Friday, October 15, 2010

How RFID Has (re)Consumed My Life

Its been nearly 2 years since I posted an entry to this blog. What is my excuse? Well I've been pretty busy with my day job directing marketing and business development for ThingMagic, a leader in the embedded RFID market.

For a sample of what we've been up to, take a look at ThingMagic's RFID Blog and 100 Uses of RFID Program.

We've also created a video How To Build an RFID Reader using ThingMagic's RFID reader modules and accessories.

Our marketing efforts have generated some interesting coverage. Check out:

ThingMagic’s Rollercoaster Journey—From the Internet of Things to the Calculus of Reality

Arphid Watch: ThingMagic

100 Uses of RFID

CEO Series: An Interview with Tom Grant, Chairman and CEO of ThingMagic

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Brand(ing) New Expectations

A New Year blog post by Seth Godin has been generating a lot of Twitter comments; specifically his closing paragraph/challenge about leading "change" through creativity:

"The opportunity this year is bigger than ever: to lead change, to create a movement in a direction you want to go. While the rest of your world huddles and holds back, here's a golden chance to use cheap media, available attention and great talent to make something that matters."

As we embark on a new era of "change", it is worth thinking about the ways social media has introduced change into everything from the way we market products and services to the way PR companies work with clients to the way we communicate with and to each other. This video "An anthropological introduction to YouTube", created by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University and presented at the Library of Congress, June 23rd 2008, provides a fantastic perspective.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Move over GenXers - The Millennials are Here

Ever wonder how much our kids influence technology development. Here are a few things to consider:

A recent Harris Interactive survey reports that mobile teens are redefining what mobility will be for all of us. According to Steve Largent, president and CEO at CTIA, "Teens are a pivotal segment of wireless users. As the first generation born into a wireless society, how they use their cell phones and what they expect of these devices in the future will drive the next wave of innovation in our industry."

The study, based on the responses of more than 2,000 U.S. teenagers, reported:

- 57 percent of teens polled view their cell phones as the key to their social life.
- Over half of the respondents agree the cell phone has become a new form of entertainment.
-Texting is the preferred method of communication between teens. More than 1 billion text messages are sent each day with 42 percent of teens polled say they can text blindfolded.

What do teens want from wireless service? An ideal mobile device would include five applications: phone, MP3 player, GPS, laptop computer and video player. Adds Largent, "We've certainly come a long way in 25 years, and we expect teens to be a growth driver for the industry and have a major impact on the wireless landscape for years to come."

Abilene Christian University of Texas will be the first university to provide an iPhone or iPod touch to all incoming freshman – see news release. Students will use the iPod to receive homework alerts, respond to in-class surveys and quizzes, find their professor’s offices with integrated map solutions, and review meal account balances.

A video titled Connected, produced by ACU students, faculty and staff describes their vision of new learning environment and their goal of making these devices a key part of students’ “campus experience”.

ABI Research reports that college students using video-based solutions are driving the first wave of 802.11n deployments on campuses nationwide. The 802.11n wireless network standard (yet to be ratified) provides increased speed, coverage, and reliability, making wireless a viable platform for mission-critical applications.

At the World Business Forum in New York City, Cisco CEO John Chambers spoke of his vision of business innovation, stating that the social networking technologies embraced by young people will drive new business models for corporations.

According to Chambers, “Our children, with their social network[ing], have presented us with the future of productivity”. Chambers said. Chambers believes that the next stage of Internet development will drive a renewed productivity boom - like the one in the 1990s as the internet began maturing, leading to improved decision making and enhanced productivity.

Cisco is practicing what it preaches. According to Chambers:

- Use of internal wikis to share information between business units has jumped from just 4% in January to around 30% now.
- Use of Cisco’s C Vision, an internal YouTube-like video sharing site, has increased 10x in the last seven months.
- Use of collaboration tools is enabling Cisco to significantly increase the number of major projects (in particular the creation of new business) being worked on at once - from two a year to more than 24 annually.

See BusinessWeek coverage and videos.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Complexity of Simplicity

I recently finished reading The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda, former MIT Media Lab director and now President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In this book, Maeda offers ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design.

As a technology marketer and techno junkie, I share Maeda’s opinion that “technology has made our lives more full, yet at the same time we’ve become uncomfortably “full.” So how can we as product designers, product marketers, consumers, and technology users address this conflict? Consider the following:

Law 1: Reduce
The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.

Law 2: Organize
Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.

Law 3: Time
Savings in time feel like simplicity.

Law 4: Learn
Knowledge makes everything simpler.

Law 5: Differences
Simplicity and complexity need each other.

Law 6: Context
What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.

Law 7: Emotion
More emotions are better than less.

Law 8: Trust
In simplicity we trust.

Law 9: Failure
Some things can never be made simple.

Law 10: The One
Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.

Details of these Laws of Simplicity can be found on Maeda’s blog.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Power to the People!

