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Tuesday, August 31, 2004Absolute musts to know about usage of emails, etiquettes and efficiency I get around 400 + emails in a day(24 hrs), my life would be much better if all email senders follow guidelines and recommendations outlined here.Interesting compilation, well presented. |
Learning from the Napster case, the entertainment industry is trying to block new technology before it takes off -Reining in tech.When the original Napster program became an instant consumer hit five years ago, it blindsided the music business.Today, the entire entertainment industry -- hoping to avoid being caught off guard again -- has stepped up efforts to nip potential problems with emerging technologies in the bud, before the public gets its hands on them.For example, Hollywood movies studios and the National Football League recently teamed up to try to block a proposal from digital video recorder company TiVo Inc. to let subscribers view recorded TV programs over the Internet.Meanwhile, the music industry has asked federal regulators to take action to prevent future digital radio receivers from being able to automatically compile libraries of free CD-quality songs that can be shared on the Internet. This comes despite the fact that digital radio is barely off the ground.Throughout history, new technologies have always disrupted old business models |
Wireless switch vendor Aruba Wireless Networks has unveiled its 'wireless grid' enterprise WLAN architecture that it claims provides the reliability and manageability of wired networks but that will be cheaper to deploy than existing WLANs.The company said in a statement that its system integrates new types of low-cost wireless products with existing Ethernet network distribution systems.It claimed its new architecture is as significant a breakthrough as the LAN switches and structured cabling systems created a decade ago by Cisco systems"The wireless grid architecture represents a similar confluence of high-performance WLAN switches with structured WLAN distribution systems," Don LeBeau, Aurba's president and CEO said in a statement. "It is the first architectural innovation that enables enterprises to move WLANs from a convenience connectivity solution to a mainstream, high-performance mobile networking utility."The system is managed by a new generation of wireless switches, the company said. Specifically, the company announced its Aruba 5100 switch to manage the system, which it described as a version of its existing 5000 WLAN switch but with twice the capacity. The new switch can process more than 1.8 gigabits of wireless traffic encrypted by 802.11i/AES, the company claimed.The system also uses low-cost 'grid points' to connect both to the wireless LAN and the wired LAN. One new type of GP is what Aruba claims is the first Wi-Fi wall outlet, which it is developing in conjunction with Ortronics. The device both serves as an access point and connects directly to the wired network, the company said. We discussed about wirelss grids a few days agowireless grids. This product announcement from Aruba reinforces commercial availability of such grids. A very significant development indeed - watch out for accelarated progress in this space. |
Forrester Research looks to be the first company to compare and rate the main RFID middleware providers, in a research report just out.Their conclusion? Companies looking for a middleware solution need to do a lot of careful shopping. The providers out there all have very different capabilities and strengths. No single solution fits every situation. Forrester says,"In response to urgent user demand, RFID middleware vendors are crawling out of the woodwork, with RFID pure plays, platform giants, supply chain application vendors, and integration specialists making a play. To stand the test of time, RFID middleware must include a balanced combination of core infrastructure and packaged application features, including device management, integration, data management, and packaged business logic. Products from vendors like Manhattan Associates and OATSystems that include some packaged application functionality are best suited for meeting the needs of time-strapped early adopters. But Forrester expects platform giants like Oracle and IBM to become more dominant in this space as firms build out broader RFID architectures".
Forrester looked at 13 different providers, ranging from very large enterprise system companies such as Oracle, to specialized RFID providers such as OatSystems. Here are some of the main takeaways from the report:
The market is extremely early for RFID middleware. As a result, this market space is seeing rapid product development cycles, sometimes as short as 3 months.When evaluating RFID middleware, companies should take into account the data integration systems they currently have. With RFID middleware you are not buying a complete packaged solution, but rather, building a software infrastructure. Companies may already have data integration applications that can be used for part of the solution. Early adopters and those under a mandate should look at the "RFID pure plays" like Manhattan Associates, that currently have true RFID products with connectivity to RFID readers. The downside is that these companies don't have long proven track records, possibly having just a few pilots under their belts.Companies evaluating RFID for the long term should look at the big players, like IBM. Most of the big providers don't have true products on the market today, but instead are filling in gaps in their product offerings with a lot of customized services. While today they may lack pieces/parts (e.g., good connectivity to RFID readers), eventually they will catch up and overtake the early companies because they offer scalable solutions and better data integration capabilities. |
Monday, August 30, 2004Paul Allen,Internet Entrepreneur, writes, Providing applications and content for PDAs may be a viable business for a few companies; but imagine the opportunities in the mobile phone space, especially as the versatility, bandwidth, and storage capabilities of these devices continue to increase!
In the quarter ended June 30, 2.2 million PDAs were sold worldwide, slightly down from 2nd quarter 2003. Handheld market share leaders:
Contrast that with the 164 million cell phones sold worldwide last quarter. Market share leaders:
Siemens AG (6.4%)
Sony Ericsson (6.4%)
LG Electronics (6.1%)
Cell Phones have won the race hands down - cell phones need to manage to stay ahead in the "Push" tehcnology as well. Just wondering in the age of T-Mobiles and Blackberries and the rate at which convergence is happening, how do we differntiate between PDA's and Mobiles as dictinct units - Leaving aside the technical definitions, from a practical standpoint.
Ericsson is pulling the plug on its technology licensing unit, the wholly-owned subsidiary which invented Bluetooth wireless technology and became the driving force behind the company's Bluetooth initiative.Ericcson shall discontinue its design and development of new Bluetooth products for the semiconductor industry.Although Ericsson will continue its involvement in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group as a promoter of the technology, Johan Akesson, VP,Ericcson, said, "We will no longer develop new hardware or new IPs based on the Bluetooth specification." Ericsson also won't pursue new chip customers for Bluetooth technology licensing.Ericsson's decision comes as the Bluetooth standard has reached a mature state, and Bluetooth products are available in volume. "Even though large volumes are manufactured, we've found that the long-term business case for Ericsson Technology Licensing is not strong enough." I think that Bluetooth never reached any critical mass. The HP-IPAQ that I bought which uses Bluetooth looks like a little anachronastic to me in the Blackberry days.
A significant milestone in developing next-generation chip manufacturing technology has been achieved by Intel Corporation. The company has built fully functional 70-megabit static random access memory (SRAM) chips with more than half a billion transistors using the world's most advanced 65 nanometer (nm) process technology. The achievement extends Intel's effort to drive the development of new manufacturing process technology every two years, in accordance with Moore's Law, claimed intel in a press release.The transistors in the new 65nm (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter) technology have gates (the switch that turns a transistor on and off) measuring 35nm, approximately 30 percent smaller than the gate lengths on the previous 90nm technology. For comparison, about 100 of these gates could fit inside the diameter of a human red blood cell.According to Moore's Law, the number of transistors on a chip roughly doubles every two years, resulting in more features, increased performance and decreased cost per transistor. As transistors get smaller, increased power and heat dissipation issues develop. As a result, implementing new features, techniques and structures is imperative to continuing this progress. Intel has addressed these challenges by integrating power-saving features into its 65nm process technology. These features are critical to delivering power-efficient computing and communication products in the future. Intel's leading strained silicon technology, first implemented in its 90nm process technology, is further enhanced in the 65nm technology. The second generation of Intel strained silicon increases transistor performance by 10 to 15 percent without increasing leakage. Conversely, these transistors can cut leakage by four times at constant performance compared to 90nm transistors. As a result, the transistors on Intel's 65nm process have improved performance without significant increase in leakage (greater electrical current leakage results in greater heat generation.
