Speaking at – Global Internet of Things conference – Beijing – China Nov 23 to 25 – 2010

I am speaking in Beijing for the first time as an invited expert for the Global Internet of Things conference – Beijing in China. I have been also recommending this conference to companies I know since its a unique opportunity to see a showcase of the best Chinese companies in this space.

I have always been interested in Smart cities, Smart Grid and the wider impact of the Internet of Things. See this post from O Reilly which shows how relevant ‘Smart/Connected’ manufacturing will be in the near future for Global competitiveness in the near future – The manufacturing future Can the United States become more competitive as a maker of things?. So, I am hoping to share and learn a lot here. If you want to attend this event, please email me at ajit.jaokar at futuretext.co and I shall be happy to introduce you to the organizers.

Some more information as below:

Hosted by China Council For The Promotion Of International Trade, GIOTC & CIOTE is the highest governmental and national level conference and exhibition of its kind in the field of internet of things in China by now. The conference is mainly open to the leaders in the related government departments, experts and scholar, associations and enterprises. Topics at GIOTC will range from policies, techniques and application, investment to talent exchange. CIOTE over the same period will provide a platform of meeting, presentation, communication and cooperation to the manufactures, suppliers, distributors, application services in the whole internet of things chain. The related government department, associations, enterprises, researchers, investors, top persons and talents in financial and other fields will come to attend this great event.

Press release picture below:

Mobile web Africa 2010 – Sep 28 – Oct 01 2010 Johannesburg

I have known @Matthew Dawes (linkedin Matthew Dawes) since his days at Osney media from where he set off to create the first large scale conference on Mobile in Africa ..

And its great to see how far his event Mobile Web Africa has come along. I have long been a fan of the Mobile Web and mobile commerce for Africa – see this 2005 post
The mobile Internet will do more for Africa than live 8!

So, its nice to see this! Matthew has invited me to speak at Mobile Web Africa before but my schedule prevents that – but I very much look forward to it some day!

Matthew sends us the below:

Following the hugely successful, sell out inaugural event in 2009 Mobile Web in Africa returns to Johannesburg in the last week of September 2010. Regarded as Africa’s most progressive and interactive solely mobile focused event, MWA 2010, has again all the hallmarks of a fantastic event. Held at the 5 star Hyatt Regency in Johannesburg the conference will again utilise the acclaimed Interactive Roundtable Seating Format, which creates superb levels of interaction, discussions and enhances attendees’ on the day experience and conference outputs.

The 2010 event has been expanded to incorporate not only a 2 day main conference but also a special focus day titled: Beyond The Buzz – The Practical Realities of Monetising and Utilising Mobile Social Media, as well as a half day workshop which is to be delivered by internationally respected expert Dr Marc Smith from the Connected Action Group. Other key contributors include: Antonie Roux (Naspers Group), Jon von Tetzchner (Opera Software), Russell Buckley (AdMob), Ken Banks (kiwanja.net), Stephen Newton (InMobi Africa) and Evert Jaap Lugt (Nimbuzz).

For more information, including the latest news and updates, visit mobilewebafrica or please feel free to send an email to [email protected]

Ticket subsidies available for mobile start-ups and developers.

Carnival of the mobilists no 232 at Little Springs Design blog ..

Carnival of the mobilists no 232 at Little Springs Design blog Barbara does a great job as usual

Vodafone mobile clicks competition announced ..

Our friend Rudy De Waele informs us of the latest Vodafone Mobile Clicks competition. I was to be a judge for this event but could not make it but ofcourse we support this initiative very much.

In a nutshell:
Vodafone today announced the launch of Vodafone Mobile Clicks 2010, a competition to identify and develop the best, most innovative mobile internet start-ups. Vodafone Mobile Clicks 2010 will run across three European markets – Netherlands, Portugal and UK.

The contest is open to any start-up with a great idea for a mobile site, service or application and entrants can compete for the €150,000 prize fund (€100,000 for 1st place and €50,000 to the runner-up) by submitting entries to www.vodafonemobileclicks.com. The competition is open now, and the closing date for entries is midnight, August 22nd, 2010.

Each entry will be judged on five criteria: originality, creativity and innovation; technical and operational feasibility; economic and financial viability; value to end-users; and finally, on the quality of the management team.

See more at Rudy’s blog m-trends

I am ranked 213 / 1000 globally by influence among the top analysts using twitter

I am ranked 213 / 1000 globally by influence among the top analysts using twitter

(the list is compiled by Jonny Bentwood on his blog Technobabble. Jonny Bentwood is Director – Analyst relations at Edelman

Since the list also includes forrester/gartner etc etc .. this is very good :) more so because in my case, Twitter is not my primary mode of engagement (this blog is).

