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Introduction


The rapid advance of the Internet

At the beginning of 2015, there were 3 billion Internet users worldwide, which is over 40 percent of the world population. Approximately 60 percent of these users were online every day. Just ten years earlier, approximately one billion people, were using the Internet. ‘Being online’ was still in its infancy. By 2017, it is expected that more than 3.5 billion people will use the Internet, both professionally and privately on an almost daily basis.

The digital revolution that we are witnessing in the form of webshops, social network sites, smartphones and tablets such as the iPad will have sweeping social and economic ramifications throughout the world in the years to come. This book not only maps out these ramifications, but also shows how companies, employees, students, governments and other organizations such as nonprofits (NPOs) can use the rapid advance of the Internet to their advantage. In short, we believe that success can only be achieved by means of new ways of thinking, learning, working, doing business and making money.

The book is organized as follows:

Chapter 1 provides a general glance of the digital world of today and the expected future developments in that world;

Chapter 2 explains how to develop a successful Internet strategy for business; that is, how companies, start-up entrepreneurs and other organizations and entities can improve their performance by using the Internet and social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube;

Chapter 3 digs deeper into this subject by discussing twelve topics that should guide companies in developing and integrated Internet strategy, and which require intensive discussion by all companies that are greatly affected and empowered by the Internet;

Chapter 4 analyses the Internet's significance for economic development and employment. In order to make this relationship clear to readers who are less at home in the field of economics;

The chapter Specials and Cases contains valuable information on additional and more or less autonomous topics regarding the Internet, such as, Big Data, the Internet of Things and 3D printing. This part also features three business cases, which explore how to create a successful Internet strategy in practice.

Appendix 1 provides a brief overview of the history of, and the main developments in, the field of the Internet.
Appendix 2 highlights a number of macroeconomic definitions and concepts and developments as a background to Chapter 4.
Appendix 3 lists the websites that have been consulted and cited throughout the book.

For whom is this book intended?

This book is intended for anyone who is interested in the Internet, and in the opportunities and challenges that are generated by the digital revolution for society and for its economy. It describes not only how the Internet is having an ever-increasing influence on our work and lives, but also how the advance of the Internet is forcing us to adopt new ways of thinking, working, doing business, learning and making money.

In order to guide the reader through the digital revolution as smoothly as possible, the book provides many practical examples and explanations. To keep things simple and accessible, the book contains only a few references to other books, reports and articles, and many references to relevant websites. Please note that the objective of this book is not to explore the multitude of Internet-related techniques that companies, organizations and individuals can use. Over the last few years, numerous books and other publications have been published on that subject, both for novices and professionals. These can be found through the websites listed in Appendix 3.

Website book

This book is a product of the advance of the Internet. In other words, it is a website book. This digital publication gives the reader access to additional information in the form of images and sound, and through social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube, which have been integrated into the book. This publication also allows the reader to exchange ideas online with other readers of the book and to comment on its contents through wikis. Thus they can suggest improvements and ask for additional information. For these online applications to work, the book must be read on a PC, laptop, tablet or e-reader that has an Internet connection.

The book is ideal for educational and training purposes. Not only does it provide a solid basic knowledge of the main aspects of the Internet, but as a website book, it is in itself an example of the new way of reading and learning, as it will be continually updated.

This publication was last updated on 22-05-2015

Willem Vermeend

 

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