The internet is a rare example of technology that has delivered everything it promised. In a few short decades, the internet has revolutionized education, personal communications, urban planning, and especially the way we conduct business. The best part is that the internet isn’t even finished yet. A new generation of Web 3.0 technologies, bolstered by smarter websites, powerful mobile devices, and fast internet speeds, will give people new ways to access data and new tactics for businesses that are trying to reach consumers. Best of all, this evolution in technology has made it easier than ever before for small business owners to reach potential customers and for potential business owners to make headway into new markets.
Defining Web 3.0 can be tricky, with different futurists choosing to focus on different factors. For the purpose of this discussion, consider Web 3.0 to be made up of these factors. First, Web 3.0 represents the integration of new internet technologies like XHTML and AJAX that allow for better searches and faster web experiences. Second, Web 3.0 is based on the increased availability of high speed internet connections through wireless carriers, like 4g networks. High-speed internet access has to be ubiquitous enough so that mobile devices can get the information they need fast enough to display information in real time. And third, Web 3.0 requires an increase in the abilities of mobile devices and greater engagement from people who use them. Combined together, these factors paint a picture of how the future of the internet will look.
Mapping applications on mobile devices with real-time updates are a good example of a Web 3.0 application and how small businesses can use the technology to their benefit. In order for a mapping application like Google Maps to function, the system has to be able to send and receive a lot of information from the server at the same time. Not only does Google Maps keep track of the information about the users location and the maps of the area, it’s also finding relevant ads to show the user, loading information about local businesses, and preparing data for overlays in case the user wants to see traffic patterns and the like. All of this happens at once without the user noticing any significant delays. This requires the powerful mobile device, strong mobile internet connection, and intelligent algorithms and web design that all are the hallmarks of Web 3.0 technology.
For small business owners, the possibilities for advertising and marketing to potential customers are with Web 3.0 technology is limitless. More than 56 percent of Americans have smartphones and that total has been rising by 10% every year for the past three years. And these mobile devices can be used for listening to the radio, watching TV shows, searching the internet, shopping, and chatting with friends (oh, right… phone calls, too). And business owners can advertise to them directly on the device. It’s like people are walking around with little advertising boxes that are just waiting to receive messages for potential customers.
There are also huge benefits for small business owners in the ways of market research and advanced segmentation. For good or ill, computers programs are now advanced enough to cross-reference, interconnect, process and merge information from different sources to identify patterns for web traffic, shopping patterns, emerging trends among consumers. This means it’s much easier for business owners to reach their target audiences in more cost efficient ways, and with the advanced data on web browsing habits, it will become easier to craft messages that will resonate with potential customers. An example of this sort of semantic web can be seen in Facebook Open Graph. Graph search feature let’s user find valuable information about what their target audiences like and that information can be used to reach the people who are the target audience for an organization niche. This greatly reduces the startup costs for new businesses. The cost to publish content and advertise in a Web 3.0 environment is significantly lower than trying to have an equal amount of useful reach on traditional media channels. Lowering the cost of entering into a market encourages small business creation and helps more new small businesses succeed.
The internet is still growing and there is no reason to believe that business owners have seen everything that the web can do to increase profitability. Improvements in technology have reduced the cost to start a business, created new and more effective ways to communicate with potential customers, and allowed for smarter web systems that provide valuable information to consumers and sellers alike. As Web 3.0 technology becomes more prevalent, entrepreneurs and small business owners stand to reap a great bounty is they are ready to take advantage of the next phase of internet evolution.