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Friday, May 30, 2008

The Cloud Computing Portal


The Cloud Computing Portal is a community edited database that makes the cloud vendor selection process easier, by helping you find a cloud provider who supports the environment you need. It actually has Cloud Vendor Proliferation charts that show how this new type of service is growing. The start date was May 1st and 57 vendors had registered by May 9th.



Thursday, May 29, 2008

HP in the Cloud

In "HP weds cloud..." , Hewlett-Packard has apparently outlined their approach to cloud computing. They are merging their high-performance computing unit with the Web 2.0 and cloud computing infrastructure businesses. This is being called the "Scalability Computing Initiative"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Amazon's Cloud Overtakes Websites

May 27, 2008


May 1 IBM, Google Partnership Announcement

In this video, IBM and Google announce their joint cloud computing initiative. As I said in my earlier post, Google and IBM have teamed up to provide a "Google-like" infrastructure. Built on top of IBM technology, this is an open platform designed to support global collaboration in the design and development of enterprise applications that can leverage cloud computing concepts.

"The Missing Piece in Cloud Computing"

First Software as a Service - SaaS...
Then Hardware as a Service - HaaS...
Now, Middleware as a Service - MaaS?

GigaSpaces' CMO Geva Perry will be presenting on middleware virtualization at SYS-CON's Virtualization Conference & Expo, June 23-24, in New York City.

Geva believes that in order to achieve the full potential of "cloud computing" we need a broader definition of virtualization. He is pushing a complete de-coupling of the logical components of an application (represented by the software stack) and the physical resources. In the case of middleware, whether it is data access, messaging or the business logic, the physical location of the resources should not matter to the developer and to the end user. He will explore these thoughts in his presentation propose a solution, including a live demo.

For more see The Missing Piece in Cloud Computing: Middleware Virtualization

Monday, May 26, 2008

How the NRO can leverage Cloud Computing

Last Thursday, May 22nd, I had the pleasure of attending an Intelligence Community Executive Forum hosted by Carahsoft. The topic of this forum was ""Innovative Technology for the Intelligence Enterprise". The speakers and panelist focused on how the National Reconnaissance Office could leverage information technology in support of it's advanced mission needs. Although neither cloud computing or netcentric warfare were on the agenda, both topics seemed to be central to where the agency is heading. Comments that peak my interest are below. This was an unclassified event so there are no secrets here (I hope).

Michele Weslander Quaid
Chief Technology Officer
Deputy Chief Information Officer
National Reconnaissance Office
  • The ODNI wants the community to transition from the "need to know" mentality to a "need to provide" way of thinking. In doing this the community must move from it's mission silos towards web technology and into the netcentric world
  • The NRO is an information services enterprise with its deliverable being value added information.

Guljit Khurana
President/CEO
Centrifuge Systems

  • An event drive posture for information is now very important
  • Persistent and temporal information analysis are critical to success

Ron Flax
Solution Architect
Hewlett Packard Software

  • Industry is moving towards virtualization and automation
  • Process change is critically needed in the NRO in order to allow technology to work

Bob Lozano
Co-founder
Appistry

  • In order to build applications that work naturally in a cloud computing environment, you need to virtualize the application through the use of fabric software
  • A different approach to solving bandwidth challenges is to move the application to where the data resides instead of moving large amounts of data to the application

Tim Stewart
Chief, IT Strategy and Technology Assessment
National Reconnaissance Office

  • In order to realize the full value of virtualization, one needs to develop a real architecture. Government is not good at this which leaves the job for industry to complete.

