Mas­ter­ing the in­ter­net

> Util­is­ing the in­ter­net as a mar­ket place and a mar­ket­ing tool

The Sun (Malaysia) - - POSTGRAD - BERNARD CHEAH

AC­CORD­ING to Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional, the num­ber of in­ter­net users to­day will be more than dou­bled by 2025. Last year, there were 2 bil­lion mo­bile in­ter­net sub­scribers, with 660 mil­lion sub­scribers in China alone.

In­ter­net is a tech­nol­ogy that is used be­cause it is per­ceived as use­ful. In the near fu­ture, as more things are added to the ex­ist­ing in­ter­net, more use­ful­ness may be ap­pro­pri­ated by the users. For in­stance, the In­ter­net of Things (IoT) – the phrase coined by Kevin Ash­ton in 1999. It is the in­ter­net work­ing of things – phys­i­cal de­vices that are ma­chine-to-ma­chine in­ter­op­er­a­ble, ca­pa­ble of col­lect­ing and ex­chang­ing data be­tween them­selves. It is ide­alised to of­fer great eco­nomic ben­e­fits from the ef­fi­ciency and ac­cu­racy gen­er­ated by the syn­er­gis­tic in­te­gra­tion of de­vices, sys­tems and ser­vices. Po­ten­tially, IoT is a cy­ber-phys­i­cal sys­tem that in­cor­po­rates all ex­ist­ing pro­to­cols, do­mains, and ap­pli­ca­tions. The­o­ret­i­cally, IoT pro­vides new op­por­tu­ni­ties for user ex­pe­ri­ence and in­ter­faces.

As ex­pected from any hu­man in­ven­tion, the in­ter­net has brought along neg­a­tive im­pacts. Last year, Malaysian po­lice recorded nearly 15,000 on­line scams at an es­ti­mated RM1.6 bil­lion of eco­nomic losses. The crim­i­nals have ex­ploited the speed, con­ve­nience and anonymity on the in­ter­net to com­mit a di­verse range of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties – hack­ing, viruses, pi­rat­ing, il­le­gal trad­ing, fraud, scams, money laun­der­ing, pre­scrip­tion drugs, defam­a­tory li­bel, cy­ber stalk­ing, cy­ber ter­ror­ism, ran­somware, and more.

So­phis­ti­cated hack­ers can over­come even the best net­work se­cu­rity mea­sures. It can be a com­pany’s worst night­mare – the dis­cov­ery that hack­ers have in­fil­trated the com­puter net­works and made off with trade se­crets, cus­tomers’ per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, and other crit­i­cal data.

It is al­ways an un­fin­ished task to com­bat crimes com­mit­ted on in­ter­net. It re­quires a range of in­ves­tiga­tive as­sets in­clud­ing cy­ber ac­tion teams, and in­tel­li­gence co­op­er­a­tion be­tween au­thor­i­ties and stake­hold­ers. To un­cover ter­ror­ism threats, it was re­ported that Ya­hoo Inc has in­stalled a soft­ware to do real-time scan­ning of Ya­hoo Mail ac­counts at the be­hest of US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies for spe­cific in­for­ma­tion. Con­se­quen­tially, the lack of to­tal se­cu­rity has cast a cloud of un­cer­tainty over in­ter­net us­age, in par­tic­u­lar for e-com­merce. In­ter­net is not merely a tech­nol­ogy. It is also a mar­ket place and a mar­ket­ing tool. So, an un­der­stand­ing of the con­sumers and how they ac­cess the in­ter­net is cru­cial for de­vel­op­ing an e-com­merce strat­egy. In re­al­ity, con­sumers come from ge­o­graph­i­cally dif­fer­ent so­cial group­ings with unique pref­er­ences such as pay­ment op­tions, lan­guages and de­liv­ery meth­ods, as well as pos­sess de­vices pow­ered by var­i­ous op­er­at­ing sys­tems and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion providers. As de­scribed by the tech­nol­ogy adop­tion life­cy­cle, the adop­tion or ac­cep­tance of a new prod­uct or in­no­va­tion will be ac­cord­ing to the de­mo­graphic and psy­cho­log­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of de­fined adopter groups. The process of adop­tion over time is typ­i­cally il­lus­trated as a clas­si­cal nor­mal dis­tri­bu­tion. There will al­ways be a first group of “in­no­va­tors” to use a new prod­uct, fol­lowed by "early adopters", “early ma­jor­ity” and “late ma­jor­ity”, and the last group of “lag­gards” to even­tu­ally adopt a prod­uct.

Ge­of­frey Moore, the au­thor of Cross­ing the Chasm, adds a vari­a­tion to the orig­i­nal life­cy­cle. He sug­gests that for dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies, which are so many to­day, there is a chasm (gap) be­tween the first two adopter groups (in­no­va­tors or early adopters), and the early ma­jor­ity.

Gen­er­ally, how do users come to ac­cept and use a tech­nol­ogy?

Fred Davis’s tech­nol­ogy ac­cep­tance model (TAM) sug­gests that when users are pre­sented with a new tech­nol­ogy, a num­ber of fac­tors in­flu­ence their de­ci­sion about how and when they will use it. The per­ceived use­ful­ness and per­ceived ease of use of a tech­nol­ogy pre­dict a user’s at­ti­tude that in­flu­ences the ac­tual us­age. In this age of so­cial me­dia, word of mouth is pow­er­ful. How­ever, at­ti­tudes to­wards us­age and in­ten­tions to use may be ill-formed or lack­ing in con­vic­tion.

Through Sun­way Col­lege's Vic­to­ria Univer­sity Mas­ter of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion (VUMBA) and Mas­ter of Busi­ness (En­ter­prise Re­source Plan­ning Sys­tems), stu­dents will be able de­velop com­put­ing and busi­ness skills nec­es­sary to sup­port the im­ple­men­ta­tion and main­te­nance of ERP sys­tems and gain an un­der­stand­ing of the strate­gic im­pli­ca­tions to any start-up these sys­tems have on a busi­ness.

For more more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact VUMBA pro­gramme head Dr Hendry Ng at hendryng@ sun­way.edu.my or visit http:// sun­way.edu.my/col­lege/vumba/ in­dex.php

VUMBA pro­gramme head Dr Hendry Ng.

(Above) Ya­hoo Inc has in­stalled a soft­ware to do real-time scan­ning of Ya­hoo Mail ac­counts.

Last year, there were 2 bil­lion mo­bile in­ter­net sub­scribers.

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