Om Malik pointed out this press release. This shall be counted as a good acheievement by Intel, so long as Intel adheres to the product rollout schedule-Intel has had serious schedule slip-ups in its product rollouts this year.More information about the new advancements are available here. |
Motorola announced the world's first handset built around the Linux operating system in early 2003and unveiled plans to use the populist software in consumer phones from then on. Pundits saw this as a slap at Symbian Ltd., the London software consortium Motorola co-founded five years earlier with Nokia Corp. (NOK ) and Ericsson to develop software for feature-rich smart phones. It was also a major lift for Linux, the grassroots operating system that until then was used mainly on servers. Today, every single mobile-phone maker is looking at Linux.Downsizing Linux to fit into mobile phones took longer than predicted, and the software has a ways to go before it equals the sophistication of Symbian's package or the mobile phone version of Microsoft Windows. Motorola nevertheless remains a believer and says that,"Linux is more flexible and opens up to the innovation of developers around the world".But only 1.1 million Linux-based phones are expected to ship this year, vs. 14 million using Symbian system, estimates researcher Strategy Analytics in London.Cellphone makers like Samsung, Datang and DoCoMo have actively embraced Linux.And Sunnyvale (Calif.)-based MontaVista Software Inc., which supplies the version of Linux used in most phones, says it has won 10 contracts for handsets using Linux, including several from European makers.Top-of-the-line smart phones that can replace a laptop PC and connect to corporate data systems will likely still use Symbian or Windows. But thanks to its lower cost, Linux could become the de facto standard for less-sophisticated "feature" phones that add cameras, games, and music -- a market that analyst Richard Windsor of Nomura Securities International Inc. (NMR ) in London pegs at 145 million units this year. Clearly, we are beginning to see substantial linux centered action in the mobile market and this is all set to intensify in the days to come. |
The next generation of online ads promises the most targeted and trackable messages ever. Meet the future of advertising.In an advertising environment that has steadily weakened over the past three years, search marketing has breathed new life into online advertising by showing how powerful it can be when an advertiser catches a shopper's attention at that perfect moment when she is ready to buy.Advertisers rewarded the nascent industry by doubling its revenues in 2003 to the tune of $1.9 billion (a figure that is expected to jump again in 2004 to $2.8 billion dollars, says Forrester Research), or nearly one-third of all online advertising spending. And those hefty totals ring up in small increments: Expedia, for example, is the top bidder on Yahoo's service for "Miami vacation," paying 83 cents a lead.Three techniques are emerging that could push online ad revenues even higher: contextual ads, behavioral ads, and local ads.In pushing the envelope to make related text ads as ubiquitous as the 30-second TV spot, the search engines and the marketers that use them tap dance along a very fine line between what is helpful and what is obnoxious, what is exciting and what is simply in very poor taste.But contextual ads don't seem to target consumers as effectively as pure search ads.When you can select your target customer by geography, actual (not projected) buying patterns, and browsing behaviors -- and track the return on investment of each ad by following a customer from the time she is targeted to the time she makes the purchase -- it's hard to go back to fuzzy math and schmoozy ad salespeople. The technocrats will have the last laugh, even if it's at the marketers' expense.
Sunday, August 29, 2004Indian outsourcing pie being eaten.The Indian outsourcing giants are being shafted by operators in Eastern and Central Europe and the Far East.According to a Gartner report, Indian outsourcers are set to lose more than 45 per cent of their business because they can’t stay ahead of the competition.The country has more than 80 per cent of the global market and it stands to lose more than 45 per cent of that, claimed Gartner.The problem, according to Gartner,is that the Indian government and the industry had "suffered from the erroneous belief" the sector could match booming growth of its software and other mainstream information technology activities without devising a longterm plan. The US had flocked to India because of its vast educated English-speaking workforce and lower labour costs. But India has failed to realise is that the sort of outsourcing it provides can be done by any graduate without the technical skills needed for information technology and many emerging countries have English-speaking graduates.Unlike other emerging nations such as Thailand, Malaysia, Fiji, Mauritius, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Poland, Scotland, Rockall and South Africa, India has failed to draft a long-term plan to train workers for the industry.As a result,India will find these jobs replaced by cheaper workers in the Far East for the more mindless development work and companies in Eastern and Central Europe for the tougher stuff. The signals are clear - the journey ahead shall be really rough for Indian BPO majors. |
Results of search in Google and Yahoo in the same page. Liked this - provides instant facility for comparing results from Google and Yahoo. In my preliminary trial, I found to my surprise two things - A. Yahoo throws out more results( quantitative). B. Yahoo crawls site much more frequently than Google. I have noticed in the past, Yahoo crawls my blogsite once in two days, Google takes almost 5/6 days to crawl my site.Google -Teoma search result comparison is available here. |
Saturday, August 28, 2004Jennifer L. Schenher writes,"Billions of dollars worth of global telecommunications networks bought or built by United States investors now belong to Chinese, Indian and other non-American companies that have snapped them up for a fraction of their cost.The shift in ownership of the networks, which are used to carry much of the world's Internet traffic, comes less than four years after the telecommunications bubble burst. Asian companies in particular have taken advantage of the troubles at American companies, at a time when government monopolies on telecommunications in their countries are waning, access to capital is greater and consumer appetite for bandwidth is growing.In retrospect,American investors overpaid to set up the global networks and have ended up inadvertently financing them for foreign owners who bought at fire-sale prices when the companies fell on hard times.".Different comments about this go like this: "The United States, with its capital markets and openness to outside investors, eased the shift in control. Foreign companies like Asia Netcom adroitly purchased the remnants of the overbuilt infrastructure at prices that should insulate them from the large losses suffered by the original owners"."While the U.S. is still smarting from the telecoms catastrophe, it has awoken to find that it has significantly assisted everyone else, which was really sort of dumb"."Some $30 billion in international telecommunications infrastructure owned by United States companies was sold to foreign-owned entities from 2000 to 2004 for a total of about $4 billion"."Because it bankrolled the networks, "Wall Street has inadvertently financed more telecom infrastructure overseas than the World Bank and other international agencies.""The change in the balance of ownership may have political consequences. The international pieces of a nation's communications infrastructure, considered strategic and defensive holdings, can be controlled by some who may not share that nation's interests.The new profile of owners has changed the business. The smaller companies that sought for years to be treated as equals by American rivals can offer their customers global end-to-end services, including access to the biggest market - the United States - over their own networks or others owned by partners they are better able to negotiate with.
Future trends to watch:
A.When the Internet first began to gain traction, most traffic was routed through the United States. But with network-connecting exchanges in so many countries, that detour is no longer as necessary.
B.Selling global bandwidth capacity will never be the kind of high-margin business it was when carriers had monopolies, and many believe a shakeout of the remaining companies is coming.
C.The growing number of new applications that require more bandwidth - like movies - would ensure a respectable future for the industry.
D.The driver is the broadband market.Broadband is growing so I still see a future in this industry.
Very significant things are happening in telecommunications - one of the most important industry of the present and the future.
A good overview of all feedsearch sites like feedster, pusub, technorati etc..and feed indexing mechanisms of these sites. Feed search is a relatively new phenomenon and is still yet to find an established powerful model. This article is noteworthy for what it presents as well as for the fact that most of the feedsearch principals have tried to respond to this piece. Jeremy zawodny offers his perspective on feedsearch here. |
Every time engineers who develop rechargeable batteries come up with a new trick to extend the time between charges, the electronics industry introduces new features in portable gadgets that have the opposite effect."The battery has become the laggard in new technology," said William P. Acker, president and chief executive of MTI Micro Fuel Cells, a miniature-fuel-cell developer based in Albany.Unlike the fuel cells that are being touted as a way to power cars and trucks, the smaller versions do not use hydrogen gas as a fuel. Hydrogen is explosive, and using it with small devices would pose storage and safety problems. If nothing else, security concerns would probably make it impossible for airline passengers to carry, say, an MP3 player with even a small cylinder of hydrogen attached.Instead, the fuel of choice in small fuel cells is methanol, an alcohol that is most commonly produced from natural gas, although it can be produced using coal or even the foul-smelling gas from landfills. Inside the cell, the methanol combines with water to make carbon dioxide, hydrogen ions and electrons.The edge hydrogen holds over the various chemicals used in rechargeable batteries is its ability to store much more potential electricity in any amount of space. Dr. Acker said that methanol has 20 to 30 times the "energy density" of materials currently used to make, say, cellphone batteries, although he acknowledged that the figure represented theoretical limits.The battery as we see today may cease to exist in the same form in the near future. |
Friday, August 27, 2004In the Gartner fellow interview, the reigning guru of innovation explains disruptive and sustaining innovation with well studied examples. Clayton christensen elegantly differentiates between these two forms of innovation, "Sustaining innovation is an innovation that brings to market a product or service that a company in the market could sell for higher margins to its best customers. In other words, sustaining innovation brings a better product into the market. Some sustaining innovations are simple, incremental, year-to-year improvements. Others are dramatic, breakthrough technologies the transition, in telecommunications, from analog to digital, and digital to optical. They were a real technological tour de force, but their affect on the service was to bring a better product into the existing market that could be sold for higher margins to the best customers of the leaders. The odds overwhelmingly favor the incumbent leaders of the industry in battles of sustaining innovation — whether they are simple, incremental innovations or breakthroughs. . A disruptive innovation brings to market a product not as good as the products in the current market, and so it cannot be sold to the mainstream customers. But it is simple and it is more affordable. It takes root in an undemanding portion of the market, then improves from that simple beginning to intercept with the needs of customers in the mainstream later.Examples of disruptive innovations - Minicomputers over Mainframes ,Blackberries, IPAQ against Laptop computers. This clayton christensen presentation , my favourite as well expands these ideas very well. |
Energy firms and their investors are becoming increasingly excited about its likeliest replacement: not wind nor wave nor solar power, but gas—or, to be precise, gas that is frozen and transported as liquefied natural gas (LNG). This is expected to become as ubiquitous and crucial to the global economy as petroleum is today.Scenario planners at Royal Dutch/Shell think that gas may surpass oil as the world's most important energy source by 2025.While oil became increasingly important during the past century, for much of that period natural gas was seen as its ugly stepsister: burnt off or “stranded” when discovered by accident, and rarely sought after.Gas is, by definition, gaseous at room temperature; oil is a liquid that can easily be transported. Gas traditionally needed elaborate systems of pipelines to get it from the wellhead to the customer. That meant it was typically used fairly close to where it was produced, shipped at great expense via pipeline—or, more often, simply wasted.The rise of LNG promises to change that. Put simply, gas can be frozen into liquid form near its source, shipped to market in refrigerated tankers, warmed back into gaseous form on foreign shores and injected into the local pipeline system. Thanks to this technological advance, gas has the potential to be a fungible, global commodity like oil.