I eventually got a response from G. Oliver Young of Forrester in response to my question about the adoption of social networking solutions in the enterprise (see previous post – Oliver? Can you hear me now?).

According to Young, adoption of social media solutions and the change they are driving should not be viewed as a potential threat to business, but an opportunity for companies to harness these innovative technologies to grow.

Young suggests that, while the social media technology and tools flooding the market are innovative, the real change is a shift in the way businesses and their customers are interacting. This behavioral shift, according to Young, is making companies “…think more holistically about the role of customers in the value creation process, treating them more like partners and co-creators of value than simple consumers of value.”

This according to Young is where the true market opportunity is. So much so that he doesn’t believe we have seen such a rethinking of the relationship between businesses and consumers in the last half century – fundamentally changing the way businesses organize themselves.

While this may seem like business as usual to those of us who work in high-tech (I’ve seen first hand the way enterprise Wi-Fi, VoIP, RFID, Location Based Services (LBS), and video conferencing have had a positive impact on business productivity) there is a different angle to this market that makes it so game changing - just about anyone with a computer and Internet connection can participate.

Quoted on Socialutations - a blog dedicated to the emergence of new management methods - Lucas Wyrsch says:

“Today, billions of connected people around the world can cooperate to make just about anything that requires human creativity, a computer, and an Internet connection. Unlike before, where the costs of production were high, people can collaborate and share their creations at very little cost. This means that individuals needn’t rely on markets or capital-intensive firms to make or trade all of the goods and services they desire. A growing proportion to the things we value, newspapers included, can now be produced by us or in cooperation with the people we interact with socially, simply because we want to.”

Now that’s change.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oliver? Can you hear me now?

Following up on yesterday’s post, I sought to get an answer to my question about Josh Bernoff’s comment that the change being driven by social networking solutions “is the largest thing to happen to American business since the Internet came in." Based on the relatively low adoption rates being reported by Forrester, what was the basis of this statement?

In an attempt to find out (and to hopefully learn something new), I attended a webinar hosted by Awareness Networks and Forrester titled: The Value of Social Networking for the Enterprise. Eric Schurr, VP of Marketing at Awareness was MC of the festivities and Forrester was represented by G. Oliver Young, an analyst responsible for Web 2.0 and Social Computing technologies.

The presentation was interesting, although I had seen most of it in a similar web seminar presented by Forrester and a competitor to Awareness. After the presentation, I asked my question via the online Q&A capabilities of WebEx and…

…Oliver’s connection was lost and the webinar was ended.

I followed up with an email to Eric & Oliver. Eric responded with the comment below. A little “marketingy”, but hey, I’m a marketing guy so I’ll live with it.

“The comment about the impact of social media is a more of a prediction of the future than a statement about the current state. If one looks at the current impact that social media has had and extrapolates where it goes from here, it’s pretty clear it will become part of the basic fabric of how we interact and communicate. It’s already become the most popular way for people 25 years and younger to communicate, and it’s now finding its way into the business world. Think of the impact that email, mobile devices, and the Internet have had on our lives – at one point they were novelties and many people discounted their value, but visionaries saw a time when they would all be a commonplace thing. That’s what we see happening with social media – it’s here to stay, and one day it will not be something special, it will just be the way things are.”

Still no word from Oliver. Stunned silence? Loss of all social networking tools to communicate to the outside world? Oliver? Can you hear me now?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Enterprise Social Media Adoption – Fear Factor or Cool Tools?

I admit I haven’t had the chance to read Groundswell - Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, written by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li of Forrester Research, but it is on my list. I have, however, attended a few of Forrester’s social networking webinars, spent some time on the Groundswell website and read with interest an article in this past Sunday’s Boston Globe titled "Broadsided" that discusses the book.

From what I’ve read, the book details the rapid adoption of blogs, wikis, podcasts, and online video and how these web-based tools have changed the way that companies and their customers interact. The change is so dramatic according to Bernoff, a vice president and principal analyst for Forrester, that "this is the largest thing to happen to American business since the Internet came in." Wow – that’s BIG! Bigger than e-commerce? Bigger than data, voice and video services over IP?

I’m not sure if Bernoff’s statement is based on current market sizing statistics or if it is a prediction of the larger business opportunity, but it is a very intriguing point of view for those of us who follow the social media market. So what’s fueling this market opportunity?

According to Bouzha Cookman, partner at Catlin & Cookman Group, a Concord, MA consulting firm, "[social networking technology] is playing out with companies that are fiercely protective of their brands" and not so much with their own cliental of smaller businesses with under $100 million in annual sales. Cookman also mentions that technology vendors developing solutions designed to help businesses promote their messages on blogs and social networks are capitalizing on “the anxiety they [blogs and social networks] cause in executive suites”.

Interesting take. Is the market really being driven by fear? Are vendors in the space capitalizing on it to drive adoption? I don’t know, but I’d prefer to think that the market is being driven by social media technology vendors who think their solutions are cool and really smart product marketing professionals looking for ways to leverage emerging technologies to promote their brands.