The evolution of Web standards and implication for innovation










I am at SIIT Berlin and will try and post a few blogs on this theme.

Recently the evolution of Web standards and their implication for innovation is becoming an important discussion point

Here’s why:

1)    Web standards are evolving to HTML5. Here, the standardization process becomes more complex – for example the need to handle multiple devices such as mobile devices, management of IPR and the interplay between Open source and Open standards.

2)    The Cloud now has a key role to play and that role also impacts all standards including Web standards

3)    New organizations like Open Web Foundation also address web standardization in addition to W3C

4)    Policy makers in individual countries are having to balance the issues of standardization versus innovation

5)    The Web is now deployed on a range of device form factors like Tablets and book readers. These devices have different needs and processes for standardization

6)    The browser now has to contend with new content types (like books and music)

7)    The lines between hardware and software are being blurred and this affects standardization and innovation

Firstly, let us consider what’s at stake:

The Web and the Internet had been one of the most revolutionary innovations over the last decade. We know that the Internet has already transformed our life in the last decade. The question is: How will the Web and the Internet evolve in the next decade?

I explore these questions below with some insights

1)    The Internet, as we know it today, has been possible because of a commercial compromise. In the Next Internet, what is holding it up, the author points out that: Nothing we do on the Internet today would have been conceivable, let alone feasible, had these corporations never decided amongst themselves. Similar negotiations and compromises took place, often involving IPR, between various players of the GSM standard before the standard emerged and with it the economic benefits of an ecosystem

2)    As we stare into the spectre of a double dip recession and the International labour organization predicts massive jobs shortfalls especially in the West, policy makers the world over are looking for ways to create new jobs and new economic growth. The EU holds its first ever event on innovation in December 2011 along the lines of the Digital Agenda and the question of innovation, standardization and IPR are intertwined because the Web is a platform and hence a catalyst for growth. But going forward, as the ‘Web meets telecoms’ and other devices (like sensor networks), it will need to balance IPR and incorporate IPR into standards.

3)    We are also at the cusp of the fifth computing cycle. Mary Meeker says that we are at the cusp of the fifth computing cycle and that mobile devices will surpass PCs and other wireline devices. Many people, including me, have long been discussing this ‘cross over’ and its implications.

4)    Finally, Open source hardware will be a key driver to the next wave of innovation. Chris Anderson even calls it the ‘next industrial revolution’.

So, all of the above makes me feel that we are fighting last decade’s battles and ignoring the opportunities and challenges in front of us.

So, here are my thoughts on where we will evolve to:

1)    The distinction between Web standards, Open source and proprietary platforms is blurred: Web standards could act as tools for generation for multiple platforms including proprietary platforms: This idea sounds radical but not so. Nitobi, the darling of the cross platform community (and I am a fan!) already work this way with phonegap. Phonegap recently announced support for the mango platform in addition to iPhone, Android and others it already supports. Thus, the mobile cross-platform application development framework uses JavaScript APIs to use Windows Phone Mango features like: Access Device Information, Add and search Contacts etc. So, we have here a mix of Web standards(phonegap), Open source(platforms for which it generates code) and proprietary standards(iPhone, Mango etc). All co-exist and developers support the platforms.

2)    When Open source meets Web standards, the results are no longer one dimensional: Both Open source and Open standards are polymorphic phrases. However, whichever way you look at it, their amalgamation is non trivial. Nick Allott wrote an excellent blog in context of webinos, which I summarise here and link to the original blog – Open Source – Sustainable development – a synopsis – which shows that Open source platforms have many motivations and are not necessarily as altruistic as the Web is designed to be i.e. available to all.

3)    Computing is not going away –it’s just hiding behind the Cloud .. (gigaom). Gigaom put forward this idea and I summarise/ extend it as below

a)    The device itself becomes low value and a conduit (soon it may come free in a box of cornflakes as someone in the

industry said ..)

b)    The value lies in connecting the dots

c)    Embedded / transparent connectivity(a profitable pipe) will be the future of operators

d)    Brand/content will focus on the end to end superior experience (Amazon for books – Apple originally for music etc).

In this case, the Cloud changes the game

 4)    Innovation at the core of the web will more complex than innovation at the edge: The Web, as we know has always innovated at the edge. But at some point, it will need to innovate at the core. This is more complex and controversial. Companies like Google have proposed spdy  which changes the nature of http and browser specific optimization ex for Chrome (We will strongly encourage Google developers start off targeting Chrome-only whenever possible as this gives us the best end user experience. ….  ) . Ultimately this will lead to ‘Optimised for Chrome ..’ or ‘works best with Chrome’ – that cannot be a good thing for the Web ..

5)    As hardware meets software, the boundaries are blurred. I propose that this world will get more complex – especially in areas such as hardware optimization of javascript.