A new study by the white-shoe consultancy Bain & Co. finds that, while 70% of senior executives at large corporations agree that information technology is relevant to growth, 60% say IT is actually inhibiting their growth efforts. Further, the perception is affecting tech spending.The problem, according to Bain, is that many companies are simply not aligned in a way that makes it possible to use IT as a growth driver. Companies fail to coordinate their business and IT goals. Two-thirds of respondents said their existing technologies either didn't deliver as promised or were underexploited. Others said so-called "legacy" technology lacks the flexibility to keep up with current business and tech trends. David Shpilberg, head of Bain's global IT practice, was not surprised by the results. He says the root of the "broken dialogue" between IT and business executives goes back several decades, when companies used technology to report and analyze what had already happened. Technology decisions are business decisions, and need to be made by business people who understand technology and how it can drive growth. But Bain's study found that business executives are not getting enough literacy about technology.The problem is that not many tech companies have that expertise. The major players will have to become business consultants as much as they are technologists. The article concludes by expressing doubt whether the major IT consulting enterprises are ready for this change.
Thursday, August 26, 2004This manifesto is an excerpt from Guy Kawasaki's book - "Art of the Start". Guy has written this book for aspiring entrepreneurs and has woven this book in an excellent tapestry of powerful ideas and structured formatting embellished with very rich examples. Guy Kawasaki's book/manifesto has very powerful ideas. He typically wants aspiring entrepreneurs to start thinking in the GIST (Great Ideas For Starting Business)format and lists five themes: A. Make a meaning. B. Make Mantra. C. Get Going. D. Define Business Model E. Weave a Mat. Please read my earlier related post on this - Guy Kawasaki's "Art of the Start". Guy has expanded on these themes admirably. For instance he writes at length about creating a "Mantra" instead of mission for the enterprise.In his own inimitable way,he expands this with some real examples. Nike -"Authentic Athletic Experience", Disney -"Fun, Family and Entertainment", Starbucks - "Rewarding Everyday Moments", IBM -"Think", Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers -" Winning Is Everything".An excellent read and highly recommended for all aspiring entrepreneurs. |
Microsoft.com has a fresh new look, which is consistent with other changes focused on new product evangelism.The previous home page focused much more on products, with big icons and related links for Windows, Office System and Server System, among six broad categories. Microsoft has shifted the focus to people. A high level review of Microsoft.com makeover. |
Cherry Murray of Bell Labs talks about nanotechnology, "network convergence," the pace at which theories becomes fact.In the past 20 years, large companies have become global and are no longer only focused on one market. Also, R&D around the globe was not possible when communication was only directly from person to person. The pace of R&D has gone up dramatically [with the advent of] the Internet Cheery Murray expands his thoughts,"Today research and development occurs simultaneously. There's no opportunity anymore to do research first and develop the technology gradually [for a number of reasons]: It is possible to communicate, the markets are fluctuating, there is global competition, and prices are coming down dramatically. So now, we may be developing some product and discover that we want to add another feature, so we would do concurrent scientific research and development. Also, small companies spring up very quickly now because of venture capital. So corporations are not isolated anymore from the science and technology environment". Global corporate research calls for more innovation and more diversity, result focussed and labs compressing time would be the leaders of tommorow. |
The interplay between managerial expectations and employee performance is more complex than these commonsense maxims suggest. To be sure, expectations exert a powerful impact on an individual's performance. Yet managers who believe that they've done their job merely by defining and declaring high expectations—without involving employees in the process—will likely get the same poor results that bosses with low expectations receive.Experts and executives agree that successful fulfillment of individuals' performance expectations hinges on managers' ability to apply four practices:
1. Involve employees
2. Focus on achievability
3. Build measures that help meet goals
4. Tap into employees' deepest motivations
Expecting the best from employees doesn’t always deliver results. Instead, managers must involve workers in setting goals that are achievable, measurable, and tap into motivation.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004via Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends Grid computing lets devices connected to the Internet, overlay peer-to-peer networks, and the nascent wired computational grid dynamically share network-connected resources. The wireless grid extends this sharing potential to mobile, nomadic, or fixed-location devices temporarily connected via ad hoc wireless networks.In some ways, wireless grids resemble networks already found in connection with agricultural, military, transportation, air-quality, environmental, health, emergency, and security systems. A range of institutions, from the largest governments to very small enterprises, will own and at least partially control wireless grids. Following Metcalfe’s law, grid-based resources become more valuable as the number of devices and users increases. The wireless grid makes it easier to extend grid computing to large numbers of devices that would otherwise be unable to participate and share resources. While grid computing attracts much research, resource sharing across small, ad hoc, mobile, and nomadic grids draws much less.The wireless grid application may be classified as three mutually non -inclusive classes:
Class 1: Applications aggregating information from the range of input/output interfaces found in nomadic devices.
Class 2: Applications leveraging the locations and contexts in which the devices exist.
Class 3: Applications leveraging the mesh network capabilities of groups of nomadic devices. Wireless grids offer a wide variety of possible applications. They can reach both geographic locations and social settings that computers have not traditionally penetrated. Wireless grids present three novel elements: new resources,new places of use, and new institutional ownership and control patterns. Wireless devices bring new resources to distributed computing. In addition to typical computational resources such as processor power, disk space, and applications, wireless devices increasingly employ cameras, microphones, GPS receivers, and accelerometers, as well as an assortment of network interfaces (cell, radio, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth). The article concludes with an excellent perspective,"The emergence of wireless grids parallels the historical trend that has seen computing shift from a hierarchical structure—in which computing was an organizationally controlled activity—to a situation in which the only guarantee is that individual users will follow their strategic interests.Application developers have an opportunity to draw on the new resources, interfaces, and locations that wireless devices provide".The original article can be foundhere. An excellent article in recent times talking about possibilities that can have profound impact in its application and can bring huge impact to computing benefits.
