The second coming
In July, BizTone broke new ground by launching BizTone.net over Singapore ONE, the island-wide broadband IT network that serves over three million individual customers and some 200,000 small and medium industries.
This is the first of many such deals that the company expects in the coming years, riding on the high bandwidth wave.
"Bandwidth is doubling every year and you will soon be able to get as fast access to the Net or a remote server as you would a disk. Certain technologies already allow local area networks to reach the speed of the bus on the motherboard. What this means is, in time, whichever machine you go to you could get what you want. Users are going to want that, " said the Silicon Valley-based Matsumura.
He said the need for high-end applications on the Internet is driven by bandwidth improvements with the use of cable modems and DSL technology.
If you are to believe his vision, then the days of shrink-wrapped software are numbered. In future, businesses will either download applications for free or rent them from
so-called Applications Service Providers (ASPs) over the Internet.
"The ASP market is going to be gigantic. More companies are going to rely on the Internet or secure IP-based private networks to process their data rather than buy the software themselves," said Matsumura.
He cited Microsoft's Hotmail and Sun Microsystems' free offer of the StarOffice suite online as examples of Web-based applications that are precursors to the new trend.
"I think more complex applications will be coming down that pipe and what the Net will need is a core billing infrastructure which BizTone is in a position to provide," said Matsumura.
Citing IDC figures, he added that the market for complex applications over ASPs will be about US$200 million next year. IDC has also predicted that the ASP market may grow to reach US$2 billion by 2003.
Matsumura believed that service providers like AOL and portal players such as Yahoo may be the dominant players in the ASP market in the future.
He said the trend is already seen in the desktop applications market space where software has become a commodity. As cheaper or free substitutes to Microsoft Office such as StarOffice and Caldera begin to emerge, the ASP market will rise in tandem.
"It's economics of commodity--if you can copy and paste something it will become plentiful. I am not advocating piracy, but when there are other solutions that provide the same functionality, then the value of office apps decreases to a commodity. Browsers, operating systems and upgrades have already become a commodity," he said.