Archive for category Video

The decade ahead & Predictions galore

Spotting trends to make timely and profitable business decisions is a valuable skill. It’s always amazed me how some people have perfected this skill to a near art form. Here is a collection of predictions for the coming years that I found interesting.

Next 5 in 5

Every year, IBM surveys 3,000 researchers for input on what five innovations will come to fruition over the next five years. Here’s a sampling from this year’s annual survey:

Immersive 3-D via cellphones: Aka holographic tele-presence that will enable 3D holographic communication between people using cellphones.

Pico Projectors that can run on cellphones and project 2D images with minimal power exist today. Holographic table top projectors are also ready – at least in labs. However, the power requirements and miniaturization requirements for adapting it to the Pico projector scale may make this a tough prediction to meet by 2015, commercially.

Air/Kinetic Batteries: Batteries that will breathe oxygen or use kinetic energy from our motion to generate power.

Anything that will cut the frantic search for power receptacles across airports gets my vote.

Thermal Recycling: Excess heat and energy produced by computer infrastructure at data centers will be used to heat buildings or power air conditioning as necessary.

Here’s the full video.

Source: Gartner's Top predictions for 2011


Analyst firm Gartner Inc, has released its predictions for IT organizations and users in 2011 and beyond. The full report is a must read if you are in the Information Technology business. Here are my top 3:

  • By 2015, 10% of your online “friends” will be nonhuman
  • By 2013, 80% of businesses will support a workforce using tablets.
  • By 2015, Companies will generate 50% of web sales via their Social presence and mobile apps.

You can download the full report here

Ray Kurzveil

Inventor, author and futurist – Ray Kurzweil, was recently interviewed by Time Magazine for its ’10 Questions’ segment. Here are my favorites from the interview:

  • By 2040 (Yes I know – not this decade. But, I am stickler for huge numbers and this one is really huge), Human intelligence will multiply a BILLION fold.
  • Man will move more closely to being a cyborg. i.e.: Will have more and more technology implanted to make us healthier and make us smarter.
  • Our diet will extend to in-vitro cloned meats in automated factories run by Artificial Intelligence.
  • Civilization will become more spiritual.

Source: Yankee Group

While some of the predictions sound dire for certain businesses, YG does spell out quite a few opportunities for mobile entrepreneurs – Especially in the coming 4G turf wars. Here’s a sampling of some of the predictions:

  • In spite of the voracious demand for mobile bandwidth, LTE will reach only 164 million users by 2014.
  • 4G Will FAIL to win the Enterprise
  • The Web WILL NOT save operators in the Mobile Apps Market

You can download the full report here,  an audio version here and a slide deck here.

Web Collective

Here are some other predictions from around the web that I thought you might enjoy reading about.

U.S. Equity Market Will Appreciate 6-7 Percent Annually

By Gary Kaminsky, CNBC Contributing Editor – Read more

Microsoft purchases Nokia…Facebook launches calling service and kills Blackberry

By Andreas Bernstorm, CEO of Rebtel  - Read More

The rise of Mobile Health Care & African Consumers

By Marian Salzman, President of Euro RSCG Worldwide – Read More

Both trends predicted by Marian are important and will materialize. Entrepreneurs of African origin have been increasingly seen investing in and building up cell-phone businesses across Africa. Manufacturers and service providers alike have already recognized this trend and are actively building a presence in these markets. While majority of the current interest is in low-cost hardware and services, a significant opportunity exists for mid-tier consumer offerings as well.

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Microsoft’s Augmented Reality

Blaise Aguera y Arcas is the co-creator of Photosynth from Microsoft – an amazing  software that allows users to create immersive visual experience with nothing more than a 2D photographs. Watch this incredible video where he demonstrates Microsoft’s new augmented reality at TED 2010.

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iPhone: The missing features

The last couple of days saw the entire Farscan team busy working on our newest App for the iPhone (details soon). The whole experience of spending hours with users testing the apps made me realize how many core features we often take for granted in other products/OSs we’re still missing in my favorite gadget of all time – the iPhone.