Dave Pollard writes,"Enterprises today have a dizzying selection of performance measurements to choose from. While at one time measuring financial profitability, growth and asset management effectiveness were considered enough, businesses are now told that they need broader metrics to avoid the landmines that may not show up in a simple financial report card.How does an entrepreneur decide which measures to use? The decision ultimately comes down to which measures best reflect and assess the achievement of the enterprise's objectives". The article, twelth instalment of the upcoming book "Natural Enterprise" makes very interesting reading. It's been said that "what gets measured, gets done", and there is some truth to that. But nowhere in business is the 'conventional wisdom' so likely to lead you astray than in business measurement. Dave's brilliant insights into business, entrepreneurship and organisational dyamics makes this article a compelling and enriching read. A must read for all entreprenuers and aspirants alike. |
Robert Scoble publishes the corporate weblog manifesto - covering all phases of the weblog publishing cycle - from conceptualisation to implementation and enhancement Robert Scoble, one of the best known bloggers in the world, here details out activities in blogging cycle and some very insightful good practices as relevant at various blog stages. Scoble has brought out in a simple and direct document, a very good collection of principles that should govern the corporate weblog. A must read for all bloggers and corporate executives planning to blog. |
An excellent paper on "Collaboration Software Clients: Email, IM, Presence, RSS & Collaborative Workspaces Should Be Integrated for Business Communication" is a good comparison between those collaboration tools. Could be useful to, for example, your internal discussion on how to use blogs and wikis in relation to existing tools. Corporateblogging referred this excellent paper wherein an elegant comparison of the collabarative client tools is avaialable. Too often the collabarative tools are viewed as one in place of another, but the real value would come out of ability to leverage multiple tools effectively. Must read for all business managers implementing collabarative solutions. |
Tuesday, August 24, 2004Tom Peters, the famous business writer here comes with 60 This -I-Beleive list of things needed to be practised in pursuit of excellence in modern business. Tom's unique insights into business trends, unmatchable ability to present these in a succint manner, breadth of ideas and usage of powerful expressions and catchy expressions make this an excellent document. Must read for all business leaders and the list looks definitely actionable. |
Guy Kawasaki of Apple Fame and author of various bestsellers,talks here about five big ideas that should be considered and thought through as part of starting a business. Here he gives a big picture view of his new book titled.The Art of the Start. This article was referred by Kathleen in her blog. I liked Guy's format of articulating his thoughts as five lessons :-
Lesson 1: Make Meaning,
Lesson 2: Make A Mantra,
Lesson 3: Get Going,
Lesson 4: Define A Business Model,
Lesson 5: Weave A MAT.
The examples that Guy has used to amplify his thoughts are very educative and well thought. A must read for all business leaders and would be entrepreneurs. |
A new genetically engineered mouse shows huge promise for the research.With no previous running experience, most mice can run about 900 meters before exhaustion. But the genetically altered mice can run 1800 meters (more than a mile) before running out of steam, and keep it up for two and a half hours -- an hour longer than unaltered mice can run.Previously, the only known way to increase endurance was through training.To perform the genetic enhancement on the mice, researchers injected a human version of a protein called PPAR-delta attached to a short DNA sequence. The injection permanently incorporated enhanced PPAR-delta production into the mice' genomes. The change is transgenic, meaning the mice will pass down the trait to future generations. Most physiologists believe that enhancing performance is a complicated process during which several genes coordinate changes throughout the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the muscle itself. But this single change seems to have rewired the entire system. That could be good news for people who are confined to a wheelchair or suffer from muscle-wasting diseases like AIDS or muscular dystrophy. The discovery could also lead to treatments for diabetes and obesity, because the mice also had lower levels of intramuscular triglycerides, which are associated with insulin resistance and diabetes in obese people.While mice are much easier to genetically alter than humans, if genetic modification is perfected in humans, this could lead to an easy way to enhance sports performance. Already several ethical questions are beginning to get heard centered around Human Genetics..
Om Malik confirms that Technoratihas indeed received VC funding.This is the second RSS related company to get big VC dollars.Congrats to Sifry and team. Technorati deserves to be funded well and hope Dave is able to take technorati to greater heights. Truly blog movement requires sich attention from VC's at this take off juncture.
Advertisers have uncovered a world of young men with plenty of time on their hands and money to spend - a highly coveted demographic - in an unlikely place. The young men are on the Internet, paying money to play fantasy sports games.Fantasy baseball, football, basketball and hockey leagues, like the ones that are offered on Sportsline.com were among the first services to prove that consumers were willing to pay for online content. But now, free or low-cost services from AOL, NFL.com and even Best Buy are attracting advertising dollars and, potentially, driving down the price of content for everyone. Most of the online revenues shall be coming from services extended online and not mere content. Two trends to watch - the online world is slowly starting to understand online customers and beginning to evolve winnable working models. Secondly, it is getting clearer that offering online services is the way to create sustainable and profitable online enterprises - this can not be achieved by merely providing content online - Look at several high profile online content providers going belly up in the last 12 months. |
Monday, August 23, 2004Corporate customers are fed up with high software prices and are convinced they're getting less for more. Some are switching to cheapie alternatives. A lot more of them are threatening to do so.The trend is so powerful that,the future will be dreadful for software vendors like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. Customers will balk at ever-escalating prices for mainstream products and will opt whenever they can for bargain-basement software based on freely available code such as MySQL or the Linux operating system.The chief technology officer at Sabre Holdings, which runs the world's largest airfare and ticketing network, Craig Murphy has spent millions of dollars on database and other software from companies like Oracle. But last year, when Sabre was building a new computer system for online shoppers, Murphy took a flyer on a database program from a little-known company in Sweden that charges only $495 per server computer, versus a $160,000 list price for Oracle. Guess what? The Swedish stuff works great. Fired up, Murphy is hunting for other places to use the cheaper software, called MySQL."We're just not going to pay license fees for those databases like we used to. We'll download free stuff off the Internet before we do that," Murphy says that "this is the future of computing." Software is not rocket science. It's a commodity. The business has been overglorified for 20 years says MySQL executives.Venture investors are pumping millions into new low-cost providers, encouraged by the success of cheapware pioneers like Salesforce.com and Linux distributor Red Hat, which boast market values of $1 billion and $2.6 billion, respectively. Software now claims a fifth of the $960 billion the world spends annually on computer systems, up from one-tenth of a $464 billion pie in 1990, according to IDC, a market researcher. Hardware sales dropped from $460 billion five years ago to an estimated $365 billion this year as hardware suffered commoditization and ruthless price-cutting from suppliers like Dell. Now it may be software's turn for some pricing pressure Other big corproate names that have recently embraced cheapware include,FedEx, Ingram Entertainment, Lufthansa, NASA, Omaha Steaks, Sony, Suzuki and UPS. Clearly, cheapware trend is out to explode in a big way in the days to come.
Rich writes," Outsourcing is here to stay. It's not just a fad. It's a historical fact. Outsourcing and its economic philosophical daughters, competitive advantage and comparative advantage, have been with us since before Adam Smith first regaled us with the parable of the pin maker. What's more, outsourcing is good for America.According to CNET, for the first five months of 2004 the average price of a DVD player made in China was $40.80. The average cost to produce it, including operating costs, was $39.80. (Just five years ago, it cost at least $500 to purchase one in the U.S., guaranteeing huge profits to its manufacturers. Clearly, the profit margins to manufacture a DVD player have fallen dramatically.)In those same five months, China manufactured 41 million DVD players on outsourcing orders from a variety of firms, such as Sony, Philips, and Matsushita Electric Industrial Company's Panasonic.But notice that none of these companies, which outsource production to China, are American. Chinese DVD player manufacturers aren't threatening American jobs because the American electronics industry lost its trade war with Japan long ago. Which puts USA in the interesting situation today."Rich argues that outsourcing creates more jobs. He says,"To meet increased demand, firms that sell, store, or transport a product (which now costs less) have to hire workers. The lower the price of a Chinese-made DVD player falls, the more customer service reps, website techies, and accountants Amazon.com must hire to keep up with the buyer traffic on its site. The more sales people and warehouse workers Best Buy needs to employ to stock and sell its goods. The more drivers get jobs at FedEx to move the goods around the country. In fact, by increasing the number of goods in circulation, outsourcing even stimulates the hiring of manufacturing employees at companies such as packaging maker Sonoco.The domino effect - Lowering the price of goods through outsourcing spurs job creation in related industries, too and offers the example: The more DVD players come down in price, the more people can afford them. And the more people can afford DVD players, the more people will want to buy DVDs. Think moviemaker Pixar here. Think Netflix, disc provider to the masses. When you add up all the jobs gained from lowering costs through outsourcing, there can be little doubt that they outweigh the few that are lost. So the next time some one says that outsourcing is bad for America, don't accept the easy answer".