To conclude, I started with the question of – How web standards will evolve over the next decade.

I think it was Napoleon who said that all his generals are ready and perfectly suited to fight last year’s war! Implying that next year’s battles will be different from last year’s.

It appears that we are also oriented to fight last decade’s battles for the standardization of the Web. The only conclusion is: the next decade’s battles will be different and more complex than last decade’s as I illustrate above.




Open Source – Sustainable development – a synopsis







Nick Allott posted a very large and a detailed blog about Open Source projects.

I summarise it below since I have referred to it often and a summary is useful. The article has a singular purpose: to explore the optimal  shape and structure of a successful open source project.  

 -         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.

-         Perhaps now you can see how Open Source can be used offensively. How it is possible to take out a competitor by open sourcing components that may even be upstream from where you and your competitor currently compete.


The four critical dimensions of open source:

In the context of “corporate adoption” there are four critical legal dimensions that need consideration.

What combination of these four elements is more likely to result in a well-resourced, well utilised, successfully long term project.


Inbound license – the contributor’s license and the implications(use of IPR, copyright etc)

Outbound license: The outbound license defines the terms under which the code is made available to 3rd parties.

Governance model: Who controls, meritocracy,

Trademarks and compliance: Also a channel to control.


Open Source Business models:

Can be seen to comprise of two parts:

  1. Above the water motives: different ways of making money directly form open source
  2. Below the water motives: indirect ways of making money from open source


Direct revenue models

To make money from services

To make money from consultancy

To make money from hosted service Nitobi

To make money from license – dual license it

To make money from Upsell: Upselling complimentary software products

To make money from Hardware

To make money from Advertising

But at a general level the critical question is: how are these revenues maintained? What is to stop someone creating a derivative product that removes the advertising hook, and creating their own, diverting the money flow.

Dark commercial strategic motives

To grow ecosystem

To control ecosystem

To Enter Market

To devalue competitions assets (focused)

To remove license costs

To share costs

The original detailed blog HERE


Smart cities manifesto and what makes a city smart



At  PICNIC  in Amsterdam was a great event and I spoke on the topic of ‘What makes a city smart’. This was my first talk at PICNIC and it’s an exciting event which brings together smart people across disciplines to create new conversations and ideas.

I am also on the advisory board of the World Smart Capital   program , which is modelled on the lines of the World design capital.

The world smart capital has produced a Smart cities manifesto at PICNIC.  I do not have a link for the Smart cities manifesto but I summarise it from the print copy and then include some notes which I took from the various Smart cities presentations here in Amsterdam and I include my presentation below as well

To summarise the Smart cities manifesto:

-          In the last 50 years, urban populations have grown exponentially. This trends will continue and is expected to lead to an increase in problems we encounter in most large cities today

-          So, to overcome these problems, infrastructure should be enhanced by digital technologies

-          Over a decade long study, the intelligent community forum has found that intelligent communities engage in intensive collaboration between organizations, government and citizens to create change

-          Intelligent cities involve three dimensions:  Human, Collective and artificial intelligence

-          The human element relates to the intelligence, inventiveness and creativity of the individuals who live and work in the city. Richard Florida describes the creative class in his 2002 book The Rise of the creative class

-          The idea of collective intelligence is based on social factors that enable people to work together including the tendency to collaborate, compete, integrate and differentiate

-          The third factor is the artificial intelligence embedded into the physical dimension of the city

-           A city can be defined as smart when investments in human and social capital and traditional (ex transport) and modern(ex ICT) communications infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life with a wise management of natural resources through participatory governance

-          This is a very comprehensive definition. It is beyond the traditional – IT led – emphasis on  sensors and embedded systems.

-          The concept of smart city seems to rotate around six areas: Smart mobility smart economy smart environment smart living smart people smart governance

-          Obviously, mobility plays an important role especially with mobile phones today which incorporate multiple sensors.

-         Finally smart cities lead to a change of participatory governance style and emphasis on new challenges like Privacy and Security for citizens.

From the sessions I attended, here are my notes. You can see full bios of speakers at the PICNIC agenda


Many of these stories support the wider definition of Smart cities as above which incorporates:

a)  Investments in human and social capital

b) Investments in traditional (ex transport) and modern(ex ICT) communications infrastructure

c) Sustainable economic development

d) Higher quality of life with a wise management of natural resources 

e) Participatory governance

So, here are some of the key points and i will add more later as well.

Lorenzo de Rita – Architects build only 10 perc, we build the rest.

Kunlé Adeyemi echoed the same ideas when he said that even cities like Makoko   in Nigeria, which are built on water, follow a pattern of growth driven by people’s needs (ex the need for less direct sunshine) ie they are not built randomly
Matthias Hollwich: The dignity of aging needs to be reinstated and we cannot do that by chasing eternal youth. New Aging explores a new way for society to deal with aging. Old people cannot be ‘stored away’ from society.