S. K. Vinod
Co-founder and Headquarters Advocate
Xsigo Systems

  • Input/Output virtualization is an important but under use aspect of modern IT infrastructures


Lt. Col Kirk Jester
Chief of Information Assurance (IA) Architecture and Governance
National Reconnaissance Office

  • The NRO has 20-year-old systems
  • There are no real good IT architectures
  • The NRO is going back to the basics
  • The organization has lost track of it's network endpoints and has trouble defining the perimeter

Lewis Shepherd
Chief Technology Officer
Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments

  • There are 30,000 security holes in XP. Vista addresses that problem
  • Vista is a trustworthy operating system, developed with the NSA
  • The user experience is impinged by the extra security in Vista, but that is by design
  • Vista is a platform for an entire end-to-end trusted stack
  • Internet Explorer introduces security problems in the world of "mash-ups" because the browser is a multi-user system with multiple untrusted domains
  • Microsoft is a "big time" provider of cloud services. It is also working on intelligence agency clouds
  • There are approximately 500 million installations of the Microsoft operating system worldwide. When there is an operating system anomaly, these systems provide about 600,000 kernal reports a day. This forms the basis of a global early warning system for hackers and malware attacks
  • Netcentricity needs a similar low-level warning system
  • Microsoft cloud computing services will be built around MashupOS technology

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Green Cloud Computing

The other day I was asked "Why is cloud computing considered green?" Wouldn't you know, The Economist provided the perfect answer.

"In future the geography of the cloud is likely to get even more complex. “Virtualisation” technology already allows the software running on individual servers to be moved from one data centre to another, mainly for back-up reasons. One day soon, these “virtual machines” may migrate to wherever computing power is cheapest, or energy is greenest. Then computing will have become a true utility—and it will no longer be apt to talk of computing clouds, so much as of a computing atmosphere."

Oracle in the Cloud

Oracle (NSDQ: ORCL) is building new data centers to support cloud computing. The company is investing $285M and will break ground on the 200,000-square-foot facility this summer. Oracle's president Safra Catz said that the center will help support its on-demand business, plus research and development and customer service operations.

Oracle's on-demand software operation grossed $174 million in revenue in its fiscal quarter ended March 26, up 23% from the same quarter last year. Based on fairly consistent quarter-to-quarter growth rates over the past few years, Oracle On Demand is on track to gross around $700 million in annual revenue for the company's fiscal year ending in June, and Oracle cites 3.6 million users of its on-demand applications.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Explaining Cloud Computing

In the video Explaining Cloud Computing Christopher Barnatt, author of ExplainingComputers.com, and Associate Professor of Computing and Organizations in Nottingham University Business School, provides a very understandable explaination of cloud computing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cloud Computing supports Net-Centric Warfare

Netcentric warfare theory contains the following four tenets in its hypotheses:

1) A robustly networked force improves information sharing;
2) Information sharing enhances the quality of information and shared situational awareness;
3) Shared situational awareness enables collaboration and self-synchronization, and enhances sustainability and speed of command; and
4) These, in turn, dramatically increase mission effectiveness.

John West's blog article Spelling out the benefits of cloud computing for organizations provides a list of cloud computing advantages. Those advantages were:

1) Software evaluation with no install and no hassle
2) Quick turn around on surge, variable, or unanticipated requirements
3) The cost of entry for new business opportunities will be lowered, driving innovation and use
4) Businesses will do more analysis of the data they already have, because it’s affordable for them now

Seems like a pretty good fit to me :-)

Microsoft vs Google in Cloud Computing

Many took note of the Randall Stross essay in the New York Times last weekend. In it he succintly described why Microsoft is failing in it's attempt to bridge the next major shift in the computing industry. The cloud computing relevant points seem to be:

1) Microsoft's online services aren't doing well at all. The last time it made money online was fiscal 2005. Microsoft's online business actually lost $74 million last year.

2) Google--which makes about 90 percent of its revenues from online advertising--made $1.5 billion in 2005, $3 billion in 2006, and $4.2 billion in 2007. "Google’s share of searches in the United States has increased to almost 67.9 percent in March 2008 from 58.3 percent in March 2006. During the same period, Microsoft’s share has dropped to 6.3 percent from 13.1 percent."