New York City is on the verge of going fully wireless, according to a deal being finalised this month between authorities and a group of six technology companies.In exchange for being able to mount up to 18,000 new lamp post-based antennas, to strengthen coverage around the five boroughs, the companies will pay the city government around $25m each year. The antennas shall be aesthetically placed. Some criticism about using wireless technology so extensively are beginning to get heard - most of the criticism is centered on health grounds. One protester said,"Nobody runs a microwave 24 hours a day, seven days a week, outside their bedroom door when they are sleeping... That's why it's important we study this." With Big Apple, showing the way in embracing wireless extensively, other cities around the globe shall follow soon - clearly sign of things to come. |
Richard Greenman, Cassatt corp.says,"We see a series of trends that create a perfect storm driving the deployment of these service-based systems, whether it is the modernization of hardware, which is inevitable with Moore's Law, and pricing, or it is the need to build more scalable, less brittle, highly available and redundant systems. There are a whole lot of things happening in the marketplace that you can see crystalizing for scalable grid architectures built on increasingly commoditized platforms. The players [more likely to succeed] in my point of view are the independent vendors that are able to deploy heterogeneous solutions. I think none of the big names players will be well positioned in the future". Richard adds,"There are basic concepts that people will need to wrap their heads around and then we can work backwards into the current timeframe being service level agreements and utility computing. The concepts embodied in those two ideas really will drive how businesses get architected. Today you own a specific piece of hardware, and on that hardware runs this or these applications. And department X is paying for those services running on that hardware and application. Those physical bindings of money, hardware, apps and service are really going to become virtualized: where there is going to be a collection of physical hardware out there, there is going to be a set of services necessary to run the business and somehow the IT department is going to have to deal with very dynamic allocation and billing of this virtual hardware infrastructure to fufill the needs of a purchaser of IT services. So the attractions of virtualization that are embodied in SLAs and utility computing are the concepts that people must get their heads around in separating the virtual and physical world".Richard, who was heading the Solaris OS group while at Sun offers his perspective on open source and utility computing as,"Open source per se is not the driving force for autonomic computing. There are two dominant forces in the OS platform " Linux and Windows IT organizations rely on each to build their distributed systems and both in fact to build their distributed systems and autonomic solutions. We are going to focus on each or both to make sure we can provide solutions for what IT needs. Each has values and strengths and brings a different sets of virtues".
Sunday, August 22, 2004A technique originally designed to analyse DNA sequences is the latest weapon in the war against spam. An algorithm named Chung-Kwei (after a feng-shui talisman that protects the home against evil spirits) can catch nearly 97 per cent of spam.Chung-Kwei is based on the Teiresias algorithm, developed by the bioinformatics research group at IBM's Thomas J Watson Research Center in New York, US. Teiresias was designed to search different DNA and amino acid sequences for recurring patterns, which often indicate genetic structures that have an important role.Instead of chains of characters representing DNA sequences, the research group fed the algorithm 65,000 examples of known spam. Each email was treated as a long, DNA-like chain of characters.IBM intends to include Chung-Kwei in its commercial product, SpamGuru. Justin Mason, who developed SpamAssassin, one of the most popular open-source anti-spam filters, says that Chung-Kwei looks promising."I think there is still a lot of work to be done. But what is exciting is not the particular algorithm, but the fact that IBM has shown there is the entire field of bioinformatics techniques to explore in the fight against spam." The complete technical paperThis paper explains the application of this technique with more examples and points out to the future direction of research and application of this technique. |
Philip Greenspun's very insightful and informative trip reports to Japan- extremely well articulated and well researched.Philip's attention to detail is amazing. Philip has once again beaten all expectations in terms of how much informative and insightful can a travel article be. Well done Philip. What is outstanding about the Japanese are how much they seem to have forgotten the world war and got on with business even at persoanl level.A few things would make this report more rounded.
A. Japanese work style -Long hours and culture of meetings and consensus.
B. How Japanese are fighting/planning to fight ageing population.
C.Japanese views about Korean competition in High-tech and China in Manufacturing. D. Views of young Japanese about Japan's competitiveness and business culture vis-a-vis the US.
E. Japan's insular cuture in terms of language and business style- I read recently that as a turnaround strategy, a leading Japanese bank decided to operate ATM's 24 hours.
F.Japan's fragile political system and issues centered on the Japanese monarchy.
G. Failing Japanese marriage and family lives.
P.S - I do not agree with Philip's recommendations about the best hotel room in Tokyo - I think that the Gand Hyatt in Tokyo near the Roppongi district would score better than Akasaka.
Scobelizer, the famous microsoft employee and leading Internet blogger writes that computer system requires multiple layers of security and highlights why this is needed and how he is personally enforcing multiple layers of security( Fourteen to be precise) in his perosnal machine..,"How much security is good enough? Let's get out of the computer world. Let's talk about heirloom jewelry. My wife, Maryam, has a bit of jewelry. Does she store it here in the house? No. Why not? It's not secure enough. Where does she store it? In a safe deposit box in a bank. Let's talk about a bank's security and how many layers it has.
1) The jewelry is stored in a safe deposit box with a lock.
2) There's a camera on the box area, so if something goes missing they can verify what happened later.
3) Each box is alarmed. So, if you try to break into someone else's box, an alarm will cry out.
4) The safe deposit boxes are stored inside the bank vault. Three feet of concrete and steel with a very sophisticated lock on the door.
5) Video cameras on the vault door to verify who goes in and out.
6) The vault is behind a counter and you aren't allowed to go near it unless an employee lets you in.
7) The vault is in a building that's designed to be difficult to break into. Alarms. Heavy duty doors. Lighting that makes it easy to see in.
I'm sure there's more layers too that I'm not even aware of. But, let's not dwell on this. The point is that there's multiple layers of security all to protect my wife's jewelry. Let's say any one of these layers failed. Her jewelry would still be safe. It would take multiple failures for a criminal to be able to steal her jewelry.
So, what's my point? Well, when it comes to computer security you should have multiple layers as well. If you have multiple layers of security, then any one layer -- even if it's not well designed -- will prove sufficient in keeping criminals away from the digital equivilent of your jewelry.The fouteen layers of security is very important and needs to be definitely followed |
Saturday, August 21, 2004C.K. Prahalad thinks there can be a win-win relationship between business and the poor. C.K.Prahalad's views in a nutshell are,"IF WE stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden and start recognising them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs and value-conscious consumers, a whole new world of opportunity will open up.” That “simple proposition” begins a controversial new management book that seems destined to be read not just in boardrooms but also in government offices. “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Eradicating Poverty Through Profits” (Wharton School Publishing), is essentially a rallying cry for big business to put serving the world's 5 billion or so poorest people at the heart of their profit-making strategies. It has already been praised by everyone from Bill Gates—“a blueprint for fighting poverty”—to a former American secretary of state, Madeleine Albright—“if you are looking for fresh thinking about emerging markets, your search is ended.”"C.K.Prahalad is a fierce critic of traditional top-down thinking on aid, by governments and non-governmental organisations alike. They tend to see the poor as victims to be helped, he says, not as people who can be part of the solution—and so their help often creates dependency. Nor does he pin much hope on the “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) programmes of many large companies. If you want serious commitment from a firm, he says, its involvement with the poor “can't be based on philanthropy or CSR”. The involvement of big business is crucial to eradicating poverty, he believes, but BOP markets must “become integral to the success of the firm in order to command senior management attention and sustained resource allocation.” Mr Prahalad reckons that there are huge potential profits to be made from serving the 4 billion-5 billion people on under $2 a day—an economic opportunity he values globally at $13 trillion a year. The win for the poor of being served by big business includes, he says, being empowered by choice and being freed from having to pay the currently widespread “poverty penalty”. In shanty towns near Mumbai, for example, the poor pay a premium on everything from rice to credit—often five to 25 times what the rich pay for the same services. Driving down these premiums can make serving the BOP more profitable than serving the top, he argues, and points to a growing number of leading firms—from Unilever in India to Cemex in Mexico and Casas Bahia in Brazil—that are profiting by doing precisely that. |
Friday, August 20, 2004The CEO says Amazon is so innovative because it's always probing, unafraid to make mistakes until it finds a "huge, broad avenue".After going from Internet poster boy in the late 1990s to Internet piñata by 2000, Amazon.com founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Bezos has survived, and then some.Thanks in large part to the e-tailer's constant innovations, from permanent free-shipping offers that recharged sales growth to features such as Search Inside the Book, which lets people do Google-like searches of the full texts of thousands of books. And customers like the changes. On Aug. 17, a survey of 20 e-commerce sites by market researcher Vividence put Amazon on top in customer satisfaction.Now, Bezos, 40, wants to accelerate Amazon's rate of innovation As much as the theme -Innovation that this interview focusses on, the interview is filled with pearls of wisdom - typical Bezos style- " If you look at our corporate culture, we've always had a customer obsession, and we've always been pioneering. We've always been focused on customers rather than competitors,I think if you want to have an innovative organization, you need to do at least a couple of things. One is it's a lot about selection of people. Some people love a rapid rate of change. They love going down alleys, many of which turn out to be dead ends. They like inventing. And other people like a more stable environment where you know more what tomorrow's going to be like. Those people, of course, flee Amazon.com in hordes.It's just the way we started. Corporate cultures tend to be very stable over time. If you have a very competitive-focused culture, then people who like that kind of culture are attracted to that organization and they thrive there.The world is getting to be a smaller and smaller place. The world is so highly interconnected. No country has a monopoly on smart people. That's not how it works. To me, to try and pretend that there's a monopoly on smart people is fighting physics. It's just not the reality. In fact, if everybody could be prosperous and creative and trading with one another, they're much more likely to be friendly to one another, too".
