this company, Drew Houston, has probably made one of the smartest business moves by turning down Steve Jobs’s offer of buying his idea for Apple. In October, 2011, it is estimated that this company is worth between $5 and $10 billion making Dropbox one of the upcoming and most profitable company in Silicon Valley (Perera & Pudney, 2011). It ranks in the fifth place beside giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Zynga and Groupon.

Apart from that, Dropbox has also received many praises for its easy to use and simple design from publications like The Washington Post and The New York Times. In 2009, Dropbox receives the Crunchie Award for Best Internet Application as well as Editor’s Choice Award for Macworld (Feinleib, 2011). The company continues its winning streak and in 2010, Dropbox is nominated for the Webby Award and the Mac Design Awards (Feinleib, 2011).

Furthermore, Dropbox is listed as one of the top 10 applications of all time for both, Apple and Android users. With all these awards and financial success, both founders, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, enter the top 30 entrepreneurs who are under 30 years old. In 2012, TechCrunch, a website that publishes analysis and technology news, has crowned Dropbox as the startup company of the year.

Implications of Dropbox on individuals, companies, schools and organizations

There are many implications towards individuals, companies, schools and organizations that use the Dropbox technology. Most of these implications are believe to be positive. First of all, this program allows users a very easy way to share files and folders (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). For individuals, the nightmare of photo sharing between family members is a thing of the past. Besides that, this feature is also perfect for companies, schools and organizations that have a lot or team projects. In school, the administration can create accounts for every teacher and keep them up to date with current news as well as training sessions. Meanwhile, in companies and organizations, management and employees can collaborate with each other and get things done efficiently.

Secondly, Dropbox ensures data are kept safe using online storage technology that is hosted by third parties (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010). In this case, Dropbox uses the services that are provided by Amazon. This feature is very important for everybody especially companies and organizations that have very important documents. They cannot afford to lose this critical information and may suffer from financial lost. Dropbox allows users to retrieve all the data which they have saved rescuing them from spending countless of time, energy and effort. Furthermore, this software also provides schools and companies to get back files as well as folders which they have accidentally deleted (Laudon & Traver, 2010). In the business industry, time is equivalent to money and creating back lost information is a total loss.

However, there are also negative implications with the usage of Dropbox. One of the major criticisms is regarding how the company protects users’ data (Laudon & Traver, 2010). According to the company, all data is guarded with AES-256 and SSL and thus, other people cannot gain access to that information without the users’ passwords. Nevertheless, in order to make more money, Dropbox duplicates users’ data to save disk space and bandwidth (Yates, 2011). This means that there will be no two copies of the same file being uploaded into Dropbox. According to experts, in order for Dropbox to do so, it means the company will have accessibility to unencrypted data (Yates, 2011). Employees can actually view data that are stored in the cloud storage and misuse them. Since it is free and available across various operating systems, many users are willing to let this go and continue using their services.

Dropbox’s financial situation

With 50 million users worldwide, the company is earning about $240 million in 2011 despite 96 percent of its users are those who pay nothing. Dropbox starts off with a mere $7.2 million from investors such as Y Combinator in 2008 (Kimmons, 2011). Basically, Dropbox earns money by getting investors to invest in this company through selling their ideas as well as establishing a huge client base. As the company’s reputation soars, there will be more investors who are willing to put in their money. This scenario happens recently in October 2011 whereby companies like Sequoia, Greylock, Benchmark, Accel, Goldman Sachs and RIT Capital Partners are willing to stretch their budget just to be a part of the stakeholders of Dropbox (Kimmons, 2011). Amazingly, Dropbox has raised about $250 million in revenue last year. Besides that, the company also earns money by providing extra storage to their users (Kimmons, 2011). They can choose to pay $10 per month to increase their online storage to 10 gigs or $20 for 20 gigs. Soon, Dropbox is going to offer a scheme for 50 gigs online storage to users.

Besides that, in 2009, Dropbox has also kicked off a referral program (Maurya, 2012). This method encourages users to introduce Dropbox to friends and families. Both the existing and new users will get extra storage from the company through this program. It is estimated that this account for about 60 percent of users sign up for this company. Through the referral program, Dropbox experiences a surge of users and putting it on the line as one of the most profitable company.

Apart from that, in May 2011, Dropbox has also signed a deal with huge mobile companies such as Sony Ericsson and Softbank that all their mobile phones will be pre-loaded with the Dropbox application (Maurya, 2012). This move allows the company to spread their influence across the market even more. By the end of 2011, Dropbox is evaluated to be worth as much as $5 billion to $10 billion.

Future prospect of Dropbox

Due to the company’s operation on the Freemium financial model, it is estimated that Dropbox’s financial status will continue growing strongly (Roebuck, 2011). This business model is divided into two; free and premium accounts. Since 96 percent of Dropbox current users pay nothing, it is calculated that in future, they are very likely to increase their online storage space. Aside from that, these users will also most probably pay more in order to gain extra features on their accounts for example to increase the time limit (Roebuck, 2011). One of the founders of Dropbox, Drew Houston, makes a calculated guess that even if the company does not sign any more users for the next 2 years, the business will still be able to grow exponentially (Surhone, 2010).

Being the one of the leading companies on cloud storage, Dropbox is looking to broaden the number of features they are offering to their users. In future, users can expect Dropbox to expand beyond desktops, laptops and mobiles. This company is planning to venture into synching files and folders to cameras, televisions as well as cars (Surhone, 2010). Talks with prospective companies are currently being held. Aside from that, Dropbox also has taken initiative to improve on its safety net feature and storage space issues. One of the moves is to do an upgrade on the one-month history system (Miller, Vandome & John, 2010). It is possible that in future, users will be able to enjoy a longer time to track their previous works. Other than that, Dropbox has also taken the suggestion of adding a browser-side app that enables editing straight from the Dropbox cloud seriously (Miller, Vandome & John, 2010).

With all the potential portrays by this company, Dropbox is ambitious and hopeful to garner in 2.5 billion users in the near future.

Conclusion

This paper has given a brief history about Dropbox.com and an analysis on how the software operates. There is also a discussion on the success and awards that this company has achieved throughout the years. Aside from that, a look into the impact that Dropbox has on individuals, schools, companies and organizations is also included in this paper. For the final section, there is an examination into the financial status and future prospect of Dropbox. All in all, Dropbox is a company that offers cloud storage software to its users and it is expected to grow even more in the future. So far, the founder, Drew Houston, has been doing an excellent job in making all the right business moves taking his company a step above the rest of its competitors.

References

Feinleib, D. (2011). Why startups fail and how yours can succeed. Apress. New York.

Kimmons, J. (2011). The free virtual office in the cloud. FeedBrewer Inc. Colorado.

Laudon, K. & Traver, C. (2010). E-Commerce 2011. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.

Maurya, A. (2012). Running lean: Iterate from plan a to a plan that works. O’Reilly Media. Sebastopol.

Miller, F., Vandome, A. & John, M. (2010). Dropbox (Storage provider). GRIN Verlag. Munich.

Osterwalder, A. & Pigneur, Y. (2010). Business model generation: A handbook for visionaries, game changers and challengers. Wiley-Blackwell. New Jersey.

Perera, G. & Pudney, C. (2011). Out of office. First Step Publishing. Indianapolis.

Roebuck, K. (2011). Dropbox: High impact strategies – what you need to know: Definitions, adoptions, impact, benefits, maturity, vendors. Lightning Source Inc. Victoria.

Surhone, L. (2010). Dropbox (Service). GRIN Verlag. Munich.

Yates, J. (2011). Freesourcing: How to start a business with no money. Wiley-Blackwell. New Jersey.