With another view on Microsoft, Chris Capossela, Microsoft SVP, made the following comments:

  • [Microsoft]will see more and more companies abandon their own in-house computer systems and shift to "cloud computing," a less expensive alternative.
  • [Microsoft] plans to be "agnostic" by offering customers the choice between a traditional licensing model or a subscription-based service model embraced by rivals like Salesforce.com and Google.
  • "In five years, 50 percent of our Exchange mailboxes will be Exchange Online,"

No wonder they need Yahoo.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

IBM at Forrester IT Forum

At the Forrester IT Forum yesterday in Las Vegas, Rick Lechner, VP Enterprise Systems at IBM, made the following comments

  • The changing face of globalization (transformation from exporting to multi-nationals to truly distributed global enterprise).
  • The rising tide of information (more devices, need for real-time analytics).
  • New business models that are evolving as new technology arrives (B2B, B2C, new uses of the Internet, rise of social networking).

IBM is using an internal cloud to help researches understand these trends. Google, Univ of Washington, and 6 other universities are also working on how to design apps for the cloud.

Thank you to Vinay Pai's blog for this insight.

HP & EDS

In an interesting take on his Enterprise Architecture blog, Chris Pearson sees the HP acquisition of EDS as a ploy by HP to remain relevant in a cloud computing world.

"The next step is cloud computing. With outsourcing offering, the market was more or less limited to big companies able to manage global contracts when streamlining their IT operations. With cloud computing concept, computing power is seen like energy. It may be provided everywhere like a commodity. Small and medium enterprise would afford then to be connected. To be able to compete on this market is the real motivation of the acquisition which may result in a consolidated revenue of $38 billion in services behind IBM with its $54 billion."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Library of National Intelligence (LNI) - A Possible Cloud Application

In the MAZZ-INT Blog a couple of weeks ago, Joe Mazzafro artile on "Intelliigence and the Concept of Customer" stated that a "realistic business model for the IC to assume is that of the modern IT enabled and accessed publicly funded library --- but with its own content provisioning capability"

In his description customers would submit "Requests for Information (RFIs)" that would be either produced or procured by the IC and organized for effective use. He saw this as akin to the the Library of National Intelligence (LNI) concept that is part of the DNI's Analytic Transformation Initiative.

I saw it as a perfect application for cloud computing.

"Like any IT enabled virtual library, the LNI will allow not just for reuse of intelligence, but for simultaneous use of its products and services. More importantly with existing Business Intelligence (BI) analytics and Customer Relations Management (CRM) software, the LNI can provide the IC's management with both the quantitative and qualitative metrics for what is being used where why as well as what intelligence needs are going under or unmet. Moreover, BI and CRM capabilities in an LNI context would allow the IC to segment it offerings so the IC can align what it produces with the detail, timeliness, and classification needs of the spectrum of intelligence users from the President, to an ambassador on station, to a military squad on patrol, or a customs agent in the port of Long Beach."

With appropriate security and access control, this seems to also be a needed function in the net-centric warfare world.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Net-Centric Enterprise Services - An Update

Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) is about to enter the initial operational test and evaluation phase. NCES are a set of capabilities that support network-centric warfare operations and information sharing. It also allows users to find and access relevant information and to expose data for others to discover. The system employs service-oriented architecture (SOA) to evolve military capabilities and to share information.

The NCES concept was approved in 2004, and Milestone B was achieved in March 2007. Milestone C, which authorizes the initial operational test and evaluation phase, was scheduled for this month. The outcome of the test and evaluation will be used in the Full Deployment Decision Review, which will give NCES personnel the authority to scale up services to support a greater number of users, weapons systems and business systems and to move to full operational capability during a 12-month period. The services will be exposed in registries and available to a larger military user base supporting all branches, agencies and combatant commands.
The NCES capabilities are categorized into four product lines: collaboration, content discovery and delivery, SOA Foundation and the Army Knowledge Online/Defense Knowledge Online (AKO/DKO) portal.