Network could operate 100 times faster.Canadian researchers have shown that nanotechnology can be used to pave the way to a supercharged Internet based entirely on light. The discovery could lead to a network 100 times faster than today's. In a study published today in Nano Letters, Professor Ted Sargent and colleagues advance the use of one laser beam to direct another with unprecedented control, a featured needed inside future fibre-optic networks. "This finding showcases the power of nanotechnology: to design and create purpose-built custom materials from the molecule up," says Sargent, a professor at U of T's Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.Until now, engineering researchers have been unable to capitalize on theoreticians' predictions of the power of light to control light. The failure of real materials to live up to their theoretical potential has become known as the "Kuzyk quantum gap" in molecular nonlinear optics. "Molecular materials used to switch light signals with light have, until now, been considerably weaker than fundamental physics say they could be," says Sargent. "With this work, the ultimate capacity to process information-bearing signals using light is within our practical grasp." According to Sargent, future fibre-optic communication systems could relay signals around the global network with picosecond (one trillionth of a second) switching times, resulting in an Internet 100 times faster. To do this, they need to avoid unnecessary conversions of signals between optical and electronic form. Says Sargent: "By creating a new hybrid material that can harness a light beam's power, we've demonstrated a new class of materials which meets the engineering needs of future photonic networks."
IPico has developed and tested RFID passive tags and readers that can be used to monitor vehicles at a read distance of 17 feet traveling at speeds of 160 mph.IPico’s new UHF ENP technology uses the company’s existing EM4222 passive chip design already used for supply chain management and tire-tagging applications. For its ENP system, however, the company redesigned the tag so it could be attached to the inside of a vehicle’s windshield and developed readers for roadside placement.
Using RFID in electronic vehicle identification promises to support a range of applications both for government and local authorities and for businesses. The technology is being considered for electronic vehicle licensing, traffic, speed and cross-border control and traffic ticketing, as well as for existing operations such as road toll collection and fleet and parking management. |
Thursday, August 19, 2004Back last month when Real Networks said that it was making songs available for download to the iPod after the cracking of Apple's proprietory code, it was apparent that a conflict was building between the two companies.There are serious questions about Digital Rights Management at stake here. For Apple, the iPod is effectively a loss leader, with the real money to be made from drawing people into the brand. But should one company really be the only one able to offer iPod downloads? Whatever the issues, though, Real has gone off the deep end. If they really believe that they should take Apple on, surely this is not the best way to go about it. While Steve Jobs recovers from his cancer operation, Real sticks the boot in, annoys its investors and - ultimately - fails to align itself with public sympathy.
One would assume that Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, got there by working hard 24/7. But it seems he also has the wisdom to take off on "Think Weeks" -a one week 'thinking' retreat to a remote cabin by the lake with no means of electronic communication.All he has with him is food, a pile of books to read and a bed to laze on. Away from it all, this quiet time alone allows new thoughts and perspectives to arise, voices usually lost in the hectic hurly burly of the modern daily routine.Each "Think Week" might translate into new action directions that help Bill Gates to stay flexible and take the initiative in the future!Bill Gates on his practice of taking "Think Weeks":
"It's easy to spend so much time thinking about today's markets and competitors that you're not ready for those you'll encounter tomorrow. That's why I schedule "think weeks" several times a year-so I can spend time reading up on trends that are just beyond the horizon.""I go off for a week with no interruptions. In fact, this one I was pretty religious about not doing e-mail, no phone calls and just day and night, other than sleeping, I'm reading."
Wednesday, August 18, 2004The creator of Linux says "I can't be nasty" when leading the open-source movement since it's all built on trust and teamwork
Linus Torvalds created the first iteration of the Linux operating system 13 years ago. Since then, he has been the technical shepherd coordinating the volunteer work of more than 1,000 people who actively contribute code and ideas to the Linux kernel -- the core program. He's also the symbolic leader of a movement made up hundreds of companies that are involved in Linux development, in addition to the thousands of volunteers. That has helped Linux become the No. 2 operating system worldwide for server computers. Trovald provides some insights - "I think the method of developing open source is the scientific method. The open-source people use it for software. So, engineering and science are all about the open-source method. It's mainly about knowledge and information. You can spread it without losing it yourself. Groklaw.net is the open-source mentality applied to legal research. There are encyclopedias -- a collection of a lot of information that's neutral. One project on the Web is Wikipedia. On US lead innovation, he adds,"Open source is a tool anybody can use to innovate. It's a tool the U.S. can use or other countries can use. If you want to keep on the forefront of technology, you have to take advantage of the most powerful tools, and open source is one of them. Other countries will take full advantage of open source, and it allows them to innovate and leave the U.S. behind -- if it doesn't innovate, too."". |
The rapid growth rate for offshore outsourcing showed no signs of abating, despite negative publicity about job losses. Although information technology remains the dominant service, financial firms are expanding into other areas like insurance claims processing, mortgage applications, equity research and accounting."Offshoring has created a truly global operating model for financial services, unleashing a new and potent competitive dynamic that is changing the rules of the game for the entire industry. The Delloite survey confirms that offshoring is gaining strength amongst the financial service vendors. This update of offshoring from NYTimes reinforces the dominant role for offshoring in the days to come. |
Wikipedia provides an excellent perspective about opensource Wikipedia defines opensource as a work methodology that fits the Open Source Definition, and generally is any computer software whose source code is either in the public domain or, more commonly, is copyrighted by one or more persons/entities and distributed under an open-source license such as the GNU General Public License (GPL). Such a license may require that the source code be distributed along with the software, and that the source code be freely modifiable, with at most minor restrictions, such as a requirement to preserve the authors' names and copyright statement in the code, a concept known as copyleft. In some cases, as with Apache or FreeBSD, there are only very minor conditions on use of modified versions. When used as an adjective, the term is hyphenated, e.g. "Apache is open-source software." An excellent round up about Opensource.. The Open Source Technology Stack The Open Stack for RTE - Application is defined here. |
Tuesday, August 17, 2004This is an advanced copy of a paper: "RFID, Whats in it for the Forecaster?" by Larry Lapide, of MIT's Integrated Supply Chain Management Program. Good overview regards the ultimate value of transparency of flow in the supply chain. He presented this at a recent meeting.Mere RFID may not provide the difference in supply chain forecasting - while acting as an enabler,the true efficiency in supply chain would come from dataflow and forecast algorithms in that system, combined with features like the ability to part splitting complex product and relating these to demand,as supply chain not only involves distribution but also manufacturing. |
The Olympics in Athens look set to be the most technologically advanced in the Games' history.The development of sports science in recent times has allowed athletes to prepare for this Olympiad using technology beyond their predecessors' wildest dreams.But some question whether the influence of technology on training and performances is undermining the spirit of the modern Games, as it returns to the birthplace of the ancient Olympics.Almost 70% of people questioned in a poll believed that athletes with access to the latest technology did have an advantage over those who did not.Several sporting events are extremely technology dependent and in fact some may cease to exist without modern technology. The role of technology in sports and in managing sporting events shall only be felt more and more in fture.
HP's problems spawn from the death of... their operating system, HP/UX. Like IBM, they've elected to ask their customers and ISV's to move to Red Hat Linux or Microsoft Windows on x86 systems. And if you're an ISV, how does that differentiate HP? - they're a box vendor. If you're a customer, where does that leave you with your HP/UX investments? Facing untimely change - with a vendor no longer in charge of their OS.On the hardware side, Sun, IBM, Dell and HP will all vigorously compete for the x86 hardware space. I'm confident our industry standard Opteron systems will lead everyone in price/performance - especially in multi-processing environments. An interesting perspective from HP'S competitor - that too a troubled one. |
With no technology rebound in sight,high-tech vendors must look to the business practices of their former admirers in slower-growth industries such as retailing and banking. There they will find lessons about increasing productivity and using the improvement strategically to expand their market share and improve their financial performance.
