Emerging Areas of Research in Business Data Communications

Emerging Areas of Research in Business Data Communications

Debashis Saha (Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, India) and Varadharajan Sridhar (Sasken Communication Technologies, India)
DOI: 10.4018/ijbdcn.2011100104
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Much like the financial crisis that precipitated a new world order, a quiet revolution of some sorts is happening in the telecom industry worldwide. The bankruptcy of stalwarts such as Nortel and the impregnation of Google and Apple into the mobile phone space at an amazing alacrity are changing the world order once dominated by the likes of biggies such as AT&T. What are these changes and what can we expect in the future? We explore in this article, the emerging technologies, market evolution, business models and regulatory interventions and indicate possible research directions in the area of data communications and networking in the coming days. 
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When Tim Berners-Lee, then a graduate of Oxford University, invented the World Wide Web at CERN circa 1990 as an internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing, little did he think that after 20 years it would become such a hyper-phenomenon. In its early days, Web was a read only- traffic was always one way, from web to readers. There was no possibility of adding new content or modifying the content. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, now defines Web as a set of “applications that are pieced together - with the characteristics that the apps are relatively small, the data is in the cloud, the apps can run on any device (PC or mobile), the apps are very fast and very customizable, and are distributed virally (social networks, email, etc.)”. Evidently, WWW has travelled a long way from what it started with. It has come of age by breaking the digital divide and making the information available for everyone out there looking for it. The move from information to interaction has changed the web from read-only to and read-n-write. From a developer’s perspective the web moved from html based web to more sophisticated Ajax platform.

Since the web now is more about the users content, it makes all the more about users preferences, user likes and user dislikes. As far as the ownership over the resources was concerned, the individual has gained in terms of democracy as he has every right to express freely on the web. The flow of information changed drastically with the emergence of social networks. You are connected the friends, acquaintances and relatives through the virtual communities and are constantly fed with what they want to share. The scalability of the mobile platform from phone devices to communication devices for both data and voice was critical on the diffusion of the web services and applications.

The emergence of Internet-based social media has made it possible for one person to communicate with hundreds or even thousands of other people in the network. Social media encompasses a wide range of online, word-of-mouth forums including blogs, discussion boards and chat rooms, consumer-to-consumer e-mail, consumer product or service ratings websites and forums, Internet discussion boards and forums, moblogs (sites containing digital audio, images, movies, or photographs), and social networking websites, to name a few (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). An important disruption we have been seeing is that the high-speed access networks and Smartphones enable users to access and use these social media through mobile phones, any time any where. These many-to-many group forming transactional communication networks and the associated exponential value generation in such networks was characterized way back in 2001 by Reed (Reed, 2001). The analysis of communication patterns in such social media and peer-to-peer networks will throw a light on their impact on network capacity, topology and routing.

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