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A differentiated wearable strategy

Collage by New York Times

In CES 2014, people found wearables to be a new hot trend. Many companies including biggies like Apple, Google and several other startups want to fit sensors on various parts of the human body and collect data. I have recently read about the t-shirt that can tell an athelete about her willpower or the bra (seemingly in development by Microsoft) that senses emotional triggers for overeating.

Convergence Explained - With Practical Examples

If we search for the meaning of the word Convergence using Wikipedia, we get pretty serious stuff like

Convergence can refer to previously separate technologies such as voice (and telephony features), data (and productivity applications) and video that now share resources and interact with each other, synergistically creating new efficiencies.

Sometimes formal definitions have the potential to send us in a tailspin. Here is my attempt to explain convergence with practical examples. We can write a whole book on convergence. The examples here are indicative and fundamental (not exhaustive).

The Future Of Personal Computers

In an earlier post, we asked a question. "If cloud computing is about feeding computing capability to where you are, why do we still need personal computers to use cloud computing?". Sounds like double investment.. right?

Yes. It is true that we are in a transition phase to the new technology of cloud computing. There are devices available in the market today that allow us to use cloud services at a more affordable price point. We saw in a earlier post that cloud computing is a two way interactive process. So the new device should have a display surface and ways of sending input to the cloud software.

Service Level Assurance

Let us start this subject with an example.

The easiest service level example is in Pizza delivery. When we order a Pizza over phone, we like that Pizza to be delivered home within predictable time and still hot from the oven. The service qualities that are important to us are:

  • the taste and flavor of the Pizza

  • how long we need to wait before it gets to us (lead time)

  • how predictable is the service provider on lead time, and

Lego Blocks Of A Business Application

We are continuing on our discussion from an earlier post that different businesses of the same type do have a strong need to strategize on providing differentiated customer experience and/or continuously optimizing their operating cost. If all business logic is built into one shared monolithic business application, such a model does not yield to differentiation. Let us see this with an example.

A famous doctor wants to set up a private clinic. He/she chooses a location in the city, buys real estate and constructs a clinic with facilities that are modern at that time. The doctor employs his or her own trained maintenance, nursing and operating staff. The doctor sets up an in premise clinical lab. The doctor also decides to run his/her own ambulance service. We see a (monolithic) self contained clinic.

Public Cloud - Sharing and Data Protection

In the previous post, we saw the challenges associated with public cloud computing infrastructure. How are some of  those challenges addressed? Let us first take the most serious issue of protecting the business data from the eyes of competition while trying to share the computing applications.

In real life, some of us live in apartment complexes. The management of such apartment complexes construct almost similar looking stacked living spaces (apartment) in the same premise.

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Leveraging The Commality Between Businesses

We saw the level of optimization that one book store chain can accomplish by setting up a private cloud for their applications. Come to think of it.. different book store chains will need the same Order Management, Supply Chain, Inventory Management and Sales support applications. At least some parts of the applications will have to be the same. It is obvious to see that these common applications for one industry segment can be set up in one place and shared. More possibilities for further optimization! Is there a straight road to that destination?

Even if all book store chains want to collaborate like that to reduce their capital investments, technology refresh (replacing obselete hardware and software) and operational costs there are several barriers that need to be crossed.

Cloud Applications For Business Use

So far we talked about cloud services consumed by individuals. How about people who run businesses? They obviously need a lot of computing to be competitive in today's fast paced world. How does cloud help them?

Let us take a book store for example. Today's brick and mortar bookstores are humongous in size. They are usually organized into a chain of stores. When we step in to a bookstore looking for a book, and don't have the time to browse around, we normally go to an information kiosk and ask for help.

Understanding The Cloud Jargons

We will continue with Gmail as our example. This is a mail software that we consume as a service. The jargon that the techie guys use to represent such a thing is SaaS (Software As A Service - usually pronounced as if it is a single word 'SaaS'). So Gmail is SaaS.

Whenever we use SaaS, all of us use a unique path in the internet to invoke the software. In the case of Gmail the unique path is We all know it. Irrespective of your current location in the world this path is the same. Even if you use different kinds of devices (iPad, iPhone, your other smartphone, laptop, internet kiosk, your desktop pc, your hotel TV screen or an Apple Mac) to access the internet, this path is the same.

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If You Have To Set Up a Cloud Computer, What Will You Consider?

We talked earlier about mail providers like Gmail. Let us take that as an example because most of us are familiar with Gmail. We know that millions of people around any country use Gmail service today. They all access the application that runs on a computer inside the cloud. During a typical day, it is easy to imagine lean periods of Gmail usage where only a handful of people are consuming Gmail services. It is equally easy to imagine a time of the day where hundreds of thousands of people (peak periods) could be simultaneously checking e-mail.