UW E-Business Institute: Business Will Benefit From Revolution in Consumer Access to Online Information

For more information:

Shawn Helwig (608) 261-1161 [email protected]

Tom Noda (608) 265-4146 [email protected]

November 17, 2005

Madison, Wis. – The second big wave of web applications will deliver very sophisticated, responsive, interactive and graphically rich applications over the web. These Rich Internet Applications (RIA) will fundamentally change the way consumers and businesses interact with online information, create new efficiencies, and reduce web development costs.

The UW E-Business Consortium recently conducted a technical evaluation of RIA applications that includes case studies, platform comparisons, and tips for how to get started in RIA.

“This evaluation will help Web developers and marketers understand the next generation of applications from both a business and technical perspective,” said Dr. Raj Veeramani, UW-Madison Professor of Engineering & Business, and Director of the UW E-Business Institute and the UW E-Business Consortium.

An easy way to understand RIA is to compare Yahoo! Maps and Google Maps. Yahoo! Maps is a traditional web-based application while Google Maps is regarded as an RIA. What are the differences? To move locations in Yahoo! Maps, users have to click one of eight arrow buttons around the map. Every time a user clicks a button, a page is refreshed, and a new map is loaded. On Google Maps, users can navigate a map in any direction by dragging it, and the page remains in place. RIAs offer users a richer Internet experience than typical “send and receive” applications.

Five Driving Factors Behind RIA and Evaluation Results

Currently, there is no distinct winner among RIA platforms. Most platforms share common goals: reduce application development time and cost while enriching user experiences. In addition, the platforms share pursuit of the same technological trail: XML and scripting for UI construction.

The five driving factors behind RIA include faster connection speeds to the Internet through broadband hook-ups; an increase in computing power; a demand for applications that respond better to user actions; innovations from leading technology companies like Google; and a shift in how business applications are developed.

The “Rich Internet Applications Best Practice Report” is available free through the UW E-Business Institute Web site www.uwebi.org. The evaluation was conducted solely by researchers at the UW E-Business Consortium and was not funded nor supported by RIA companies or institutions.

The UW E-Business Consortium (the industry membership base of the UW E-Business Institute) is Wisconsin’s premier organization that helps companies gain a competitive advantage through e-business. Our members – business executives and senior managers from the Midwest’s leading companies – tap into world-class university resources and the collective experiences of this B2B and B2C group to address and share strategic e-business and information technology challenges, best practices and lessons learned.