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Software Applications and Platforms

The University of Chicago_102622A
[The University of Chicago]


- Platforms

A platform is the hardware and software architecture on which other applications, processes or technologies are developed or underpinned. In computing, a platform refers to the basic hardware, the computer system, and the software, the operating system that often runs software applications. 

A platform is a set of software and a surrounding ecosystem of resources that help you grow your business. A platform grows through connectivity: its value comes not only from its own characteristics, but also from its ability to connect external tools, teams, data, and processes.

If an application is the foundation for other programs, it can also serve as a platform. For example, the web browsers we use in our daily lives rarely accept third-party plug-ins, so browser applications become the interface platform.


- Software Platforms

The Internet is full of software applications. As a software developer or entrepreneur, you might want to develop or own the next unicorn in the IT industry. Focusing on the right areas can be the key to building a successful platform. 

When creating the best digital platform for your business, it’s crucial to understand how different software platforms work and their business models. Without identifying your ideal target audience and business goals, you may choose the wrong software platform. 

Software platforms are an essential part of the digital world because they allow people to share content, create content, and develop products for mobile phones, computers, and other electronic devices. 

Some software applications effectively operate as platforms. For example, the programming language Java is a software application that you can download to a device and run the application. 

Regardless of the type of software, platforms are the foundation upon which developers create products for consumers to use. Understanding the importance of software platforms can help you understand e-commerce, digital technologies, and digital marketplaces.


- To Know What Kind of Platform You are Building

Almost every software entrepreneur is building some kind of "platform" these days. However, few will confidently answer a seemingly simple but very important question: What kind of platform are you building?

Not all platforms are created equal. Google Search, Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Amazon Marketplace, Android, Uber, AirBnB, Waze, WeWork, Twilio and even Bitcoin are all platforms. 

At the same time, these platforms vary greatly in how they create network effects, the interactions they enable, the approach to the chicken-and-egg problem (do you build the demand side or the supply side first?), openness, growth drivers Identity, subsidies, competitive strategies and monetization methods.

Building a successful platform is more about making the right tradeoffs than the best technology. To understand these tradeoffs, you must have a good grasp of the type of platform you are building



- The Types Software Platforms

Software platforms are digital products that make technology work, and they generally fall into two categories: applications and operating systems. The software platform is usually the operating system that runs the device, such as a laptop or mobile phone. 

For example, your phone's operating system is the platform on which third-party developers build applications that you can use on your phone. 


- Technology Platforms

Technology platforms are not user-facing. Rather, it is the foundation upon which user-facing companies build their products. 

For example, two different video streaming services might use the same technology platform, but their interfaces would appear different to users because they interact with a company-specific interface rather than the underlying software.


- Operating Platforms

The operating platform is both the user interface and the underlying platform used by the device. For example, your smartphone uses an operating platform regardless of make and model. 

The operating software on the phone allows third-party application developers to create products that run on it. Other devices such as tablets, smart TVs or computers also use operating platforms.


- Service Platforms

A service platform usually involves a website or other digital product that offers something to its users for free. The platform's goal is to use the free service to reach a large enough audience to attract advertisers. 

A search engine is an example of a service platform. Users use search engines to find content on the internet, and eventually, the platform begins to monetize its audience through advertising.

Another example of a service platform might be a website catering to the travel industry. Users can use the site to find cheap flights, find hotels, explore potential tourist activities and plan trips. 

The service is free, and the value of the platform comes when more users earn higher advertising fees for the site.


- Video Games

Each model of console has its own software platform for which third-party developers build games specific to that software. Launching a new generation of consoles requires updating the hardware programmers use to create games, and the software that underlies games changes. As with other platforms, console software can be updated and add new features, correct bugs, or address security issues.


- Engagement  Platforms

These platforms focus on user engagement and interaction with other users. Participating platforms are generally free to use and include social media sites that allow users to post content and interact with other users. User identity is an important part of these sites, as it allows users to create roles or be themselves, choose a username, and add personal information. 

After creating an account, users can post content, share other people's content, and connect with other users. Types of user accounts include organizations, businesses, real people, and fictional characters.

The platform then uses algorithms to track user behavior and serve them content based on their interests and interactions. Attracting and retaining users allows platforms to monetize their services through advertising.


- Digital Marketplaces

Digital marketplaces focus on facilitating e-commerce by connecting users looking for goods with individuals or organizations looking for potential buyers. The digital marketplace includes categories such as real estate, retail merchandise, auctions, investor fundraising and vacation property rentals. 

Digital marketplace platforms have elements of search engines as people on the website search for specific items. It also allows for a certain level of user engagement, as the platform typically allows users to post and reply to information, such as comments.


- Consumer Demand Platforms

This type of software application acts as its own platform, usually as a downloadable application. Ride-sharing services, grocery delivery services, and consumption-on-demand services are common examples of such platforms. 

Consumer demand platforms typically have a payment system, a method to track the status of consumer requests, and a method to rate received services. 

These platforms typically focus on a specific area, such as ride-sharing, as opposed to digital marketplaces that may offer multiple e-commerce options.


- Content Platforms

Content platforms sometimes allow uploading and sharing of videos or allow users to stream video games. 

These platforms focus on empowering users to create and share their content with others. These platforms often have revenue-sharing relationships with content creators. 

The platform allows automated advertising to appear as content creators gain views on their content. Platforms and content creators distribute revenue generated by ads through rates based on views or clicks.


- Data Collection Platforms

Data collection platforms collect information from the web. Typically, this involves programming that allows data collectors to crawl websites and collect data. 

Some data collector platforms collect data through their platforms, such as map services that collect location data. Join the platform, users allow to use


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