As the NCES moves forward, agency personnel are examining the shortfalls in the program and finding solutions. One area that DISA is currently focused on is federation. The agency is working on how to federate all the effective SOA efforts underway across the Defense Department so they are seamless to the warfighter. The military branches are developing their own services in many instances, and DISA wants to take advantage of those efforts, leverage them in real time and reuse them when appropriate.

(Note: The solutions needed to make NCES successful are also being tackled by cloud computing vendors. )

Web ResourcesNet-Centric Enterprise Services: www.disa.mil/nces/
Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion: www.disa.mil/main/prodsol/gig_be.html
Defense Knowledge Online: www.nowaitmedia.com/brac/index.asp

Microsoft Renews Yahoo Bid

Microsoft renews Yahoo bid and is now offering to buy a piece of Yahoo. I believe this is just the opening of the second round.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cloud Computing Risk

CIO.com reviewed the top three concerns that the IT executives have regarding the adoption of cloud computing - security, latency, and SLA.

These concerns seem similar to those previously assigned to grid computing, software as a service and just about every new capability that comes along. While I agree that the concerns are real, I also feel that as the "boundaries" between intranets and extranets are falling away because solutions to these concerns have been found and implemented. If this weren't true, the internet would have failed as a commercial infrastructure long ago.

Chirag Mehta, Architect and Design and Innovation strategist for the SAP Office of the CEO, addressed these concerns in his Cloud Computing blog

" Security

Many IT executives make decisions based on the perceived security risk instead of the real security risk. IT has traditionally feared the loss of control for SaaS deployments based on an assumption that if you cannot control something it must be unsecured. I recall the anxiety about the web services deployment where people got really worked up on the security of web services because the users could invoke an internal business process from outside of a firewall.The IT will have to get used to the idea of software being delivered outside from a firewall that gets meshed up with on-premise software before it reaches the end user. The intranet, extranet, DMZ, and the internet boundaries have started to blur and this indeed imposes some serious security challenges such as relying on a cloud vendor for the physical and logical security of the data, authenticating users across firewalls by relying on vendor's authentication schemes etc. , but assuming challenges as fears is not a smart strategy.

Latency

Just because something runs on a cloud it does not mean it has latency. My opinion is quite the opposite. The cloud computing if done properly has opportunities to reduce latency based on its architectural advantages such as massively parallel processing capabilities and distributed computing. The web-based applications in early days went through the same perception issues and now people don't worry about latency while shopping at Amazon.com or editing a document on Google docs served to them over a cloud. The cloud is going to get better and better and the IT has no strategic advantages to own and maintain the data centers. In fact the data centers are easy to shut down but the applications are not and the CIOs should take any and all opportunities that they get to move the data centers away if they can.

SLA

Recent Amazon EC2 meltdown and RIM's network outage created a debate around the availability of a highly centralized infrastructure and their SLAs. The real problem is not a bad SLA but lack of one. The IT needs a phone number that they can call in an unexpected event and have an up front estimate about the downtime to manage the expectations. May be I am simplifying it too much but this is the crux of the situation. The fear is not so much about 24x7 availability since an on-premise system hardly promises that but what bothers IT the most is inability to quantify the impact on business in an event of non-availability of a system and set and manage expectations upstream and downstream. The non-existent SLA is a real issue and I believe there is a great service innovation opportunity for ISVs and partners to help CIOs with the adoption of the cloud computing by providing a rock solid SLA and transparency into the defect resolution process."

He also address some valuable innovation opportunities. I agree with his views and hope that more CIOs do as well.

