Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, VictorOps Blog, Cloud Best Practices Network, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: IoT User Interface, Adobe Flex, Agile Computing

IoT User Interface: Article

The Business Case for Rich Internet Applications

Software renaissance creates new opportunities to deliver a better user experience

To quote Bob Dylan, “the times they are a changin’.”

Less than 10 years ago, still in its infancy, the Internet was a land of promise for businesses. Companies saw bright new ways to increase their agility, reach more customers and to deliver new, never before seen services. Unquestionably since then it has transformed the way consumers and businesses exchange information and has become a vital part of nearly every organization’s communication and operational architecture. Through the proliferation of Web-based applications, many companies have been able to expand their global footprint, empower and improve their business processes, and strengthen connections with customers, employees and partners.

While the Internet has become a critical catalyst for business advancement, and despite its widespread adoption, many organizations have found it to be incredibly primitive as a business platform. Trying to use traditional HTML for serious enterprise business applications, for which it was never designed to support, has shown significant chinks in its armor. For one thing, HTML is non-extensible and cannot be customized to support special needs. More important though, traditional HTML page-based Internet applications inhibit interaction in the interface; pages are slow to load, processes require multiple steps, and a small, standard set of controls limits the ability for developers to create truly engaging, user-friendly applications. These limitations do not allow for a dynamic user experience and lessen productivity, while causing frustration as users try to complete online tasks. One consequence of this frustration is process abandonment, which negatively impacts the bottom line.

For businesses used to a wide range of high-performance features from desktop applications, these traditional Internet applications are more cumbersome to use than their desktop counterparts. Going hand-in-hand with higher process abandonment rates are lower adoption rates, which limit an organization’s ability to realize a return on their technology investment. However, the next generation of Web application development is gaining attention and counteracts the limitations set forth by traditional Web development. Rich Internet applications (RIAs) fulfill the promises of the Web and deliver a platform for immediate feedback, greater usability, and a better user experience.

RIAs combine the ubiquity of the Web browser with the richness of user interface elements found in traditional desktop applications, creating a truly interactive, engaging and sticky environment perfectly suited to deliver today's business applications. As software developers have moved from traditional packaged desktop applications to a Software-as-a-Service (Saas) delivery model, users are clamoring for access to a number of compelling features that make using SaaS an easier decision.

According to research group Gartner, by 2010, 60 percent of new applications will include RIA capabilities, meaning support for user interfaces that look very much like native interfaces, including sliders, calculators, and radio buttons. For software companies looking to provide better service to their customers, RIAs will provide a more strategic advantage.

RIAs speed time to development, are easier to use, simple to deploy, offer significant cost savings, increase productivity, and fuel efficiencies – all while providing an engaging end-user experience. While many businesses have begun to experience the power of RIAs for customer-facing software to provide a better level of interaction with customers, there’s also a powerful argument why they should be incorporated into back office mission-critical processes to further drive business results.

They Have Staying Power
The rich Internet application is the next evolution in Web development and is here for the long haul. RIAs are attracting attention because users easily interact with them, they enable interactions that HTML can’t, and – despite their youthful stance – they get business results.

Consumers have gotten a taste of RIAs and management theory suggests that better experience leads to higher profits, leading more businesses to strive to deliver a fantastic end-user experience. According to a recent report from Forrester Research, 52 percent of online consumers have used highly interactive applications such as Google Maps and Zillow. Organizations that do not provide users with content and services in an engaging and interactive interface will find their customers high-tailing it for competitors that do provide a better user experience.

RIAs also shine as tools for managing the quality of the user’s experience. There’s a growing focus on the importance of experience and the realization by many businesses across multiple industries that it matters as much as the functionality. As the lines between work and home continue to blur, people expect their business applications to have the same dynamic power as the Web-based consumer applications they’re using everyday.

Also contributing to RIAs’ staying power is the strong industry support from software giants such as Microsoft and Adobe Systems. Rich Internet applications are another step in the Web’s evolutionary process and are being spearheaded by Adobe’s Flash/Flex and Microsoft’s Silverlight/.NET. As a result, these solutions enable developers to create more interactive, dynamic, and engaging user experiences that increase user satisfaction and encourage greater productivity.

Further illustrating RIAs’ capacity for continuance are the hardware devices permeating the market. Apple’s iPhone, Hewlett-Packard’s interactive Canvas, and the Microsoft Surface are perfect examples of devices designed to host RIAs. RIAs work with existing technology infrastructure and extend the capabilities of the browser with a rich client such as Flash player. RIAs can be distributed across a broad range of devices including Pocket PCs, Palm Pilots, and Sony PlayStation while delivering a consistent user experience across all platforms and devices without requiring any extreme modifications.

When the software is being developed by industry leaders, and hardware manufacturers are designing devices that enable users to take advantage of the technology wherever they are, it is evident that RIAs are indeed the real deal and here to stay.

They Drive Customer Loyalty
The powerful digital platforms offered through RIAs are also invaluable for the marketers whose job it is to build brands. With the expanding role of the chief marketing officer moving beyond advertising, brand management, and market research, many senior marketers are busy managing the rise of new media, the growing number of sales and service touch points and the fragmentation of customer segments. A recent McKinsey Quarterly report notes that as the forces of marketing proliferation gather strength, it is requiring a broadening of the CMO’s role.

A critical component of that role is an understanding of new technologies such as RIAs that respond to customers’ needs, can transform the way marketers build brand relationships, and deliver an experience that exceeds customer expectations, encouraging them to spend more time and money when patronizing a company Website.

Z + Partners, a marketing, research, and forecasting firm located in Brooklyn, N.Y., recently conducted an analysis of the top 20 global brands, revealing that each spends less on marketing than its next nearest competitor. The same analysis illustrated they all spend on average 18 percent more on IT infrastructure than their nearest competitor. For many business, what this means is that RIAs may be the new glue that holds brands together.

RIAs can create more passionate users, causing a social epidemic that extends the marketing reach. When the end-user experience is enhanced, people are excited and pass along the message of what they’ve liked, thereby igniting buzz and increasing brand awareness. Users engaged in an application that is intuitive and familiar are also more likely to spend more time using the software. As a result, process abandonment decreases, and, by easing transactions, they are likely to spend more.

More Stories By Dave Wolf

Dave Wolf is a Vice President of Cynergy Systems, Inc. Prior to joining Cynergy, he held senior management positions at several major software firms including Sybase and Microsoft, where he was responsible for the development, marketing and sales of several enterprise class software products. A sought-after public speaker, he has presented at major technology conferences such as JavaOne, AJAXWorld and Microsoft TechEd. At Cynergy, he oversees consulting operations worldwide and spends most of his time interacting directly with the field and working in every time zone but his own.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, a producer of the first smartphones and tablets, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. He will explain how M2M controllers work through wirelessly connected remote controls; and specifically delve into a retrofit option that reverse-engineers control codes of existing conventional controller systems so they don't have to be replaced and are instantly converted to become smart, connected devices.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.