HomeDissertation:Rethinking BtoB Communications from the Perspective of Involvement

Rethinking BtoB Communications from the Perspective of Involvement

Hiroshi Mochizuki
Business Creation Center, Dentsu Innovation Institute, Dentsu Inc.

Contributed Article
BtoB Communications, January 2014 Issue

1.What the Net Has Made Possible: Spontaneous Formation of Databases and Networks

About 20 years have already elapsed since people first began talking about the Internet revolution. In the meantime, a wide range of technical developments has happened, and various new devices and services have emerged. In recent years, the spread of smartphones and utilization of big data are attracting a lot of attention, but there is also a growing awareness both of the changes brought about by these developments and of underlying aspects that remain the same.

The daily news frequently carries stories about not only the benefits of information sharing and linking that the net has made possible but also the downsides related to “information diffusion” that is hard to control. In any case, I believe that the time has come for a considered discussion and evaluation of the changes in communications.

Already before the Internet became commonplace, factors of change, such as the digitization of data and the trend toward higher communication speeds, were recognized, and there was a discussion about who would be the leading entities in the establishment of networks and the building of various databases for this new age. Taking the view that this would be the public sector, there was a movement from the 1970s until the first half of the 1990s toward establishing high-speed computer-based networks known as videotex systems, two major examples being the French Minitel service and NTT’s Captain system in Japan. But as the demise of these systems around the year 2000 demonstrates, the spread of personal computers and the Internet fostered the autonomous formation of networks, along with the creation of databases by individual operators in a distributed and spontaneous fashion, which led to the rapid evolvement of the phenomenon of cyberspace. From today’s viewpoint, this seems only natural. But if a time traveler from the 1970s were suddenly to arrive in the present time, our current situation would no doubt come as a major surprise.

As for the business-to-business sector, the trend toward digital has given rise to the frequently mentioned concept of “one-source multimedia.” It has become routine for enterprises to have their own website where the information from catalogs and so on is presented in digital format for dissemination via the net. This contributes to the autonomous formation of databases as mentioned above.

Another development brought about by the net in the business world is the “electronification of distribution,” which includes familiar conveniences such as e-mail. This process is still ongoing, but the distribution of event tickets, music, books, and so forth is headed toward complete electronification, resulting in a situation where even the handling of tangible goods is firmly linked to the exchange of electronic data. Therefore, the biggest effect of the net probably can be seen as the facilitation of autonomous information collection and dissemination.

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