iData Technologies Blog

Internet connectivity speed: a challenge and an opportunity

Posted 8/29/2008 10:05:44 AM by Mark Reichard

As a followup to the post about the number of Internet users in China as compared to the US, I wanted to provide a link to a recently published survey about Internet speeds in the US as compared to the rest of the world.  The survey is put out by the Communication Workers of America, and it includes results of online speed tests conducted through their Website.  For us, the key fact was that US speeds averaged around 2.3 megabits per second, while users in Japan average 63 mbps(yes, thats 30 times faster than the US).   Other countries highlighted include South Korea (49 mbps), France (17 mbps) and Canada (7.6 mbps).

In e-commerce and Web strategy sessions with US executives trying to figure out how to address the Asian market, it's been my experience that a lot of US IT and marketing folks start from the assumption that Internet connectivity, e-commerce infrastructures and overall user sophistication in the rest of the world are all years behind where they are in the US.  It's important that decision makers realize that the truth is more complicated.  Yes, there are regions where connectivity is slower and e-commerce is harder, but the converse is also true -- there are, as this report shows, many countries that are far ahead of the US in Web infrastructure.  

The CWA is focused on the need to upgrade US Internet access, and that is a legitimate concern.  US business owners and Web decision makers should also recognize the inherent opportunity in a world full of potential consumers who are often at the other end of a really fast connection. 

Tags: E-marketing Strategy, TranslationComments

ROI of Tagging

Posted 8/27/2008 6:01:37 PM by Mark Reichard

I'm just back from vacation in Canada, and I found it interesting that the author of one of my favorite Cleveland blogs is also just getting back from a week in the same general area of Ontario.  Like my family, Callahan is impressed with the commitment of our neighbors to the north to the idea of sustainable energy.  We're always impressed with the everyday, just-a-part-of-normal life environmentalism we see there, including recycling bins in restaurants and limits to out-of-control growth. 

Now that I'm back and catching up on podcasts, it seems that I'm hearing everywhere (for example, here) lately about the growing awareness of the business value of tagging content to make it more searchable and indexable.  Tagging content is the process of associating keywords and other meta data ("tags") with content -- either when the content is created or when users read it.  In the study I linked to above, researchers estimated that users at IBM save 12 seconds for every Intranet search they do because of good tagging --- which saves IBM an estimated 955 person-hours a week. 

As someone with lots of experience both building data repositories that depend on tagging and using them (going back to work with Lotus notes at PMSC and E&Y in the mid 90's), I'm surprised that the figure is as low as 12 seconds per search.  In my experience, good meta data, including keywords and tagging can make the difference between Intranet or Web users finding exactly the resource they need the first time and hours of fruitless searches.  In my experience, it's not an exaggeration to say that good tagging is as important as good content, or, more precisely, that good tagging is enables good content to do its job.  The value of tagging goes way beyond search and visually appealing Web 2.0 tricks like tag clouds.  If you build tagging into the information architecture of a site before you start writing code, you can design the site to dynamically display relevant content --- things like showing related product pages when a user reads a blog post, or showing industry specific information for the industry a user selected when they registered with your site.  Bottom line --- tagging is key, as is a good information architecture and content plan (developed before you start writing code).

Tags: Content ManagementComments