The challenge goes beyond simple cost cutting; it's about changing the ratio of inputs to outputs--the value of what companies put into a production process compared with what they get out.High-tech companies have always focused on product innovation, and the economics of producing and selling technology in a high-demand environment enabled them to increase the value of their output for a given amount of labor, capital, and purchased goods and services. Now they must put a similar effort into delivering the same or greater output with fewer inputs and developing innovative operational processes, not just products and services.A handful of high-tech vendors, grasping this new reality, have developed extremely productive business processes or taken advantage of lower-factor costs (and sometimes both) to create and then widen their advantage over the competition. Read on.. An excellent article. |
Monday, August 16, 2004Software spending is flat, making it harder for small companies to survive, and making the big players restless. In the enterprise software market, the message is clear: It's time to hunt or be hunted. Analysts foresee an increase in consolidation in the enterprise software arena, as the giants aim to become one-stop shops for more customers. Experts say the business software industry will consolidate as companies try to increase their range of products to better compete for tight IT budgets. That pressure is prompting midsize firms and the industry's largest players to consider combinations that might have been dismissed only a few years ago.
Om Malik highlights the role played by the new media in the increasingly digital world. |
Sunday, August 15, 2004Bad sunsets, cutesy baby pictures, and dogs, lots of dogs, will feature in a new line of U.S. stamps introduced this week by Web-based Stamps.com, which turns digital photos into valid postage.Stamps.com Inc. said it had won approval from the U.S. Postal Service for a trial run of personalized postage that allows consumers to slap their favorite photos on officially recognized stamps for postcards, letters and packages.The market test comes 164 years after Britain's Queen Victoria's image appeared on the Penny Black in 1840, the first modern stamp.Each stamp carries Stamps.com's patented two-dimensional barcode technology made up of tiny dots arranged in patterns with billions of variations to prevent counterfeiters.Consumers looking to create their own stamps can visit Stamps.com. A three-stage process is involved in transmitting a digital picture to the site, using the site's tools to crop the photo and choose a color scheme, and then placing the order. Delivery takes four to seven business days.
IceRocket is a brand new search host that combines the best of spidered search, meta search, and what we hope are some unique and different features that make using the engine more efficient and addictive.Web Search :- Thumbnail photos of results homepages - One of the things I hate about all search engines is that you click on a site hoping for a quality site, and you get an empty or shell website. The photos of the site give a quick look so you can see before you click. This can be turned on or off.
- Quick View - Without leaving the results of search page, you can see the top 40 pct of the destination page as a short cut to deciding if the site is what you are looking for. If its what you want, a quick click and the page opens up completely.
- Info - This is the traffic ranking from Alexa. It lets you know before you click whether anyone else goes to the site according to Alexa.
News Search -A new feature that handles the traditional function of searching news sites, sorted by date.
Picture Search -IceRocket has the exclusive search on non-traditional pictures sites. We search the old standbys, and the web, but also index non-traditional sites like webshots.com. This is a great place to find out if one of your friends took a picture of you and posted it for the world to see!
Saturday, August 14, 2004Nokia is upping the ante in the growing battle over digital convergence. The Finnish mobile-phone giant has staked a claim in the nascent business of wireless music-on-the-go, announcing a little-noticed deal with Loudeye, a Seattle-based startup, to collaborate on technology for downloading songs over the air to mobile phones. If the partnership works, mobile phones could become stronger competitors to portable music players such as the Apple (AAPL ) iPod. Equally important, Nokia could help mobile operators develop a lucrative new revenue source from selling and distributing digital music.Nokia (NOK ) is upping the ante in the growing battle over digital convergence. The Finnish mobile-phone giant has staked a claim in the nascent business of wireless music-on-the-go, announcing a little-noticed deal on Aug. 9 with Loudeye (LOUD ), a Seattle-based startup, to collaborate on technology for downloading songs over the air to mobile phones. If the partnership works, mobile phones could become stronger competitors to portable music players such as the Apple (AAPL ) iPod. Equally important, Nokia could help mobile operators develop a lucrative new revenue source from selling and distributing digital music.Nokia will certainly benefit if music phones take off and it manages to sell tens of millions of units. Its infrastructure business also will do well if Nokia sells packaged solutions with Loudeye that help operators get quickly into the mobile music business. |
Technology buyers hit the brakes toward the end of the second quarter 2004, and it's worth asking whether spending on software and hardware--not to mention capital spending overall--is being hampered by gun-shy corporate executives.Technology buyers in particular are clearly scared of being burned by previous software purchases that didn't operate as advertised and are finding other uses for their cash. They aren't the only ones. According to an analysis by BusinessWeek, the 374 industrialized companies in Standard & Poor's 500 Index are collectively holding $555.6 billion in cash and short-term investments--more than double the amount in 1999.According to Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader, recent history may make it easy for executives to put technology projects on the back burner. Fader says that so many companies were burned by overhyped software that they don’t hesitate to pull the plug on projects now. “Many CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) companies are looking just to make a sale,” says Fader. “And every one of them has made outrageous claims.”Fader says it is possible that the boom-time actions of software vendors are still coming back to haunt them, but that there also appears to be a demand slowdown.In his semiannual testimony, Greenspan said corporate America is holding back on new capital investment even though it’s clear the economic recovery is gaining steam. “We are far from behaving the way we typically did,” said Greenspan.
“Businesses' ability to boost output without adding appreciably to their workforces likely resulted from a backlog of unexploited capabilities for enhancing productivity with minimal capital investment, which was an apparent outgrowth of the capital goods boom of the 1990s,” said Greenspan. “Indeed, over much of the previous three years, managers had seemed to pursue every avenue to avoid new hiring despite rising business sales. Their hesitancy to assume risks and expand employment was accentuated and extended by the corporate accounting and governance scandals that surfaced in the aftermath of the decline in stock prices and also, of course, by the environment of heightened geopolitical tensions,” he added.“Even now, following the pattern of recent quarters, corporate investment in fixed capital and inventories apparently continues to fall short of cash flow. The protracted nature of this shortfall is unprecedented over the past three decades. Moreover, the proportion of temporary hires relative to total employment continues to rise, underscoring that business caution remains a feature of the economic landscape.”
A critical view of HP's business performance. HP needs to be felt more in the market in new/big opportunties.HP is not getting the same mindshare as IBM with CIO's- a lead indicator to watch. Businessweek has published an insightful articles about what ails HP, Executive brain drain at HP The article goes on to say that most of senior executives from Compaq have left HP after the merger. |
German athletes going for Gold in Greece are to be protected in their section of the 'Olympic Village' by the very latest in biometric technology.The Olympic Games is always a diplomatically tense affair and previous events have been rocked by terrorist attacks - most notably when Germany last held the Games in Munich in 1972 and 11 Israeli athletes were killed.In the current climate of heightened concern, many teams are looking into additional security. The Israeli team this week erected a giant steel fence around its area in the village while the Iraqi team arrived with a full military escort. Others however, such as the German team, are putting their faith in technology.NEC will be providing the technology in association with German firm Bundesdruckerei.NEC's biometric technology was previously employed to protect the doping control room at the Nagano winter Olympics. Olympics games are always at the leading edge of deployong technology - This one continues the tradition. |
Wednesday, August 11, 2004IBM's mainframe momentum continues. IBM announces that a customer is beginning to use its zSeries machines and Linux for a major consolidation of business applications. Endress+Hauser, which makes measuring devices for industrial process engineering, is migrating its 19 SAP applications into one primary data center in Germany using two z990 mainframes, according to IBM. With a total of 36 processors running the Linux operating system, the setup is one of Europe's largest installations of Linux on the mainframe.A few years ago, the mainframe computer was widely considered a dinosaur, but it is experiencing new demand thanks to factors including better networking performance and strong virtualization.Virtualization refers to the ability to run more than one instance of an operating system on the same machine. IBM says its mainframes can run hundreds of "virtual" server computers.The Endress+Hauser win also indicates the open-source Linux OS is gaining ground.Linux is often attacked as 'great for Web servers, but.' Clearly, that serious enterprises are interested in putting their business computing on Linux and that too on Mainframes is very significant.
