Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ceding (Seeding?) Change -Aug 27, 2009

By Martin Wilde
Consider, if you will, a situation wherein you have a new product you want to bring to the market. However, being an ideas guy, you don’t have the resources or know-how to actually build the thing, so you have to find someone else to build it for you. You make the effort to put together an RFP laying out all the details and requirements of how you want the product to look, feel and behave. You solicit several reputable firms who have the demonstrated capacity to build such a thing, and wait for their responses.
“Sure, we can build that for you,” says device manufacturer #1. “Only we can’t meet X, Y and Z requirements, and it will take two years to build. Deal?” What!?!? Two years? That’s an eternity in technology. And you can’t even build what I want? Forget it! On to the next supplier.
“Yeah, those #1 guys are blowing smoke,” says device manufacturer #2. “We can build it for you in 18 months, guaranteed! But is there any way you can relax requirements A, B, J and Q?
We don’t think that stuff’s very important, and our research says people don’t want that anyway.”
Now wait just a cotton-picking minute. Your time to market is shorter, granted, but not that much. That’s still a VERY long time in technology cycles. Besides, I’m the customer! I know what I want, or I wouldn’t have asked you to build it that way. I couldn’t care less what you think. I just want to get this thing into the market before the competition catches up to me.

Same goes for suppliers #3 and so on. They’re either not able to meet the timetable, have competing projects for the right technical expertise, or try to redirect what you want. So no option yields the solution you really were looking for. What do you do now?

This is not unlike the situation that many companies trying to bring new innovative solutions to market find themselves in. For example many operators find themselves in when trying to bring new experiences to the marketplace. The speed of innovation is determined by the suppliers capacity on both the software and hardware levels. But what if the operators could supply their own software platform, that crucial part of the experience they want to deliver, and then work with the various ODM vendors just on hardware implementation alone? Suddenly the control would shift to the software platform supplier which in this example would be the operators. Time to market would, potentially, be greatly reduced, with customized experiences and multiple handsets available to lead the way.
This idea is utopia to some, refreshing to others, and downright scary to those invested in the status quo. However, this scenario appears close to the reality of how the mobile market is shapping up today. But to the larger question, does this benefit the consumer, our ultimate measure of success? Are we simply replacing one bottle neck with another? And will this ultimately lead to higher levels of innovation ?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Everything under control? 2009-08-13

By Robert Kempf
Yesterday I was reading a newspaper featuring an article on ChromeOS and its focus on cloud services – central information storage, accessible from everywhere, removing the need to have huge storage capabilities in your device, no need to store the same content on different devices, no synchronisation problems anymore, … We heard these arguments many times during the last 2 years and everyone appreciates that the cloud could make personal information management simpler than ever before. Looking out there it appears that a growing number of people trust cloud services and are not heisting to put their most private data out there.

However many still do not feeling uncomfortable with having all private content stored in a central place. It is not very clear what the data hosting party is allowed to do with our contents – whether these are securely stored only and won’t be exploited for research, personalized marketing or even other purpose we don’t even want to think of. I personally like the cloud idea, but would never use such a central storage for all my data. So where are the rules the hosting parties need to subscribe to? I haven’t seen them yet.
Interestingly enough there was another article on eBooks and users wondering that from one day to another an Ebook vanished from their devices without being notified – it was George Orwell’s “1984”. Did someone fear that people might read this book and create a dotted line to the cloud?
One might think of that, but the reason was simple – licensing issues ;-)
But still, we the users should know what’s going on on our devices and with our data and if anyone modifies or deletes our data we should be informed about that upfront.
For cloud services to reach their full potential and to reach a truly global audience this is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

So do we have everything under control still, or are others taking control?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On the Road with GPS - 2009-08-04

By Magnus Ingelsten
Not until driving a car a long way do you realise what needs you may have for connecting with the outside world and access to multimedia content in order not to get bored to death or feel too isolated.
Yesterday I was driving from south of Sweden to the woods of Värmland (a Swedish midland county). So I drove a 1,000 kilometres. (And I got a terrible toothache due to an unreasonable amount of chewed chocolate, but that is another story.) Although, I had recently bought a TomTom XL, which have quite limited functionality despite it´s great navigation features so it couldn´t really suppress long hours of dull driving through an otherwise beautiful Swedish summer day. I know there are more expensive devices with some multimedia functionality such as MP3, jpg viewing, etc. And also I have my phone on the side.
After having gone through all TomTom features, the settings, speed camera warnings, points of interest, and selected different voices and symbols (now listening to Astrid and using a symbol looking like a Ferrari Spyder), I got insanely bored. (Yes I know. I Shouldn´t fiddle with the navigation while driving).
So, how about if my GPS in front could update me with selected news, reports, results, funny stories, e-book chapters, magazine articles etc, and Astrid would read them to me (as I probably shoudn´t read them on the screen when driving!) If this was a service on the internet I could subscribe and tick the wanted boxes and then when driving, I say to the GPS device (voice operated): “Read my media”. Then Astrid would respond: “Yes master, what would you like to hear?” If I said “Read Book” Astrid would continue to read “Stieg Larsons Millennium trilogy to me” or if I said (when bored) “Read Jokes” . And of course the GPS would use Bluetooth to access the service via my mobile which is in my pocket. This is what we call an E2E service. Hrrmm, maybe something we could develop at Teleca for somebody … Oops I shouldn´t perhaps have tipped everybody else off here...