2nd FOKUS Media Web Symposium – Gathering world’s media and web trend setters

I have attended/spoken the FOKUS events at Fraunhofer and we have another event forthcoming soon. Last year’s event was great and I expect this year will be no different I expect.

The venue is now bigger and in the heart of Berlin and link is 2nd FOKUS Media Web Symposium

As per their their media release:

Future media and mobile web experts, technology vendors and content providers meet in Berlin to spot and set trends as well as draw the roadmap of Mobile Applications, SmartTV and Social Media development.

It goes without saying that the bulk of services in today’s mass market as well as the markets of the future will be based on web technologies. Contents and services are being delivered to PCs, game consoles, TVs, smartphones and tablets without specific adaptation.

At the 2nd Fraunhofer FOKUS Media Web Symposium, to be held at November 10-11 2011 in Berlin, we will discuss which technical gaps and barriers have to be cleared to distribute optimized versions for a multitude of end devices.

In the morning sessions of the first day we will have two parallel tutorials addressing IPTV, HybridTV, WebTV, and Application development for three screens. The afternoon offers two parallel workshops with sessions on SmartTV, adaptive streaming, Mobile and Media Cloud, HTML5, native apps and cross platform apps.

Day two of MWS 2011 forms the backbone of the event. Six sessions are meant to provide insights to project managers and executive personnel from the media and content industry on topics concerning web integration in consumer electronics, social media evolution, multi-device apps and new media business models. On top of that, participants will have the chance to discuss technical challenges and opportunities of interactive content integration on multiple platforms and devices.

“We will receive 200 experts from all over the world and we would be pleased to have you with us for the two days. We are looking forward seeing you in Berlin!”

Dr. Stephan Steglich & Dr. Stefan Arbanowski

2nd FOKUS Media Web Symposium, Nov 10-11, 2011

Agenda available @ http://goo.gl/J3NOL

Register @ http://goo.gl/9AmcV

Info about last year’s event @ http://goo.gl/9QbwP

Google takes a stand against the anonymous – by Nick Allott

Original post Google takes a stand against the anonymous – by Nick Allott

Google are taking a strong stand against those who like to be anonymous.(http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20082874-93/google-vp-why-google-requires-real-names/)

Not the hacking group Anonymous, of course, but the somewhat larger set of people who still cling to the illusion of privacy.

I can’t quite work out whether this is sound business sense, naivite, of full blown stupidity. It is certainly out of touch with social networking trends.

Juvenile Psueds

I confess, much to frustration of my real world friends, I have not really entered into the spirit social networking. I think I’ve made 3 tweets so far, and on more than one occasion I have been berated for taking over 6 months to respond to a facebook message. Fortunately, however, two of my children are teenagers. Observing their online behaviours gives my far better insight into genuine trends, than middle age geek introspection.

Facebook, for my elder children, is of course is the dominant form of communication.  But here’s the interesting thing. if you look at my children online contacts, less than 40% of them user their own name.

They have all embraced Psuedonymity. Apparently the current vogue is name mashups. You may keep your first name, but you often take the second or middle name of a friend.

Your friends know who you are – of course they do – they’re your friends. But a casual browser, would find it reasonably difficult to tie your facebook account to your real identity.

When you think about it, this is quite a beautiful thing. The collective is adapting. Its adapting to protect itself – its protecting itself from invasion of privacy yes. But I think there is something else at work here, at some level, even it its subliminal, there is a recognition that there is a financial element to this also.

What is Anonymity worth

The “information disruption” does not stop at names mashups. Ages and Marital status are also falsely reported. Children are getting married and divorced all the time. Marital status has become a form of “friend presence”; it is a way of marking up a special relationship. But of course they’re not children, to facebook. They may be 12 one week 35 the next. Getting married, being in a lesbian relationship with you BFF, is really just a bit of laugh.

