Internet provides vast opportunities for socially beneficial endeavours. Communications over the Internet provide unparalleled opportunities for education, research, entertainment and commerce. For instance, e-commerce is transforming the ways businesses operate, making transactions of all kinds cheaper, faster, interactive and more efficient.
The world economy is moving from a predominantly industrial society to a new set of rules – the information society. What is emerging is often referred to as the new economy. It has tremendous potential for growth, employment and inclusion. The underpinning dynamics of the new economy are strong. Digital technologies make accessing, processing, storing and transmitting information increasingly cheaper and easier. The sheer scale of information available creates huge opportunities for its exploitation through the development of new products and services. Transforming digital information into economic and social value is the basis of the new economy, creating new industries, changing others and profoundly affecting people's lives.
The internet infrastructure includes companies with products and services that help create an IP based network infrastructure, a prerequisite for electronic commerce. The categories in this infrastructure layer include: a) internet backbone providers; b) internet service providers; c) networking hardware and software companies; d) PC and server manufacturers; e) security vendors; f) fiber optics makers; g) and h) line acceleration hardware manufacturers.
The internet applications layer provides products and services that build upon the IP network infrastructure and make it technologically feasible to perform business activities online. The categories in this applications layer include: a) Internet consultants; b) Internet commerce applications; c) multimedia applications; d) web development software; e) search engine software; f) online training; and g) web-enabled databases.
Internet intermediaries increase the efficiency of electronic markets by facilitating the meeting and interaction of buyers and sellers over the Internet. They act as catalysts in the process through which investments in the infrastructure and applications layers are transformed into business transactions. The categories in this intermediary layer include: a) market makers in vertical industries; b) online travel agents; c) online brokerages; d) content aggregators; e) portals/content providers; f) Internet ad brokers; and g) online advertising providers.
Internet commerce involves the sales of products and services to consumers or businesses over the Internet. The categories in this Internet commerce layer include: a) e-tailers; b) manufacturers selling online; c) fee/subscription-based companies; d) airlines selling online tickets; and e) online entertainment and professional services.
The Internet will prove just as revolutionary as the printing press was during the time of the Protestant Reformation. The printing press had a very important role in the spread of that revolution because people could put out their tracts and pamphlets in an inexpensive form and get them around. There is growing discussion about creating an intercontinental network of alternative communication to interlink the various protest movements. But governments are not so enthusiastic and the USA is leading the charge for Internet regulation.
Now that every desktop is potentially a printing press, a broadcasting station, a place of assembly, has important decentralization of the power to inform, witness, influence, and persuade taken place?