Grid vs. Cloud - May 17, 2008

From Geva Perry's April 25th blog

Cloud Computing overtaking the term Grid Computing

With the term "cloud computing" rapidly being hyped everywhere, I did this little exercise on Google Trends to see how it fares against its predecessor "grid computing". Here's the result -- cloud is just about to overtake grid:


Cloudvsgrid_2


If we zoom in on cloud computing it looks like this:


Cloudtrend


We are at the very beginning of the hype-cycle, and not yet at the "peak of deflated expectations". If it were a stock, I'd say BUY for now."


For a slightly different view, here is software as a service (SaaS) versus cloud computing.


Blogsphere Clouds - May 16, 2008

The cloud is billowing in the blogsphere !!

Virtual Computing in the Cloud -- How a Universal Dialtone Will ...
Virtual Cloud Computing represents the next wave of virtualization and offers significant market opportunities by providing a new, simpler, and much more pervasive platform for on-demand, desktop and application service delivery. ... Latest News from AJAXWORLD MAGAZINE - http://ajax.sys-con.com/

Virtualization Viewpoint: Cloud Computing Casts Shadow on Walled ...
As a technology provider that helps application companies embrace cloud computing by virtualizing the applications to run on any cloud, I was a bit disappointed with Google's appengine announcement. It appears that Google is embracing ... Latest News from ENTERPRISE OPEN SOURCE MAGAZINE - http://opensource.sys-con.com/

The Missing Piece in Cloud Computing: Middleware Virtualization
To achieve the full potential of 'cloud computing' we need a broader definition of virtualization, and that is the complete de-coupling of the logical components of an application (represented by the software stack) and the physical ... Latest News from JAVA DEVELOPER'S JOURNAL - http://java.sys-con.com/

Gartner on Cloud Computing / Yahoo vs. Icahn- May 15, 2008

Gartner thinks that cloud computing may be the next big thing:

By 2012, 80 percent of Fortune 1000 enterprises will pay for some cloud computing service and 30 percent of them will pay for cloud computing infrastructure.

Through 2010, more than 80 percent of enterprise use of cloud computing will be devoted to very large data queries, short-term massively parallel workloads, or IT use by startups with little to no IT infrastructure.

According to Gartner analysts Daryl Plummer and Thomas Bittman at the Gartner Emerging Technologies conference in Las Vegas Cloud computing is largely misunderstood, but it’s a big deal. It could,in fact, be as big as the e-business revolution.

See more at Cloud computing: A look at the myths.

Carl Icahn and the the Yahoo Board of Directors are apparently having a very pointed discussion now. Mr. Icahn implies that the Yahoo board is not fulfilling their responsibilities to the stockholders. The back and forth is explained at Yahoo to Icahn: You misunderstand

Yahoo-Microsoft Merger Proxy Fight - May 14, 2008

As I alluded to last week, "It's not over 'till it's over"

Carl Ichan Looking to Start Yahoo Proxy Fight

Money – The Microsoft-Yahoo Merger may not be over. Billionaire investor Carl C. Icahn is considering the prospect of starting a proxy fight to gain several seats on Yahoo's board in hopes of restarting negotiations with Microsoft.
I can only imagine that Mr. Ichan is looking at cloud computing as fertile ground.

Now in the ring Sun/Amazon! - May 04, 2008

The Sun/Amazon cloud may be announced soon. Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz delivered a short keynote at Startup Camp in San Francisco, an adjunct event to the JavaOne Conference. According to Om Malik at "buzzya", he let on to some interesting cloud computing news coming out later this week.

Important Article on Cloud Computing and Jeff Bezos from Amazon

More on the Sun Cloud, know as "Project Hydrazine"

"Project Hydrazine is slated to deliver immersive, creative experiences in the cloud via services. Rich Green, executive vice president of software at Sun, told me that a storage service, similar to Amazon's S3, would be available later this year. The company is also working on tools to make it easier for developers, as well as consumers, to mash up applications.

Sun CTO Robert Brewin described the emergent Project Hydrazine as a combination of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Microsoft Live Mesh and Google Analytics."

