By Dan Ortega, special to

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The internet is “dead and boring,” according to a recent online post. The energy and growth that characterized the dotcom boom is missing. A follow-up comment noted rich media applications would drive the web to a new level of dynamic growth, and the process was already underway. I completely disagree with the first point and slightly disagree with the second point.

The web is in fact going through a very strong growth phase right now. As one limited example, look at the broad and rapid rise of social networks like MySpace, Facebook, hi5, etc. The most interesting part of the social networks? People who would never create their own on-line presence suddenly have a web page that is, for the most part, interactive, heavily populated with photos, blog entries, etc.

As far as I can tell, anyone under the age of 25 seems to spend more time socializing on-line than in real life. This type and level of engagement can only help the long-term growth prospects for the web.  Plus, unlike the irrational exuberance of the dotcom boom, the current crop of web application start-ups is solidly grounded in best business practices, which means this phase will be sustainable.

Yes, rich media applications will fuel more rapid adoption of web technologies. However, the true growth engine driving technology is adoption at the enterprise level. Unlike consumers, corporations do not make impulse purchases. Everything has to be cost justified. By the time a company makes a decision, it has been well grounded to serve the company’s business needs, whatever those happen to be. Rich media applications are getting piecemeal traction within larger corporations (mostly in the marketing and communications areas), but the gating factor to widespread adoption is not where they’re used, but how they’re used.

Corporations are all about production workflow, whether the end product is an automobile, a home mortgage, investment services, etc. Any large company is geared to follow a process that needs to be followed from start to finish. That’s how they create, manage, and deliver products and services that bring in revenue.

For rich media applications to really take off, they need to be integrated into this workflow. Beyond content creation, rich media apps need to integrate and enable the group collaborations that drive revenue – demonstrated by metrics and analytics, of course. For companies that create rich media applications, that type of perceptual shift will take them from being a point solution to becoming a critical and strategic component of their customer’s success.

About the Author

Dan Ortega is Vice President of Marketing for Astoria Software, where he is responsible for product marketing, product management, and marketing communications. Dan brings over 22 years of technology marketing experience to this position, having previously served as VP of Marketing for a series of successful start-ups, including content management companies such as Metacode Technologies (acquired by Interwoven). Dan has also held senior level international marketing positions with expansion stage companies such as Centigram Communications, and Fortune 500 companies including Sun Microsystems and Wang Labs.

Interested in learning more about what Dan thinks about technical and business communication and rich media? Read his blog.