But this is all hilarious. What is it doing to the “advertising Algorithms”? Do my children really need the services of a divorce lawyer? Would the divorce lawyer be spending his money on advertising be pleased that their very expensive “demographically targeted adverts”, are hitting 12 year old school children?

This is what its all about in the end – Money. Google and Facebook are in the information business. They sell your information (with consent….?), via advertising. If the information is corrupt, their handling damaged goods. And when the buyers of these goods work this out, the price drops…………dramatically.

Translation: lying about your identity, age, marital status – or otherwise pissing about with your information costs Facebook and Google money!!

A Prediction: Private Browsers are coming

Here’s what I think: very soon the world of browsing will change. The current handling of private information on the web is not sustainable.

There are a lot of pressures at work here

  • Legislation: the “do not track” meme is in the ascendancy. These things take time US: http://donottrack.us/EU: http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/security-management/2011/06/22/eu-warns-web-firms-over-do-not-track-timescale-40093187/. But there is implied recognition here that the consent model for data is not working
  • Behaviours: as you can see above people are changing the way they use social networks. I think this is just the thin end of the wedge. The technology is taking time, the laws always time- but there is an immediate  need to protect privacy, so we change the way we use the system. And I suspect at some level people take a mischievous pleasure in devaluing the amount of money an advertising company can make off their back.
  • Technology: finally, I think a new wave of browsers are on the way. The final and most extreme trend, is the emergence of new browsing models where data is truly owned by the user. In webinos we are experimenting with some of these ideas, but this is not an isolated trend.
I think Google needs to wake up and wake up fast. Quotes like this
But he explained that the requirement to use real names is an attempt to set a positive tone, “like when a restaurant doesn’t allow people who aren’t wearing shirts to enter.”Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20082874-93/google-vp-why-google-requires-real-names/#ixzz1TEsJtoE4

Demonstrates a a fundamental misunderstanding. People aren’t changing their name as a sign of “disrespect” to the social networking entity. The social network itself is still functioning. My friends still know who I am not matter what my name, and when I change my age its a joke, because my real friends have the context of reality, through which to interpret the information. What is emerging is a new private language is evolving to stop the corporate listening in and making money off the chatter.

Watch this space. I’m sure they will be some backtracking –  a bit of face saving on he inevitable backlash, against these naive statements.

But we must recognise that there is a financial imperative here – a driver that will nor change. The motives of Google and the like are clear: the quality of your data effects their advertiser income, they want you to keep it clean for them.

Things have to change.

If the services dont adapt, the browsers, behaviours and legislation will.

If the servers don’t treat our data with respect, the browsers will stop releasing it.

One day soon, if things don’t change, we will all want to be anonymous.

A row of electric buttons – Google is not making us stupid it is making us like Henry Ford ..





My latest book is about the mind, meditation and its implications for human evolution..  Hence the findings that Google Is Ruining Your Memory to be interesting ..

A recent study suggests that even if you may have a little deficit in your memory with age, the internet is speeding up the process. Not because it’s damaging your memory, but because you’re simply using the internet as a crutch. The information is at your fingertips, so you don’t have to remember.

In my view, this ‘study’ follows a long line of similar work that states the obvious.

Others who have engaged in this scaremongering include the likes of  Nicolas Carr ( who seems to have made a career out of Internet bashing and Google bashing ..)  and the  neuroscientist Susan Greenfield who claims that social sites such as Facebook are causing alarming changes in the brains of little children.

But I believe that instead of making us less intelligent, the Internet is making us more intelligent by being selective .. and the model for that type of intelligence is Henry Ford

The findings of this study made me remember a section in Napolean Hill’s classic – Think and Grow Rich in which he describes how lawyers for a Chicago newspaper attempted to prove that Henry Ford was ‘ignorant’.

The attorneys asked Mr. Ford a great variety of questions, all of them intended to prove, by his own evidence, that, while, he might possess considerable specialized knowledge pertaining to the manufacture of automobiles, he was, in the main, ignorant.

