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November 02, 2004

Rich Internet Applications: It's Happening!

Rich internet applications are happening around the world today, and several categories are emerging. This morning at Macromedia's MAX developer conference I showed a few examples of rich internet apps in each category -- here are the categories and links to apps I showed:

1. Expressive Content

The first category is expressive content, which is of course where Flash originated. While Flash continues to be designed to deliver rich experiences over low bandwidth connections, we're seeing a rapid increase in broadband connectivity which will enable even more richness. The best example of this is video on the web, and Flash is actually the #1 video player, bringing video capability to over 96% of the web. This kind of reach means that viewers don't have to select which player to use, the video can just start playing in place.

Toyota Isis
Philips Home Entertainment
Red Bull Copilot

2. Guided Selling

As many people are beginning to buy things online, there's an opportunity for us all to work on making those interactions much more effective. It can be challenging to find the right products online, configure those products once you do, and go through the check out process. There is a great opportunity to improve this with richer interactivity, and we're seeing Flash being used more and more to help address this. In these examples, you can see Flash is useful providing immediate feedback and reducing errors -- resulting in higher customer satisfaction and customers who will buy more and more often.

Nike iD
Vodafone (click on the Handy Finder item)
ANA (click on the button in the center labelled ANA Passport)
TJ Maxx (press Add to Cart, then Checkout)

3. Visual Analysis

As people begin working with large amounts of information it becomes hard to sift through and understand. This is a great opportunity to build rich internet apps to navigate through specific information. This enables people to get deeper insight, see patterns, and make faster decisions.

New York State Kids
BBC News
University of North Carolina (link not available publicly)

4. Streamline Business Processes

The experience isn't just important on the public internet, it's also relevant inside companies. As people are working with complex processes, there are great opportunities to improve productivity and reduce errors which will of course reduce costs. We showed examples of internal applications which aren't available publicly. They included Mazda's auto sales support application in Japan that works on PCs and on handhelds, as well as Seven Worldwide which has created an ERP application in Flash, which I believe is the largest Flash application in the world built with a couple hundred thousand lines of ActionScript. RIAs are a great solution inside companies as they eliminate installation and maintenence issues of native applications but still retain the rich interactivity of desktop apps.

PC and Mac Zones (screen recording of customer service rep app)

5. Effortless Communication

Flash is enabling richer communication over the internet, particularly with video today, enabling people to get their message across either one-one or one-many, live or prerecorded.


There are way more examples than we had time to show this morning -- here are some additional rich internet applications that I've come across recently:

NY Times Election Guide
LA Times
NY Times Interactive
CNN Campaign Ad Spending
Mark Fiore

Facing New York
Bob Schneider Music
Music Plasma

Mini USA
Volvo V50

Hold Everything
Wattyl Colour Visualizer
Grand Canyon Railway

Ofoto (need to have an AOL account)

02 Nov 04 12:53 PM


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