Wednesday, March 28, 2007

O'Reilly ECT Day #2- Incantations for Muggles: The Role of Ubiquitous Web 2.0 Technologies in Everyday Life

The talk began with this basic premise: How do you balance needs of the users with emerging technologies? The goal of the talk was to use different lens on emerging tech and end-users. The backside of technology development is people. How to segment people which are not like "you" - don't design for oneself or one size fits all. There are four life stages each with a different set of properties- stage one - friends, attention, play/leisure, sex, consumption; stage #2 - Sex, friends , money , play/leisure, labor; stage #3 - labor, family, money, power, property; stage #4 - family, health, religion, hobbies, friends. technology adoption and priorities reflect these four life stages. Corporations are currently driving technology. Corporations need to satisfy shareholders reflecting continuous growth. To monetize the interaction people the user must be passionate about the technology. Unhappy users don't make products stick. Four aspects of modern technology: persistence (never goes away) searchability (ability to find what you want), replicability (what is truth?, the ability to copy), Invisible audiences - (don't have a sense who is in the audience- you don't know who your are talking). All rules of privacy is changing. When things really go mobile will create a new shift in practice - combining location and technology.

O"Reilly ECT - The Coming Age of Magic -Mike Kuniavsky, Co-founder and Principal, ThingM

Ubiquitous computing is moving away from traditional platforms (PC, PDA, smartphone) to include non traditional platforms such running shoes. In 1995 General Magic designed their wireless handheld interface as a desktop. This interface had limited functionality partially due to the desktop metaphor. Extending the desktop metaphor to a wireless device doesn't work with ubiquitous computing. Mike is advocating the use of existing cultural understanding (magic) to describe the behavior of ubiquitous computing objects. Design principles- every day objects (shoes, hammers, hats, plates), they are familiar, physical, no screen , not human, not superhuman, reinforcing the fact that we don't believe in magic. Ambient orb from Ambient Devices looks like a crystal ball. the Nokia medallion - allows communication. Wands (Nintendo Wii), Hitachi Magic wanted. Concept of wands already exists based on embedded technology. The move towards "magic" devices is already happening. The age of magic is coming. Using the magic metaphor should not be an excuse for poor design.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Jeff Hawkins

Jeff is the original founder and designer of Palm. He described human function and how his new company Numenta is developing next generation for intelligent computing. Jeff stated that you can’t get computers to act as humans- visual perception, auditory perception, somatosensory perception, Languages, Adaptive behavior, planning, thinking etc….

What is preventing this? Common wisdom believes:

  • Computers are not powerful enough - no longer the case
  • Brains are too complex to understand
  • Brains work on quantum principles
  • Brains are magic

Reality is not too complex, don’t work on strange principles and we just didn’t understand how they work.

Hierarchical Temporal Memory (HTM) –

1) Creates a model of its worked

2) Recognizes new patterns

3) Predicts

Generates behavior Numenta Platform for Intelligent Computing (NuPIC)

Simple vision system –

HTM applications areas of focus:

  1. Automotive
  2. Gaming
  3. Network modeling
  4. Drug discovery
  5. Vision systems
  6. Market analysis
  7. Business modeling
  8. Nurture applications
  9. Anything requiring prices timing or high order temporal data
  10. Music
  11. Language
  12. Robotics

Werner Vogels, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer,

Mr. Vogels is the VP and CTO of His talk focused on how Amazon has created an the backbone which can enable small start-ups to reach scale by using the Amazon's infrastructure. The talk centered around how to build a business around ideas verses resources. Amazon services is designed to help a launch new businesses. Building an architecture to deal with peaks 3-4X the average daily transactions is difficult. The 70/30 switch 70% on heavy lifting (infrastructure) and only 30% time investing in actual product development. Amazon chart - service oriented - 150 services together to create a single page. Three parts of infrastructure = EC2 - Compute, S2- Storage - SQS which does Messaging= Web scale computing. Web-scale computing turns huge fixed costs into a variable cost. scalable-increase or decrease capacity impacts cost Effective - low rate pay-as you-go, Reliable and Simple- SOAP and REST based computing. Simple storage service 15 cents per Gigabyte per month and 20cents a GB data transfer. Why can't the GDS follow this model. Rather than owning the transaction, how about owning the infrastructure?