Mr. Ford was plied with such questions as the following: “Who was Benedict Arnold?” and “How many soldiers did the British send over to America to put down the Rebellion of 1776?” In answer to the last question, Mr. Ford replied, “I do not know the exact number of the soldiers the British sent over, but I have heard that it was a considerably larger number than ever went back.”

Finally, Mr. Ford became tired of this line of questioning, and in reply to a particularly offensive question, he leaned over, pointed his finger at the lawyer who had asked the question, and said, “If I should really want to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer any question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts.

… Any man is educated who knows where to get knowledge when he needs it, and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action.

There is a lot to be said for this response from Henry Ford and it indicates an optimistic evolution path for humanity!

That row of buttons is now Google and you don’t to be as rich as Henry Ford to have access to them at your fingertips. Thanks to the Web and the Internet, Information is now democratised ..

JK Rowling on failure – very inspirational ..

Very inspiring ..

Seven years after graduating from university, Rowling saw herself as “the biggest failure I knew.”[42] Her marriage had failed, she was jobless with a dependent child, but she described her failure as liberating:

Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. – J. K. Rowling, Harvard commencement address, 2008.[42]

source – wikipedia

Book review – Internet of Things – Global Technological and Societal Trends Smart Environments and Spaces to Green


Book review: Internet of Things – Global Technological and Societal Trends Smart Environments and Spaces to Green ICT by Ovidiu Vermesan and Peter Friess

I have an interest in the Internet of things both from a business perspective but also from a PhD / research perspective. I have covered IOT before for ex How would the Internet of things look like if it were driven by NFC (vs RFID). Hence, I was interested in the book and the publishers kindly sent me a complimentary copy for review.

At around 95 euros, the book is clearly a reference book and I asked about the pricing / positioning of the book. The book is a collection of papers specifically written for the publication by various experts. In that sense, the papers are not available elsewhere (for example on Google Scholar) as I understand it. The editors, who are clearly well known in this space, have thus created a collection of papers on IOT with a specific perspective.

So, with that in mind, here are my comments

The book is a collection of papers each focussed on specific themes:

Chapters 1, 2 and 3 – focus on the IOT vision in Europe. IOT in Europe has a lot of visibility at the European commission and FP projects and EU documents are often complex and hard to read. Hence, these three chapters provide a good view of EU priorities, themes and research clusters

Chapter 4 is from Dr Alessandro Bassi of the iot-A project. This project is an ambitious attempt to create a reference architecture for IOT but the chapter itself is quite high level

Chapter 5 is from a good friend Rob van Kranenburg and as usual Rob takes a visionary, socio economic perspective of IOT and does a good job

Chapter 6 is from Prof Ken Sakamura who is one of the best known experts in this space. He provides a Japanese/ uiD perspective

Chapter 7 governs technologies, applications and governance in the Internet of things. This chapter covers technologies in detail but it is also written by Chinese authors. This makes it even more interesting for me since IOT has a lot of emphasis in China.

Chapter 8 discusses IOT from a perspective of mobile. This could be a whole book! But the chapter is very interesting albeit limited by the structure of one chapter.

Chapter 9. Opportunities and challenges for IOT technologies is a long chapter about technologies and future challenges like security, privacy etc. Again, this could be a whole book!

Chapter 10 is about IOT and network virtualization written by authors from ETRI in Korea, ETRI does some very cutting edge work so it is insightful

Chapter 11 is about interoperability, standardization and governance about IOT and chapter 12 is about Ipv6, IOT and M2M

My analysis:

This book is an excellent reference book and its core strength lies in providing a ‘on ramp’ for IOT and in multiple perspectives. IOT is complex and will develop differently in various geographies (for example China and EU). Each topic can be explored in detail but its nice to have a quick starting point for sectors(anyone who has seen IOT FP7 projects will agree that there is often too much documentation – rather than too little!)