Microsoft gives up on Yahoo? - May 04, 2008

"Cloud computing is far more than a concept. With Broadband Internet connections now all-but-ubiquitous and microcomputers and locally-run software now so trouble-prone, Cloud Computing's time has come."

This is a quote from Steve Stroh's newly started blog on cloud computing. Steve has been writing about about Broadband Wireless Internet Access systems and technology since beginning a column about wireless for Internet Service Providers called Wireless Data Developments in Boardwatch Magazine in April, 1997. He started this last February blog because he hadn't "seen any good coverage of what the Cloud Computing trend makes possible from an ordinary user's perspective".Well Steve, I think things are going to change now.

Last week, I attended the IBM Business Partner Leadership Conference in Los Angeles. While this conference is obviously meant to build the IBM brand and business, "cloud computing" was highlighted as the new computing model. This vision changes the idea of convergence from "everything in one device" to having all information "in the cloud" accessible by any device via industry standard protocols and interfaces. To that end, IBM and Google have teamed up to build a "Google-like" technical infrastructure upon which business enterprises can leverage cloud computing to have ubiquitous access to information globally no matter where it resides. Microsoft's announcement yesterday that it had given up on its attempt to buy Yahoo, now leaves Google and IBM in the perfect position to now define the future of cloud computing, right?

NOT!

Mark my words. The other shoe hasn't dropped yet. Cloud computing could completely change the mobile computing world. Since mobile device would serve as portals into the cloud, they would need to comply with any standards that would be put in place. An IBM/Google cloud platform could spell the end to the Microsoft dominated world. Just on Friday I was exchanging thoughts with Adam Zawel, INmobile.org Chief Collaboration Officer, on how the emerging battle between IBM/Google and Microsoft/Yahoo could drive future mobile device design just like the operating system shakeout (Windows Mobile vs. Symbian vs. Palm vs. RIM) did earlier. Cloud platform standards will basically determine what mobile function reside where.
IMHO there is more to this story than meets the eye.

Here's some reading for you Steve!

Not Just a Pretty Dream: Why Cloud Computing May Be the Most Durable 2.0 Tech

What is cloud computing?
Understanding the Cloud Computing/SaaS/PaaS markets: a Map of the Players in the Industry
Intel: "Web 2.0"-style cloud computing just a passing vapor

IBM, Google and the Blue Business Platform - May 01, 2008

Today was good !!

This morning. there was a main session built around "CIO 2.0". The basic premise was that CIOs have now earned a seat at the business management table. With that privilege, they now need to have something worthwhile to say. In accordance with the session's title then, CIOs are now at a crossroads ( or as Bob DeRodes, EVP and CIO of Home Depot put it, in the cross-hairs). CIOs now need to decide if they are going to block the influx of Web 2.0 technologies or if they are going to adopt, embrace and leverage these new capabilities within the enterprise.
This discussion clearly set up the big news for the day. Sam Palmisano, IBM President & CEO, and Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman and CEO, announcement of the Blue Business Platform. A much better John Simonds provides a much better description of the session in his blog, Delusions of Adequacy, but basically, Google and IBM have teamed up to provide a "Google-like" technical infrastructure. Built on top of IBM technology, this is an open platform designed to support global collaboration in the design and development of enterprise applications that can leverage cloud computing concepts. This really changes the meaning of convergence. Instead of waiting for everything to converge into one device, information and services will all converge into the computing cloud. Interaction with the cloud, however, would be standardized across the industry. In that way, any device you have would be able to interact seamlessly with all information data-types within the cloud.

This vision really is Web 2.0 creating real business value.