The tech guru sees a "new economic system" in the unconscious cooperation embodied by Google links and Amazon lists.With his last book, Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, in 2001, the longtime observer of technology trends made a persuasive case that pervasive mobile communications, combined with always-on Internet connections, will produce new kinds of ad-hoc social groups. Now, he's starting to take the leap beyond smart mobs, trying to weave some threads out of such seemingly disparate developments as Web logs, open-source software development, and Google. Howard thinks that the next social revolution may be based on collective action, unintentional though. He gives the following examples,"Google is based on the emergent choices of people who link. Nobody is really thinking, "I'm now contributing to Google's page rank." What they're thinking is, "This link is something my readers would really be interested in." They're making an individual judgment that, in the aggregate, turns out to be a pretty good indicator of what's the best source.Then there's open source [software]. Steve Weber, a political economist at UC Berkeley, sees open source as an economic means of production that turns the free-rider problem to its advantage. All the people who use the resource but don't contribute to it just build up a larger user base. And if a very tiny percentage of them do anything at all -- like report a bug -- then those free riders suddenly become an asset.Then you look at Amazon and its recommendation system, getting users to provide free reviews, users sharing choices with their friends, users who make lists of products. They get a lot of free advice that turns out to be very useful in the aggregate. There's also Wikipedia [the online encyclopedia written by volunteers]. It has 500,000 articles in 50 languages at virtually no cost, vs. Encyclopedia Britannica spending millions of dollars and they have 50,000 articles".
All these could dramatically transform not only the way people do business, but economic production altogether. We had markets, then we had capitalism, and socialism was a reaction to industrial-era capitalism. There's been an assumption that since communism failed, capitalism is triumphant, therefore humans have stopped evolving new systems for economic production.The technology of the Internet, reputation systems, online communities, mobile devices -- these are all like those technologies...that made capitalism possible. These may make some new economic system possible. Very powerful ideas from the reigning guru on Technology and Social trends.
Governments in China, Brazil - two large emerging markets for Microsoft are steering towards opensource solutions. Variety of reasons - security, economic and ideological concerns — threaten to dent Microsoft's ambitions and are making governments and the bureaucrats around the world to embrace open source. Open-source software is less susceptible to security bugs. That's because the programming instructions are open for review, not kept secret, as in the case of Microsoft's Windows. In theory, with more people around the world working on open-source software, improving it and exchanging information, the easier it is to spot Trojan horses, viruses and subversion attempts by hackers.For some governments, the problem is Microsoft itself. They harbor a deep-seated skepticism of global capitalism and what they view as enslavement to a foreign company with a monopoly on the market. For Instance,China has made no secret of its plans to become a high-tech powerhouse and sees Linux and other adaptable open-source systems as the vehicle to get there, by stimulating the development of supplementary software and applications. Anyway, serious competition is setting in for Microsoft.
Improving the productivity of knowledge workers is one of the most important challenges for companies that face the transition from the industrial economy to an economy based on information and knowledge. This paper presented in BlogTalk 2.0 introduces weblogs as personal publishing tools for knowledge workers and shows how personal publishing supports knowledg work processes, is personally beneficial to the knowledge worker and helps the dissemination of knowledge through an organisation. The failure of traditional knowledge management to adress the problem of knowledge worker productivity is widely recognised and this paper argues that a deeper understanding of knowledge work is necessary to improve it. It then explores knowledge work and how it is supported with information technology tools today, focussing specially on the email client as a knowledge work tool.A well researched and presented paper. |
Using blogs to comment about big enteprises approach to customers and stakeholders is beginning to yield results says Jeff Nolan. Jeff writes,"I am totally convinced of that, and this proves 2 very important points: 1) there is very little latency in blog stories, and 2) citizen journalism can get results". He writes about his experience with Amazon.com. The Guardian recently published a likeminded article. This movement should gain more momentum in the coming days as everyone from the CEO, VC's to ordinary executive have embraced blogging in a big way. |
Open vs. closed—it's one of the oldest battles in the technology industry.Some companies may talk idealistically about 'standards' and 'open' systems. But it's usually because they have lots to gain from interoperability, says David.Technology customers today, both individual and corporate, are begging for more simplicity, ease of use, and seamlessness in entire technology systems. Every tech company wants to convey this message: "We are the ones who will help you achieve the most with the least hassle." Those on both sides of the open vs. closed battle argue that theirs is the way to achieve that.The first of the two alternatives, characterized by the most idealistic-sounding rhetoric, is what companies like to call the "open-systems" approach. These companies build a nice piece or two of software that in itself doesn't solve a full set of user problems. It is incumbent on them to operate as much as possible in a world where things work together like Legos—a world, that is, of "open" systems. They want you to see their stuff as working with products from other companies, often with those managed as open-source development projects. These companies talk a lot about "standards" and openness, but in reality few of their products are ever truly Lego-like.Other companies are fortunate enough to control systems whose software is unitary. It all comes from them, works well together and does, by itself, more or less what customers need. The classic example, of course, is Microsoft—whose Windows, Word, Internet Explorer, Outlook, and other desktop applications work neatly with each other and with its SQL database and other server products. We are seeing mixed trends of companies traditionalyy churning closed source products like IBM are beginning to embrace opensource, open source companies like Redhat trying to churn out closed source products - the key is the companies can't survive for long without standards for interoperability.
Monday, August 09, 2004Would-be innovators know that one of their biggest challenges is systematically identifying the innovations with the greatest likelihood of creating disruptive growth. Pick the wrong one, and squander a year or more of focus and investment.The good news is that it doesn't have to be the luck of the draw anymore. By conducting a series of diagnostics, companies in any industry can quickly identify the most promising opportunities.By conducting customer, portfolio, and competitor diagnostics to pinpoint the highest-potential opportunities and the best business models for bringing them to market. The diagonostic dimensions are:
a.Customer diagnostic -This diagnostic assesses customers in order to identify "disruptable" market segments. Conducting this diagnostic involves looking for signs that specific customer groups either are overserved or are unsatisfied nonconsumers.
b.Portfolio diagnostic -The portfolio diagnostic assesses whether any current or potential innovations, such as new ideas or acquisition targets that produce appealing innovations, can be deployed in a way that successfully meets the needs of a disruptable customer group. This diagnostic involves looking at the technological characteristics of the innovation and at the potential business model by which the innovation might be brought to market.
c.Competitor diagnostic -The third diagnostic assesses competitors to ensure that the selected opportunity takes unique advantage of their weaknesses and blind spots. First, it helps to evaluate whether a competitor will be motivated to respond. Second, it identifies whether that competitor has the ability to do so effectively.
Disruptive innovations typically take advantage of "asymmetries of motivation" by entering markets that incumbents are motivated to exit or ignore. Looking at a competitor's income statement, balance sheet, history of investment decisions, and customers can help identify the developments to which a company might not respond.Companies that introduce disruptive innovations also tend to create asymmetric skills. In other words, they develop the unique ability to do what their competitors are unable to do.
It took decades for an old technology called mobile telephony to take off. But it did take off—and changed the way the world communicates.Wireless is now a $325 billion industry that has altered the way many people around the world communicate and even behave. Scientists at AT&T's Bell Labs first came up with the cellular concept in 1947—back when black-and-white TV was considered a hot technologyA complex, world-shifting technology like mobile telephony doesn't just up and shift the world. These things take time—not to mention imagination, luck, governmental forbearance, great gobs of money, and tremendous effort on the part of countless engineers and entrepreneurs. The story of cellphones is an object lesson in how technological change unfolds unpredictably, even when fostered by the finest business minds.Today cellphones seem as ubiquitous as the air that carries our calls. In the past six years wireless users in the U.S. have tripled, to more than 158 million. Americans have adopted wireless phones at a faster rate than we embraced such must-haves as color TVs, cable, and PCs. We truly have become an unwired society, talking and messaging at a rate of nearly a trillion untethered minutes a year.Cellphones didn't just change the way we communicate with one another—they changed our behavior.In fast-growing, emerging countries such as China and India, consumers have bypassed land-line technology altogether, favoring ultracheap (almost disposable) "pop" phones.
It gets cooler: The same networks you use to talk and send text messages will eventually handle movies and videoconferences. TVs and CD players can be hooked up to wireless networks, transforming the way people get their entertainment. Soon you'll be able to use your cellphone to call your wireless-enabled fridge to see if you need to buy more milk.Entrepreneurs, engineers, and investors all are looking for ways to ride the next wireless revolution. |
Om Malik writes'"I have often said that the axis of technology world has shifted to somewhere in South China Sea. Earlier, this week, a survey of technology company executives and institutional investors who attended RBC Capital Markets North American Technology Conference in Half Moon Bay, California came to the same conclusion. Of the 240 companies in attendance, majority identified Asia as the best region for technology growth over the next 12 months, followed by North America and Europe". Om Malik is known for predicting technology trends ahead of most other analysts. |
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