Web 2.0 is simply a fancy name for the "next generation" of the Internet. It is a term used to reference the many different facets of how the Internet can be leveraged for business, development, communication, collaboration, e-commerce, etc.
With the growing popularity of Software as a Service (SaaS), more and more companies are thinking about the possibilities of running all their traditional desktop applications directly on the Web. The "old generation" of the Web had a simple function: serve up webpages from a variety of sites, click, click, click. Web 2.0 goes beyond this, where companies can access their corporate applications directly from a computer that has an Internet connection. There is no need for a VPN or special firewall configurations, thus, remote employees and knowledge workers can work as if they were on the corporate network. The significant benefits for a small business are obvious in terms of cost savings and IT resources.
I think the simplest way to think about Web 2.0 is that of a Global Web Platform, one that interconnects Internet applications we are familiar with: Google, Blogging, Flickr, Wikipedia, My Space, LinkedIn, Napster, Search Engine Optimization, Internet Marketing, etc.
Back in 1996, a little unknown company called WebEx created a real-time communications platform called the "MediaTone Network." This information switching architecture provided the first and only video, audio, and data communications platform. With the new wave of Web 2.0, I think it will be very interesting to see how WebEx leverages MediaTone as a potential "Application Exchange" for not only customers but for partners, vendors, anyone who is looking to conduct business on this WebTrust and SAS-70 Certified Platform. I could also see WebEx personalizing the WebEx experience by integrating RSS feeds, blogs, photo sharing, music file management. Imagine if WebEx created a My WebEx page that automatically served all the pertitent information you wanted so that the first thing you did when you got into your office was to log on to your My WebEx page to check your email, calendar, access docuements, read real-time RSS feeds, viewing WebEx recorded meetings, conduct WebEx meetings!
Web 2.0 opens the doors for companies like WebEx. Over the last 10 years, WebEx has changed the way companies conduct business over the Internet. Subrah Iyar, President and CEO, has a strategic vision that over 25,000 corporate customers have already bought into. Dave Berman, the Master Arctitect and VP of Worldwide Sales, has successfully executed Subrah's vision from a revenue generation and market share penetration standpoint. The combination of Subrah and Dave, along with a very experienced and proven executive team, we can only expect to see some incredible and inspiring technology innovations.
I think in the next 3-5 years, WebEx will have the a significant impact on Web 2.0 and how businesses and consumers communicate over the Internet.
A comprehensive description and history on Web 2.0 can be found here: Wikipedia