VC Forum - Web 2.0 and Wall Street

Panel with Tim O"Reilly and William H. Janeway, Vice Chairman, Warburg Pincus and
Peter Bloom, Managing Director, General Atlantic LLC
. What can Web 2.0 learn from the financial markets and visa versa? Attributes of Web 2.0 demonstrated on Wall Street. Speed matters. e-Trade strived for a 9 second trade. Average trade on NYSE is now 30 milliseconds. A thousand transaction a second have become the norm. How does this compare with travel transactions which is measured by 2-3 second response time? Web 2.0 economy - network intelligence phenomenon. Focus on transactional efficiency. The pressure of Wall Street to push down the cost of transaction cost down to zero. Profits as "agents" was no longer possible (sound familiar?). Those who had been agents became traders. This is just like a GDS becoming a travel agent (e.g. Travelocity). Now promoting marketplace based on automated trading systems. Technology turning agents into principles. The interaction of computers and human beings. Now computers trade with each other but are shut off switching to human trading during a major drop.

Jeff Jonas - IBM Chief Scientist

Using an story of a cheating Vegas dealer illegally working with a customer to illustrate how data silos don't interact, Jeff introduced the concept of "Enterprise Amnesia". In this story the dealer and customer share a common address - clearly a signal that something is wrong. "Enterprise Amnesia" is when marketing, HR an security departments don't share a common database. Enterprise Intelligence requires persistent context. Data and queries in a single data space. Federated search - just in time context.

Sequence neutrality - identifying the same customer in a database. Database drift is natural and the bigger the wearhouse the more this problem persists.

Live from the O"Reilly Emerging Technology Conference

I am blogging today from the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego. In 2006, my friend and colleague Philip Wolf coined the phrase Travel 2.0 to describe the new focus on user-generated content and improved user interfaces in online travel. To all deference to Philip, it was Tim O"Reilly who actually coined the original Web 2.0 phrase to describe the user generated and interface changes that is impacting the entire technology industry. Attending pure technology conferences such as this one, always reinforces the fact that the travel industry continues to lag behind the general tech curve. I will be blogging all day on each topic covered: The agenda can be found here.

After the opening remarks, the first speaker is Jeff Jonas, Distinguished Engineer and Chief Scientist, IBM Entity Analytic.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Joint Study with PhoCusWright

In an effort to answer my prior blog entry regarding the commodification of self-booking technology, I am pleased to announce a new joint research study with PhoCusWright. As most of you know I have a long association with Philip's organization as an analyst and subcontractor on multiple projects over the last 6 years. In 2003, we jointly published a study on Dynamic Packaging technology. In a similar fashion this new study will look at corporate travel technology trends particularly as it relates to the implementation of Travel 2.0 technology. We are targeting late May- early June for the publication. It will be available as part of the PhoCusWright Channel as well as available both at the PhoCusWright and Travel Tech Consulting online stores.

Here's the abstract:

Abstract: Traditionally the corporate travel market has lagged in the adoption of emerging technologies. Despite this fact, technology for self booking, corporate portals, meetings management, business intelligence, expense management, risk management and the aggregation of content has become a key part of the travel management process. Services, such as consulting and account management also depend heavily on technology for analysis and support. With the emergence of Travel 2.0 technologies in the consumer market, how are corporate providers reacting to these trends? This study will take a look at key TMC and corporate travel software applications reviewing current functionality with an eye on future development. The research will showcase unique product offerings from software developers and TMCs reviewing vendors' plans for adding Travel 2.0 features such as user generated content and rich Internet UIs using technologies such as AJAX.