Thursday, October 30, 2008

Innovating in New Product Launches

Here's an example of an innovative and brilliant marketing campaign for a new go to market product: utilize social media, online resources, and creativity.
Start by going into the "Tech Edge (Fictitious) Blog" which simulates a news blog reporting on the new product to launch. It is updated almost daily, utilizes RSS to inform interested customers, and incorporates videos.

Also check out an alternative launch channel for the same product through more traditional advertisement that will eventually be linked to the former.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Confluence of Web 2.0 technology and adventure

One of my favorite applications of technology is the intersection of collaboration technologies and web 2.0 applications with outdoor adventures. My favorite example, not perfect, but getting there, is the 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race. This year's race around the world has 6 teams sailing around the world collaborating and updating everybody in the World by the means of email, blogs, RSS, Vlogs, and other applications. For example, any crew member of any team can pick up their on board laptops and send an email message that is immediately parsed as a blog post on their team website and syndicated via an RSS feed. Also, you can follow up the vessels virtually with the Virtual Raceviewer as they circumvent the globe, or simply listen to a podcast from the crew.

Collaboration tools can be used as logs (hence the name blog and vlog) very efficiently. I have used them in the past for posting updates on specific events like Cisco-Live. It can be as easy as sending a text SMS message: Twitter gives you 140 characters per twit, a full blown blog gives you more space if needed, twitpic lets you upload a picture from your cell phone directly, and Picasa even lets you tag the location of a picture in the world. These are just examples of applications. The important thing is that its simplicity and flexibility make online collaboration apps very appealing for races, adventures, and other activities.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rent a meeting space anywhere in the world

TelePresence is a virtual conference system that includes high-definition video and audio as well as rich-media presentation capabilities. It comes in configurations that range from a single screen for a home or branch office to a three-screen setup with two rows of seats.

Cisco, in collaboration with business partners, is offering a network of public TelePresence meeting centers to the United States, India, and United Kingdom. Public Cisco TelePresence rooms provide convenient local meeting sites that offer the experience of in-person meetings for businesses, friends, and family. You can rent a public Cisco TelePresence room for an hour or day to increase personal interaction with customers, partners, consultants, etc.; reduce travel expenses and time; increase productivity; and reduced environmental impact.

Pricing varies between $299 per person for one hour meeting, to $899 for up to 18 people. More impressively, you can book your meeting online here: in any of the locations available today.

Oh, by the way, standard amenities for work and personal meetings are also available, including internet access, print/fax/copy services, and catering. Therefore, think of an on-demand conference room for anywhere in the world.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gartner's 20 ways of cutting expenses in IT

Gartner analysts presented a list of 20 ways that IT execs can slash expenses.

  1. Gartner estimates that 37% of the average IT budget is dedicated to personnel, so this represents a major opportunity to save money. Gartner recommends a blend of hiring freezes, reducing or eliminating special bonuses, cutting back on outside contractors.
  2. Flatten the organization. A flat organization not only saves money but also can lead to more efficiency.
  3. Move to shared services. Consolidate things like help desk into one group that services the entire company.
  4. Bring a finance person into your leadership team for that person to analyze your budget and find ways to help you trim costs.
  5. Don't ignore "unmanaged" costs like printers or data center power. Specially DC Power.
  6. Make sure your vendors are charging you what your contract specifies.
  7. Eliminate unused software and modules.
  8. Think about renegotiating contracts and strategize ways to save money with vendors.
  9. Deploy a telecom expense-management service. It pays for itself and more.
  10. Deploy a corporatewide plan for buying cell phones. Then, buy a cell phone plan that optimizes expenses.
  11. If there are places where you don't need five nines of availability, settle for three nines.
  12. Consider buying a videoconferencing solution rather than constantly renting or outsourcing videoconferences.
  13. Where possible, use the Internet as a replacement for expensive WAN transport services. Leverage VPN Technologies.
  14. If your hardware is holding up, consider sticking with it another year.
  15. Use commodity products wherever possible.
  16. Consolidate and virtualize servers and infrastructure.
  17. Reduce storage costs via data deduplication and other methods.
  18. Use better processes and policy to make better use of existing tools.
  19. Deploy IP telephony and VoIP as a way of cutting costs.
  20. Harvest unused licenses and reuse them when a new employee makes a request.

(from's article)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cisco Energy-Saving Technology May Generate $1B/yr Market

Cisco plans to develop networking technology that boosts the efficiency of electrical grids. Available in about 18 months, the products will use IP networks to create so-called smart grids, which are managed remotely, just as described by Tom Friedman in his book "Hot, Flat, and Crowded".

Read the full article at | digg story

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The problem with collaboration is that I want to work alone

I think I have already written about how in the beginning of the Internet era (90's) companies and the enterprise world determined the path of innovation. After the Web 2.0 boom, all innovation comes from the masses, and then is implemented or ported to the enterprise. For example, think of CRM technologies. Oracle was a leader in this space and targeted only institutional companies. Nowadays, and Netsuite leveraged the power of SaaS and other collaboration technologies used by people, for people. Another example, and the one that I want to focus on this post, is collaboration in general.

We've had Instant Messengers with presence information, rich-media collaboration tolls like sharing pictures and diagrams, and even embedded VoIP technology to make phone calls. I have used Yahoo Messenger since almost its beginnings and It was the first to integrate voice and other cool collaboration features. In fact, I used to use it with customers as a great form of collaboration. It was, sometimes better, to IM the customer to see if he was available to chat, or if he received that document. If he didn't, I could try resending the document via the messenger.

The IM technology has matured and come a long way. Many companies deply IM and Presence technology internally. Although they are not customizable systems. I truly believe that we finally have come up with a stronger replacement for the fixed IM client as a main collaboration tool in the office. That is, Webex Connect.

Webex connect is a collaboration product for any business process, based on WebEx's SaaS. The functionality is delivered on an extensible, open development platform based on SOA and XML. You can use the WebEx Connect Platform to extend the functionality of applications a company already has to create customized business mash ups (like widgets) that build collaboration into any business process. That said, the power of the WebEx Connect Platform comes from a framework to merge collaborative applications with business software in ways previously not possible.

However, collaboration has a component that is often forgotten: the social aspect of it. Some people just want to work alone. Companies often implement productivity tools; only to be disappointed when there doesn't seem to be any return on investment, ROI. There are two defined reasons for the failure: the tools and the people.

In many cases, the problem isn't the tools; it's that workers don't use them. On one side, the tools may simply not be adaptable enough. They are fixed and imply a change in business process. That is where WebEx Connect is a breakthrough, and we can no longer say that the tools are the problem. On the other side, we need to better understand the generational differences within the work force, and looking for ways to support collaboration between these different groups. Sometimes people just like to work alone.

The industry and technology was able to adapt the tools. Now we have to work with the social aspect of social technologies.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

VC Take On Market Crash: Short-Term Bear, Long-Term Bull

It's been a long time since I don't blog through Digg. I found this very interesting piece on how the VC industry and entreprenurs are not really being affected by the general financial debacle in the US financial markets. I personally have my money on the "alternative energy systems" industry.

read the full story here | digg story