A lot of work went behind this post and many thanks to Jonny for this. I think this list shows people who are influential, who contribute original content and engage and this is a very good list of influencers worldwide and its across the board for IT and convergence

Some very heavy hitting names here but also many who I have never heard of before which is very nice to learn from

So, its a great resource.

Analysis: HipLogic – Carphone Warehouse content partnership

I am posting this blog as an opportunity to create a discussion around the positioning of appstores.

I spent a lot of time writing this blog and I am interested in feedback to my analysis here which is in a nutshell: In my view, appstores do not provide differentiation in themselves and hence the hiplogic strategy of appstore + apps + social networks + CRM may have some merit but with some caveats

Background

For some time now, I have been involved in strategically understanding the Appstore phenomenon. For example, I project managed the initial gap analysis of what was then OMTP BONDI and which is today incorporated into WAC

Leaving aside all the hype around appstores, you could view appstores from three perspectives:

Providers: Appstores convert a service/product into a platform.

Customers: Appstores allow the customer the opportunity to avail Long Tail services

Developers: Appstores allow the developer the opportunity to market their service at a relatively low cost to a niche audience. In other words, appstores match niche audiences to niche services.

Two other perspectives also come into play:

a) The commonly asked question is: Customers have access to more than one appstores. Which appstore will customers use? Typically, only providers ask this question. It is the wrong question since the customer does not care for appstores and nor do they ask this question, but rather she is concerned about specific apps. Appstores are an abstraction which suit the provider but are merely an avenue for the customer to access apps

b) Secondly, some of the appstores today are recreations of older services like ODPs (on device portals) which never managed to gain much traction. To be truly different, they need to overcome the limitations of the old ODP platforms

With that background, the HipLogic – Carphone warehouse announcement says that:

HipLogic Partners with The Carphone Warehouse on Distribution of Connected Interface for Real-Time Content

To break it down into it’s components:

• HipLogic Live is a free application that connects people to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, media content from providers such as Sky News and Sports, and also offers an App store with access to thousands of game titles and additional real-time content.

• Carphone Warehouse (CPW)will now offer HipLogic Live on many of the most popular mobile phones sold via retail stores and online via www.carphonewarehouse.com

• HipLogic Live has other features such as real-time home screen notifications.

• Mark Anderson, CEO of HipLogic. “HipLogic is like getting an extreme makeover for their phone interface.”

• HipLogic is pre-installed on popular handsets to help mobile users discover better media and social networking content that is streamed directly to a real-time phonetop.

• The application also serves as an affinity tool to better manage and build customer relationships for The Carphone Warehouse, a key turning point for the retailer to keep in touch and maintain brand connection with its customers.

Discussion

• The core HipLogic application is a classic ‘phone top’ + content + appstore – which brings the look and feel of an iPhone interface to smart phones. It can be pre-loaded or downloaded and comes with a collection of apps , an “iphone” style app grid plus a phone top that streams news stories and social feeds.

• The HipLogic application platform is a lightweight virtual machine connected to the cloud which enables on the fly updating. Others like Borqs(from China) are also in this space.

• Hiplogic supports mainly Nokia and Windows Mobile devices for instance Nokia 5530, E71, E72, 5800 , Sony Ericsson, Satio etc

• The application can be pre installed before the device comes to the store

• CPW appears to be promoting it in store(see visual)

• The HipLogic application is carrier agnostic i.e. all carries can deploy it

• ODPs have trodden this path before with limited success but Hiplogic claims that it is more efficient since it is not based on Java. Their solution is built on a new multi-tasking platform that starts at phone start and is “always-on” eliminating the discovery problems of former ODP’s. They also produce phonetop widgets that are content rich, like football scoreboards in addition to the full rich apps. They use a Javascript/Ajax engine because they believe that these technologies are built for the web and allow us to efficiently manage multiple content feeds and display them as mash-ups on the phone. Also, HipLogic believe that developers can build apps much quicker in Javascript than harder coding languages like “C”.

• The content is acquired from partners are Sky News/Sports, Astrology.com, The Times and MTV UK etc. The App Store that has free and paid content available from a catalog of 18K titles

• HipLogic gets revenue share for paid apps purchased via the app store and also a share of the advertising for the small banners in the media apps.

• EA Games are the top premium apps and Twitter, Facebook and Sky are most used.