Ben Hammersley  looked at how cultures and society change, how technology can outpace good manners, and how designers and makers can change the world.

He said:.

-          We have been talking of smart cities as if they are an option

-          If you can think of a technology – it is inevitable. Moores law says it will happen

-          Technology embodies our values and changes our values

-          And apparently, Thomas Edison chased film industry out of NY to protect his cameras and so the industry went as far away as it could (to LA)

Jorge Camil Starr: Five billion people in the world today have no access to the Internet. A large part of these citizens live in developing countries and marginalized communities. Jorge Camil Starr discussed the model he has built in Mexico which has benefitted more than 150,000 people in less than 2 years.

-          30 perc of creative workforce take 50 perc of wages

-          Urban poverty harder than rural poverty

-          e-learning is more than just giving away computers

-          It does not work if it does not have a humen process behind it

Here is a link to their work I found RIA – OECD – pdf

Art to the People!: Ricardo Celaya talked about the power of art as a communication tool, an instrument to integrate cities and a vehicle for change. Art promotes social inclusiveness by displaying local heroes (instead of pictures of politicians) . Huge libraries and buildings even in deprieved areas are aspirational.

Games in Informal Settlements: Emer Beamer talked about how can a mobile game contribute to improving life in informal settlements around the world? This was based around Mtaani, a game based on the complexity of life including dealing with the scarcity of water, with crime and the escalation of conflict as well as community development. Co-designed with young people from Nairobi, it is spreading across Kenya and Uganda through mobile game websites, Nokia’s Ovi Store and special youth gatherings.

The Emergence of Brand Philanthropy: You can see Coca Coal as an ambassador for world peace!

Bill Mc Donough: A regulation is a signal of design failure. By the way, this talk received the longest applause! Bill Mc Donough’s book is Cradle to Cradle – which I ordered as I was listening to his talk!

In my two presentations, I propose that:

a)      A city is Smart if it follows the ethos of the Internet i.e. becomes a platform or an enabler which unleashes the creativity of it’s people  and

b)      The perfect storm i.e. a combination of various factors which could produce a positive effect is based on two ideas: apps are the glue for convergence across platforms and people are at the centre of the ‘Storm’

Finally, when Tamara Bok interviewed me at PICNIC and asked me about what is ‘smart’ in a ‘smart city’, my response was: A more disruptive question in the future is: ‘What is a City’?’ i.e. this is a moving goalpost and we may find that many of our current definitions of ‘city’ may themselves evolve.

What makes a city smart – Ajit Jaokar PICNIC Amsterdam presentation – Smart cities

the perfect storm – Ajit Jaokar PICNIC Amsterdam presentation




Speaking at World smart capital – Amsterdam – What makes a city smart ..

Speaking at World smart capital – Amsterdam – What makes a city smart ..

Will post details of my talk here soon and slides

Robotiq Mini-Competition Number 1 Extending Arduino using the PIC32 Arduino Platform

Andrew Eliasz

First technology transfer

Arduino – Internet of Things / Smart Objects course

Robotiq Mini-Competition Number 1
Extending Arduino using the PIC32 Arduino Platform
Description of competition:
The goal of the competition is to adapt and make use of FreeRTOS on the PIC32 Chipkit boards,
and to demonstrate its use by means of suitable sketches, including sketches demonstrating
interactive multitasking and communication and interaction with multimedia systems such as
Processing and smart devices such as Android or iOS based devices.
The first prize will be £1000 and there will be runner up prizes of £500 and £250.
The documentation, code and examples must be available under the GPL license.
Entries will be judged on a variety of categories
1. Demonstration of successful porting / adaptation
2. Use of TCP/IP e.g. Microchip’s TCP/IP stack, or an equivalent stack for the Maple board
3. Use of file systems on memory cards e.g. Microchip’s file system, or equivalent system for
the Maple board.
4. Teaching notes and tutorial on multi-tasking on the PIC32 Arduino using FreeRTOS
5. Novel applications that demonstrate the potential of the PIC32 to go beyond the kinds of
applications that can be achieved with the 8 bit Atmel AVR based Arduinos e.g. more
sophisticated robotics applications.
6. Advanced applications e.g. adapting Adam Dunkel’s IPv6 mini stack to work with the PIC32
Arduinos. or implementation of KNX and demonstration of its use in building control and
home automation. or motion planning and multi-server control of a robot arm.
The competition is sponsored by First Technology Transfer Ltd.
The competition will be judged by a team of judges drawn from FTT trainers and consultants and
Microchip Engineers.
The deadline for entries will be December 30th 2011, and winners by the end of January 2012.
Winning entries and highly commended runners up will be publishes on the Robotiq web site.
Entrants for the competition will be entitled to a 10% discount on Chipkit boards purchased via