It was interesting that there was an app/hack for most of these missing features. Still, it will be interesting to see how Apple will monetize these features when they will eventually make their way to an iPhone near you.

Multitaskingmultitask

We know the iPhone already does it. It does run native apps like the iPod and email app in the background while you do other things. Coming from a mobile device background, I can understand that Apple is probably concerned about the enormous battery and CPU drain multi-tasking could result in, in addition to application stability problems.

Alternate Solution: This remains one of the few reasons why I would jailbreak an iPhone today. The ‘backgrounder’ app on Cydia is a dream come true, especially if you use applications like Pandora and want to listen to it while doing something else.

Functional Springboard Lock screenDashboard on Springboard

I want to see some useful info as soon as I take my iPhone out of my pocket or bring it out of an idle state. Give me some plugins or tiny apps for the home screen that will show me my next meeting / calendar events, time, weather, an RSS headline or two, or whatever else I want to see at a glance without launching having to switch between a dozen apps. This has been a standard feature on Windows mobile from PocketPC days and is available on newer mobile OSs including Android. Push notifications don’t really cut it for these types of uses.

Alternate Solution A friend of mine is working on an app that does exactly that. It shows a customizable number of calendar events, emails, text messages, weather and time in home and visiting city along with RSS headlines and meta information from whatever song is being played. Until then, this is another reason for jailbreaking. There are quite a large number of enterprising users who have created themes using Winterboard & LockInfo – apps available through Cydia (An application installation platform that is hosted by 3rd parties to provide app store like capabilities for Jailbroken iPhones). Most of the dbar based themes for Winterboard fit the bill quite nicely.

Wireless Sync

For an ultimate wireless device, it is quite surprising that the iPhone doesn’t support even rudimentary Bluetooth data profiles such as OBEX (A bluetooth profile that facilitates data transfer with other data capable devices). Even the venerable Motorola RAZR supports OBEX. While iPhone OS 3.0 added support for iPhone to iPhone Bluetooth transfers, I have no idea why Apple chose to go a proprietary route to do so and not support connecting to any non-iPhone devices (like your desktop PC.

Considering that Microsoft’s Zune already syncs over Wi-Fi out of the box and the ‘Remote’ app for iPhone does a wonderful job of remote controlling iTunes on your desktop, I am sure Apple is not far behind on supporting wireless iTunes Sync.

Alternate Solution: If you are a Microsoft Exchange user and your Exchange infrastructure is configured for Over the Air sync, most of the information in outlook can be synced. Apple of course also offers its fee-based subscription service Mobile-Me that will do the same thing. But, if you want to sync with your desktop at home and want more than your contacts, calendar and email (say like your apps, podcasts, playlists, etc.) you are out of luck. However, if you just wanted to transfer some files wirelessly, you can use tools that are available on the app store such as file ninja or Air Sharing (http://avatron.com/apps/air-sharing/). If you are the adventurous type and have a jailbroken iPhone, you can try tinkering with iSync (http://code.google.com/p/iphone-isync/) – a project with code hosted at Google Code, that unfortunately doesn’t show any signs of life these days.

Enhanced Digital Camera

At a 3MP resolution, the 3GS has a higher resolution than my first digital camera. But, it has the features of a pin hole camera at best. How about throwing in some more pizzazz into that camera app? Features like a burst mode for taking multiple shots with a single click should not be that hard to implement.  Again, even basic camera phones from Motorola and Samsung does these. Add some zoom controls and some color balancing presets and you have the beginnings of a usable camera application.  Even a digital zoom would work in some cases. I would rather have these features in the camera app rather than having to cut, paste and edit it in another application.

I love using the iPhone camera for other geeky things that use the camera. For example, to quickly snap business cards at trade fairs (I send it to a service that neatly converts all of those images into actual text in a contacts database). Another app I have started using religiously is ShopSavvy . This app allows scanning in product barcodes to check product reviews and compare prices across the internet. I have been known to check Amazon book reviews through ShopSavvy while browsing books at Barnes & Nobles.