The coming cloud - April 30, 2008

I attended the IBM Public Sector briefing this morning. The IBM executives were clearly basking in a financial performance glow. After ending 2007 with increases in revenue, profit and earnings per share, IBM also turned in an impressive 1Q’08. This being a partner conference, a big highlight was the fact that 36% of IBM’s revenue came from partners. The first quarter saw a 15.5% year-on-year growth of partner channel revenue. The public sector business saw a 19% revenue growth. Looking into the future, public sector spending is expected to grow 4.8% in 2008 with over $1.5T in revenue opportunity through 2011. The big industry trends affecting the government customer are:

1) Changing demographics
2) Globalization
3) Environmental concerns
4) Societal relationships
5) Threats to social stability and order; and the
6) Impact of technology.

As far as technology goes, “Cloud Computing” is now the wave of the future. According to Frank Gens of IDC, the IT industry’s future is being shaped by disruptive customers, disruptive solutions and disruptive industry partnerships. Of particular note to me was his view on the “mash-up” of enterprise social networking and information. According to his studies, 14% of enterprises have already deployed social networking environments while 27% of these enterprises plan to do so in 2008. The proliferation of these collaboration platforms on top of the 10x growth in information over the next five years will result in “Eureka 2.0”, which I took as his description of an explosive use of Web 2.0 technologies within the enterprise.

Linking this back to my earlier blog, Mr. Gens also described a move to what I would describe as non-traditional solution platforms. In this world of open computing, instead of choosing between Microsoft or IBM, future IT infrastructures will be built on top of a Google or an Amazon platforms. In order to meet constituent expectation and budget constraints, Government 2.0 will also need to leverage this cloud.

Google, Cloud Computing, and the US Intelligence Community - April 29, 2008

Just arrived in Los Angeles for the IBM Business Partner Leadership Conference. IBM is billing this as a "new" conference, but I have my doubts. I am, however, very interested in hearing many of the speakers, particularly Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google. His presentation on "The Future of the Web, Cloud Computing and Innovation" should be quite interesting.

Since my focus is on technology in the public sector, the impact of Web 2.0 technologies is really turning my head. According to Maryann Lawlor of Signal Magazine, even government agencies are recognizing the effect of Web 2.0. According to her, "The Web 2.0 revolution is impelling cultural change faster and to a greater degree than ever experienced in recorded history, and democracies that answer to their populaces already are feeling the effects of that change—and ignore those effects at their own risk."

William Vajda, chief information officer (CIO), U.S. Department of Education, and co-chairman of the best practices committee, CIO Council is also watching these technologies closely. He describes Google as an internet intermediaries— an entities that is willing to step in and give the people what they want because they have access to the questions that people actually ask. This position makes then better positioned to know what is on the public’s mind than some government officials.

The U.S. intelligence community is also getting into the act. For example the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has made these technologies part of its information-sharing acceleration campaign. They have even developed a Wikipedia knock-off called Intellipedia for intelligence community.

For more on Web 2.0 in the US Government see Signal Magazine's online article, Governing in a Web 2.0 World .

Location Based Services - April 25, 2008


INmobile.org is a exclusive community for executives in wireless industry. As a member, I have the opportunity to participate in a number of interesting discussions about mobile and wireless technology. Here’s a summary of the points made in a recent discussion about location based services. Thanks goes to Adam Zawel for this excellent summary.

CARRIER’S ROLE

While no one suggests that operators should EXCLUSIVELY focus on their own location-based applications, there is debate about how fully the carriers should embrace the open 3rd party route:

Ashish Thomas from Singapore Telecom agrees with Walt Doyle of uLocate:

“the business models are simply not there yet to merit or justify one route or another…if a carrier goes the third party way there is fear of losing (or diminishing ) a potentially large revenue source”

Lloyd Williams from NewStep Networks adds:

“…High volume services with relatively generic functionality that can be applied across a broad base of users is ….[the operators’] sweet spot. Highly customizable applications are more of a challenge and therefore the internet model works better.Most comments, however, focus squarely on the value to carriers (and especially the ecosystem overall) if carriers focus on location as an “enabler”,

Asais Sudit, CEO of LOC-AID Technologies says:

“Inter-carrier raw location data, along with some additional attributes, will create the necessary ecosystem for third party developers/channels to make location an indispensable part of mobility.”