UK Future Internet Strategy Group FUTURE INTERNET REPORT

UK Future Internet Strategy Group has published a FUTURE INTERNET REPORT. I have mixed feelings about it and while it is always good to see such efforts, it is missing a key point(which will be the focus of a subsequent blog post). However, the synopsis of the report is as below:

The Future Internet environment is brought about by technologies that allow the capture of a vastly increased amount of data, ranging from high-definition video to a massive increase in low-cost multipurpose sensors. The number of connected devices is set to increase worldwide from the current level of 4.5 billion to 50 billion by 2020. This, together with other data sources, has driven the amount of data in the world up to a staggering 988 exabytes in 2010, roughly equivalent to a stack of books stretching from the Sun to Pluto and back.

A key focus of this report has been to identify the main enabling components that will allow a ‘market’ based on the concept of the Future Internet of converged services and advanced infrastructure and the advanced connectivity and mobility features it provides. Many of these enabling components can be implemented today: for example, the technology to share data or to provide wireless connectivity is available; novel payment models are implemented in businesses such as Apple and Amazon.

Fundamentally, the main issue is how to bring multiple elements together around a value case that will justify the required investment and result in a market being created. The recommendations address areas of strategy, setting the national and local agenda, and the creation of value cases and putting innovation and skills at the centre of the Future Internet initiative. Recommendations on infrastructure cover solving issues of wireless connectivity, global Internet addressing and the creation of massively shared data clouds. Finally, research needs to be undertaken to resolve issues of trust and security for data and access to the infrastructure.

In conclusion, other economies are currently implementing elements of the Future Internet from infrastructure through to the delivery of services and demonstrating the cost savings and societal improvements. The underlying technologies largely exist and can be integrated to deliver the vision described in this report with huge savings to government, local authorities and individual citizens, whilst at the same time creating a new Internet-style economy
generating new business and profitability.

The UK possesses a strong foundation in technology and innovation to take a leadership position, given the correct level of investment and policies at a national and local level.

9/11 ten years on – a day of remembrance

911 ten years on – a day of remembrance

Image source – BBC

Speaking at the Cloud Mobility conference – 20 -21 Sep Amsterdam






I am speaking at the Cloud Mobility conference – 20 -21 Sep Amsterdam which is one of the best known events in the Mobile Cloud space.

My topic is: Cloud Services and Bandwidth: a Relief or Extra Burden?
• To what extent will cloud services actually lower bandwidth and affect network infrastructure?
• Dissecting the evolution of operators’ extra service packages and analysing future offerings
• What will be next? Paid for extra bandwidth services along with cloud?
• How will LTE technology impact cloud mobile services’ provision and utilisation?

Some other topics of interest include

The Defining Differences between ‘Mobile Cloud’ and ‘Cloud’

Building a Successful Business Model for Cloud

Mobility Services and Targeting Customers

Business models

Determining a Long-term Cloud Mobility Strategy

How Will Operators Make Cloud Business Profitable in the OTT Reality?

The Enterprise and Cloud Mobility

The Operators’ Strategy when Facing OTT competition

How do Third Party Providers fit into the Operator’s Business Plan?

Creating a ‘Cloud Active’ Environment

Security, Security, Security…What is the Key to Building Customer Trust?

Is the Security of Handsets Affecting the Adoption of Cloud Services?

Driving National Efficiency and Savings with Cloud Mobility

Dark Clouds and Rainy Days, the Bad Side of Cloud Computing from our friend David Rogers

Cloud Services and Bandwidth: a Relief or Extra Burden? by me :)

Overcoming the Obstacles to Seamless Media Cloud Adoption

for more see Cloud Mobility conference – 20 -21 Sep Amsterdam


Broadband world forum 2011 – not far away ..

Another note for the Broadband world forum 2011 event ..

The broadband world forum, the world’s largest broadband event, in Paris in September

Now in it’s 11th year, some of the topics of interest include:

Broadband & LTE Deployment Case Studies

Community broadband

Regulation & Universal Service

Implementing the transition to IPv6

Broadband Business Strategy Open Access Network Strategies

Operator Case Studies


IMS for voice & data

Content Delivery Network Implementation

Femtocells & Small cellular architectures

The role of WiFi off-load

OTT & IPTV: monetising online content

Beyond “traditional” PayTV

QoS as a service

Can Cable operators survive without offering Cloud services?

for more details see broadband world forum

Webinos white paper

Some more updates from Webinos .. Recommend that you have a look and welcome feedback

webinos white paper

What would a sustainable open source ecosystem look like