Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Disparate Networks

The more I look at the networks in place today , the more pissed I get - you have different networks for everything - be it shopping , gaming , chat - anything.
Any service you take , and you have a different set of network with its own conventions which are totally independent and inoperable with each other.
Considering that the set of networks for a service are essentially offering the same service , it is highly questionable as to what gains they get out of maintaining seperate islands of service and being inoperable with eachother.

Consider a simple example - Chat. (All examples here are going to be a gross simplification :) ).

Let us consider the http based chat solutions- you have Y! , ICQ , MSN , etc.
Essentially , all of these are the same - different eyecandy , slightly different market differentiators for maintaining unique identity - but essentially the same.
You send a message 'friend' or 'buddy' and you have a way of ensuring the identity of the sender/reciever.
Everything else is just an ad-on based on this basic principle.
But now , are these networks inter-operable ? No !
Can a Y! user message a MSN user completely transparently ? No !

Maintaining multiple chat networks (in the virtual sense) in not helping anyone - dont take this as a issue with single sign on , etc. Single sign on is just masking the basic problem.

Ok , in case I am not clear in the above , let us take another example - online selling and buying.
I am going to primarily target used goods trade - though this can also be extended to all kinds of trade !

Consider the various networks that are available - from top of my head : eBay , baazzi , etc.
The same problem persists here - these portals (or vortals as you may) are essentially offering the same - a virtual marketplace and yet sadly , completely uninteroperable.

The basic requirements for these networks are the same -
User enters things to sell.
Interested user searches for good to buy.
And then they negotiate.

Now , a baazi user cannot buy something that is getting sold in eBay.
And the various forms of bargaining are quiet varied ....

Need for the hour is some sort of generic network which is the underlying base.
There should be a base solution where anyone should be able to access the base services.
All these companies - MSN or Y! or eBay , etc should operate on this base network to offer their market differentiators.
Base network for a base service - a chat network , a online marketplace network , etc.
(This way maybe you can aggregate networks to create more complex networks !)
That way , they will remain inter-operable while maintaining uniqueness and offering value added service (maybe of monetary interest for companies).

Been thinking of this sort of problems for too long not to put it up on the blog :)

BTW - the ches thingy requires some extensive evaluation tuning - hence will take sometime before I put it out ... sadly.


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