But the lack of a flash makes these tasks a pain – especially trying to scan in a barcode using ShopSavvy . We all know that majority of the flashes on camera phone are useless. But even a low cost white LED that many manufacturers pass of as a flash would have been quite useful for any close up photography tasks like those I mentioned.

Alternate Solution: Luckily, the app store has a ton of 3rd party camera apps. Some that helps with low-light photography and some that has quite an extensive array of digital features. Just search for the keyword ‘Camera’.

Video Streaming

VideoStreamingAlthough, most operators want more and more consumers to get on to 3G and 4G networks to increase their ARPU (Average Revenue per User) by showing data rich applications such as video-phones, past experience with wireless operators have shown me their less than stellar enthusiasm when it comes to bandwidth hungry applications that can run on their networks.

However, considering the increasing number of iTouch users (See my previous post: ‘Is iPod touch a better model for next gen devices?‘), why couldn’t Apple drop a video phone app? Even with a single camera, it would have been nice to occasionally do a video pod cast or at least share what I was watching with some one that’s elsewhere.

Alternate Solution: Until we have an iPhone or iTouch or iPad with a camera that can face the user, a true video phone may be out of reach.  Till then, apps such as fRING does wonders to share what you are watching live with another person.

devenvDevelopment Platform

Most of you will probably know my biggest gripe with the iPhone – The lack of a non-Mac development environment! When we wanted to create our first iPhone App, I was surprised to find that none of our development partners in Asia or Eastern Europe had any iPhone development talent on their technical teams. Apparently, Macs are expensive and out of reach for most of the developer community. It has been almost 3 years and Apple apparently still has no interest in introducing an SDK for anything other than the Macs.

Want to double or quadruple the number of iPhone Apps in the App Store? Launch an SDK with an emulator that runs on Windows or Linux. The merchandising capabilities of the App Store and success stories of current iPhone app developers will be more than enough to drive masses of free lance developers to write apps for the iPhone. The success of e-lance and Amazon’s Turk further validates this.

History shows that application availability is what can make or kill an OS or a platform in the long run. I am sure if Apple doesn’t plug this gaping hole in their iPhone strategy, either Microsoft or Google will be more than happy to leverage the abundance of technical talent in emerging markets to build up an application library that can rival iPhone’s. They already have the tools. All they are missing is a bit of reach. Wake up Apple!

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Read-worthy posts this month

With CES in Las Vegas and new client projects that we picked up in December, I hardly had any time for reading these last few weeks. From the little that I managed to read and watch on the run, here are some of my favorites so far:

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productman_s
1. Question: If product managers are CEOs of their products, why aren’t more of them CEOs?? Ask a Good Product Manager Blog has some interesting insights.

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2. In the market for an E-Book reader? Ars Technica posts a CES preview: three e-readers to watch in 2010. Looks like the Sprint Skiff will be at a store near us soon, while The Plastic Logic’s QUE looks like a great technology that still needs some major marketing muscle. Brainstorm Tech has a video report with CNNMoney contributor Jonathan Blum reporting on e-readers at CES.

3. Wreak havoc or fine tune your windows 7 with the newly discovered GodMode(s). These CNET posts explain how to enable the undocumented developer features in Windows 7 and even Vista. Warning: Use these at your own risk. Try them out on a test system first.

4. The Unofficial Apple Weblog has an excellent post compiled from user responses on features most users would like to see for iPhone 4.0. Some of these wouldn’t be a bad idea for other smartphone OSs as well. Features like a system wide ignore option for device orientation status should be a no-brainer on any device with an accelerometer. My #1 feature request for iPhone? Release an SDK for Windows already!

5. Dave McLure had posted his presentation ‘Start up metrics for Pirates‘ on his blog  “Master of 500 Hats” that I missed somehow. Glad I caught it again (Thanks Luke)

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