Thus, there is a lot of value which the book brings

My only suggestion would be that perhaps that the editors could have provided greater editorial across the papers – ex their view on China, Japan etc. Since each of the authors are also well respected, readers get value from the specific chapters but maybe there could be more across the chapters.

Also, I could not find any emphasis on ‘Green ICT’ although the title suggests that. In any case, if you have a commercial/ research interest in this space, I would recommend it.

The publishers link is: River publishers – Internet of Things – Global Technological and Societal Trends Smart Environments and Spaces to Green ICT

Must read – Open Source – Sustainable Development by Nick Allott

Nick Allott writes a great blog (and it’s very long but well worth a read) on his blog about Open Source sustainable development

A synopsis is:

New software technology, whether PC or mobile, is now dominated by open source. Android, Chrome, Symbian , Webkit, Apache, Eclipse, Meego, Linux, Limo, Ubuntu, Mozilla, QT, Phonegap collectively and individually are powerful forces that determine not only the future directions of technology, but by implication the future successes of companies involved in any of the industries touched by these projects.

This article has a singular purpose: to explore what the shape and structure of a successful open source project looks like. And by success I mean not only, where is it today, but are the incentives there to sustain interest and development in the platform. For every open source success, there are many stagnating in a source code repository graveyard

In the context of webinos, the project I am currently working on, this is relevant for two reasons

1. We need to build on top of other open source operating systems. When we make the selection of which platforms to prioritise, we need to be aware of the risks and benefits of different open source project configurations
2. Webinos will itself be and open source project. When we construct the mechanics of its operations, we want to do so based upon best practice.

The reality of open source projects is that they require significant investment: hundreds of thousands of man hours in many cases. And this investment is in most cases corporately sponsored. Corporates require a return on investment; whether you can see it or not the company investing effort into a collaborative initiative such as an open source project is doing so for financial gain. Moreover, corporates are “compelled” to compete; shareholders expect returns above the market norm.

These considerations are essential if we are to build a sustainable healthy, open source community.

A successful, sustainable open source community requires that multiple competing companies must continue to invest, on and ideally equal basis, into the collaborative activity.

In this article, therefore I am going to cover several points.

1. Go over some of the theoretical background on and why companies do (and don’t) invest in open source, and also look at the principle dimensions of how they are legally constructed
2. Business models: an effective collaborations of corporates, more so than individuals, requires that all parties are comfortable with each others motivations. Why am I engaged? Why are you engaged?
3. Finally, Ill look at some evaluation metrics – can we establish the parameters by which we can evaluate the probable sustainability of an open source project. And to validate this look at how different platforms measure up.


The full post at: Open Source – Sustainable Development

Voicemail hacking and the ‘phone hacking’ scandal – by David Rogers

David Rogers is a friend and a very clued on security person. He has an excellent, long blog on the voicemail hacking saga. David will be contributing regularly to the OpenGardens blog soon

A synopsis:
Voicemail hacking and the ‘phone hacking’ scandal – how it worked, questions to be asked and improvements to be made

In brief, there are three main mechanisms for illicitly accessing voicemail: firstly social engineering the call centre to reset or change the PIN for you as precursor to one of the following 1) call the remote voicemail number and access it using the default (or acquired PIN), 2) ringing the actual phone, going into the voicemail menu by pressing the * key or 3) using an advanced mechanism to fool the phone into opening up the voicemail. There are some loopholes still existing and as technology evolves new ones will emerge.

This is not ‘phone hacking’. It is illicit or illegal access to voicemail.

The mobile operators are coming under some pressure from the Home Affairs Select Committee, led by Keith Vaz. Both the Police and network operators will have responsibilities in terms of their actions over the affair, although the operators took the Police lead on what to do. It is unlikely that the full list of victims will ever emerge as the data has likely been deleted after all this time.

More at ..

Voicemail hacking and the ‘phone hacking’ scandal – how it worked, questions to be asked and improvements to be made