Analysis

• The application is accessed from the home screen. The Home Screen lights up at phone start and you can toggle back and forth between it and the native home screen by pressing the Red or End Call Key on the phone. This is interesting. I wonder how the Operator and the handset vendor view this i.e. the ‘native’ home screen was probably influenced by either the Operator or the handset vendor

• I asked where do the 18K titles come from? These are mostly from getjar and other similar providers. In my view, that does not help with differentiation since the same (getjar/handmark etc) apps are on other platforms. Also, the most downloaded applications can be obtained independently(for example Facebook app can be downloaded from facebook itself)

• Today, the hottest platform is Android and as techcrunch reports,

HipLogic Brings Customizable Real-time Interface To Android but the Android UI interface market but the Android marketplace has its own unique elements. For starters, Google risks OEM wrath with unified Android UI plan. Then there are different players like Samsung(BaDa), HTC(HTC sense) and motorola(motoblur) who are already in this space

Conclusions

1) In my view, appstores do not provide differentiation in themselves and hence the hiplogic strategy of appstore + apps + social networks + CRM may have some merit but with some caveats

2) I am unclear if any HipLogic applications be removed – ex I don’t want the astrology app, can it be removed?

3) I am unclear how other providers see this(ex Operators and handset vendors)

4) I know that appstores are a sexy topic now but I believe that it is much better to position such services like CRM/ affinity tool in addition to the appstore itself and finally,

5) Finally, In my view, HipLogic needs to move faster since this space is getting more competitive as I have indicated before especially on the Android market

Comments welcome

ZZ top Sharp dressed man video now on YouTube ..

Good news for ZZ Top fans :)

ZZ top Sharp dressed man video now on YouTube .. as below ..

One of my best in classic ZZ tradition!

Back in London but doing a course on arduino

I am back in London but doing a course on arduino

The engineer in me loves the ability to hack hardware and software.
If you are interested in this arduino, please comment below or contact me on ajit.jaokar at futuretext.com

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators. The microcontroller on the board is programmed using the Arduino programming language (based on Wiring) and the Arduino development environment (based on Processing). Arduino projects can be stand-alone or they can communicate with software on running on a computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP).

The boards can be built by hand or purchased preassembled; the software can be downloaded for free. The hardware reference designs (CAD files) are available under an open-source license, you are free to adapt them to your needs.

Arduino received an Honorary Mention in the Digital Communities section of the 2006 Ars Electronica Prix. The Arduino team is: Massimo Banzi, David Cuartielles, Tom Igoe, Gianluca Martino, and David Mellis.

India’s first browser Epic launches on Mozilla

From the Epic FAQ

Epic Browser opens the web pages at lightening speed. Epic’s built is based on Mozilla platform and open source software technology. The main feature of Epic is its Sidebar. It has got many apps/widgets in it. In Epic the user can simultaneously access the apps in the Sidebar while browsing his favorite sites.
With the help of Epic, the user can browse the files in My Computer, listen to the Latest Soundtracks, check the News updates, Live Cricket Scores, search for Jobs, Type in any Indic Languages, change the Themes and Wallpapers and more. The main features of Epic are: Maximum Security, Malicious Website Warnings, Anti-Publishing Protection, Fast Browsing and Downloads and many more.

Sounds interesting ..

Person to person video calling: Skype, Fring, Apple and YouTube ..

There is an interesting little conversation going on ..

Fring claims it was blocked by Skype

Skype clarifies that Fring removed the Skype functionality on its own accord and that Fring’s mis-use of Skype software was damaging to their brand and reputation – for instance when Fring’s video calling functionality stressed network capability

On first instance, it sounds like a classic ‘Open’ vs. ‘Blocked’ case ..

Also, the comments on the Skype blog appear to be frustrated because of the delay in the universal availability of Skype video calling

But let us look at a wider picture encompassing Skype Fring but also Apple and YouTube

Before I give my views, a caveat that Chetan Sharma and I have authored a white paper on Mobile VOIP and independently, I have been tracking IP and networks on Telecoms for a long time.

I said some time ago that some applications like Mobile multimedia twitter would need some form of optimization by the network

In a nutshell, Video is about experience, more so – person to person video calling.

It is one of the few applications that need network based QOS. While FaceTime has been revolutionizing and legitimizing the person to person video calling functionality, even Apple will stick to WiFi alone for FaceTime and with good reason .. Because person to person video calling will truly stress the network unless you work closely with the Operators (as Fring found themselves recently)

And no one can fault Apple for ignoring the customer experience!

Take yet another example ..

Why do you think that Google, the perceived paragon for Openness, still prefers flash over HTML5 for YouTube ?

As they say in considerable detail on their blog there’s a lot more to it than just retrieving and displaying a video

So, it is good that FaceTime creates the customer demand for person to person video calling and that customers want
Skype based person to person video calling .. But the QOS depends on working with the Operators and not against them.

The alternative is: The customer experience will suffer and we will lose the current industry momentum for person to person video calling

And that cannot be a good thing!