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It’s always better online – industry playing catch-up

July 16, 2009 Leave a comment

iphone newspaperIts amazing to see what people are doing online nowadays.  Cut out any cross-section of modern day society and you will find it’s cyber-doppelganger, often making a process more efficient and accessible. From online dating to religious ritual, the Internet has provided an invaluable outlet for expressing the many facets of human culture.

Despite the proven power of the internet, there are still bastions of old-thinking that grumble about the pitfalls the online world can expose us to.  They will eventually come around. Take the political world. It wasn’t until the recent ‘Obama-fi-cation’ of politics that candidates began to expound their views via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and dozens of other cyber-stages. For the most part, pre-Obama politicians stuck to their nightly news pundits and caucus speeches to get the message out.  Other recent Goliaths to fall include the TV, film, and music industries (although I still question their web dedication).

There is still a major fraction of industry that refuses to accept the full efficiency and economy of the Internet.  Sure, they might be using email and Google search, but that’s about it. I’d like to create a list that spans various cross-sections of industries that are still missing the big picture. Feel free to chirp in with any other examples.

Newspapers:

I know.  Many of us still like to get that Sunday New York Times on the doorstep, crisp in our hands as we sip our morning coffee.  Is it really worth it though? It is estimated that nearly 500,000 trees are cut down to produce every Sunday’s newspaper. New digital ink formats like the Amazon Kindles’ make it possible to nearly replicate your old newspaper experience with a completely digital one. Not only that, but you will be able to access a wider variety of articles from various sources, rather than being trapped by the opinions of a handful of writers and media execs. We need to stop postponing the inevitable and bring the axe down on paper newspapers, rather than reading their slow, wordy obituaries.

Paper Receipts:

Sure, there appear to be a ton of technologies and solutions that can digitize receipts, but none of them have quite caught on yet. Most consumers still make a purchase from WalMart, BestBuy or McDonalds and still receive paper receipts that they either throw away or stow in some musty file cabinet. One notable company that hopes to digitize all receipts is AllEtronic, which creates an easy way to divert and organize all your receipts online with participating retailers. We need more retailers to jump on the bandwagon though. Not only does a world with no paper receipts prove more eco-friendly, but it also saves us all the hassle of dealing with crumpled up balls of trash.

Human Resources and Hiring:

Although we all know about online job sites like Monster.com to search for job openings, there still is a notable lack of enterprise hiring solutions that are fully online. Many businesses are still dealing with clunky installation CDs when it comes their recruiting, applicant tracking and applicant management needs. Hiring is something that becomes twenty times more efficient online because it can take on a more effective mode of collaboration, analytics and management.  Newton Software is one web accessible solution that is ahead of the curve.  Newton Software touts easy online access, a seamless hiring process and affordable pricing options.

Cars:

You’re thinking I’m a bit ahead of myself on this one. I’m actually speaking of the business model that manufacturers use to sell cars and how it may benefit from a Web 2.0 makeover.  Online advertising is now a multi-billion dollar business with Google leading the way through their innovative AdWords solution.  The auto-industry is desperately looking for new ways to market and sell their cars.

What if all of our modern day GPS-aware cars were able to serve us advertisements that were location relevant? Did dad forget to stop by Home Depot on his way home? Not if his car lets him know a few miles before the exit.   Sure, it may get annoying (or dangerous) if you are flocked by a swarm of flying Dunkin Donuts’ across your windshield, but it may be well worth the price break on your car.   Manufacturers could sell their cars at more affordable prices with some incoming ad-revenue from big brands across the country.   Perhaps you might have the choice to turn ‘annoying’ advertisements off by paying for the car at full price.