Tony Rose from Drop In Media adds:

“…opening up the location API's to developers and create a competitive environment where the best applications will float to the top.”

Matt Kapp, CEO of Ozmota says:

"Location is a key variable to many innovative applications, including the ability to create new marketplaces from the virtual representation of space."

Larry Corvari (a regional U.S. service provider executive) says he wants to provide
“open access via a standard set of published web objects” and support his enterprise customers with presence and LBS capabilities."

Paul Nerger, dotMobi suggests
“If I was an operator, I would open up and start by publishing my data via OpenCellID.”The carriers can provide value on top of a free or low priced location API service:

Matthew Roth from StudioComm (WPP agency) says:

“… it makes much more sense to open up the location APIs and charge for access to the demographic data of the subscriber.… combined with lat/long within a mobile web or SMS based campaign would provide the necessary catalyst for brands and marketers to embrace mobile in the same ways they now embrace the Internet.”….In any case, the ecosystem may not wait around for the carriers too much longer:

Kevin Jackson of Sirius Computer Solutions:

“Absent industry-wide cooperation and adoption of an open source philosophy, competition and consolidation will force many carriers to fail.”

Ole Jakob Thorsen, Arctic ApS CEO describes a start-up solution that can turn Kevin’s warning into reality.

“…any service provider with access to user SIM cards can build any type of LBS without even telling the operator about it”

IBM Business Partner Leadership Conference - April 23, 2008

I just completed registration for the IBM Business Partner Leadership Conference. This is a new invitation-only conference being held this year in Los Angeles from Wednesday, April 30th through Friday, May 2nd. I'm looking forward to renewing my IBM contacts "in person" versus the "virtual" meetings that have become such a fixture of today's business world. If you're going to be there, please send me an email and let's catch up. If not, check out my blog next week for my personal insights.

(From the IBM website)
The conference will bring together executives from IBM Business Partner firms around the world, IBM senior-level executives, and recognized leaders from across business and industry, renowned academics, and many others. Ravi Marwaha, general manager, IBM Global Business Partners, will kick off the conference at an afternoon General Session on Wednesday, April 30th in the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.Recently announced speakers include:
  • IBM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sam Palmisano
  • IBM Executive Vice President Nick Donofrio
  • Google Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Eric Schmidt
  • Dr. Warren Bennis, one of the world’s foremost authorities on leadership
  • Dr. Dan Esty, an acclaimed author and environmentalist
  • Frank Gens, senior vice president, Research, IDC
  • Harvey Koeppel, executive director of the Center for CIO Leadership

In addition to General Sessions in the Nokia Theatre, geography and business unit breakouts will be held in the Los Angeles Convention Center adjacent to the theatre.Chief decision makers from firms around the world are invited to attend the conference and contribute to a dialogue covering topical issues, trends, strategic directions and opportunities.

Telephone & Web = WOW !! - April 21, 2008

The power of the Internet and the web lies in its ability to provide access to information. The mobile web takes this one step further with its ability to provide information relevant to a specific location. Although the promise of this marriage is mind boggling, computer and smart-phone keyboards have slowed the adoption and widespread use of these technologies. Well, things are changing fast.
Over the last year, interactive voice and speech technology has advanced so fast that it is now very easy to interface with the web through your voice. Coupling this advancement with the widespread adoption of web services and the explosive growth of data capable phones and networks has resulted in free services that are simply amazing !!
Take the coupling of Jott and Mentat. Jott not only gives you the ability to send emails and text messages using only your voice, but through the use of web services it gives you the ability to work interactively with Mentat, a very capable life management application. This is not the only available service, but anyone can sign up and start leveraging this capability for free !! (And I'm not talking about a 3 month trial here).
This is just the beginning. Just wait until you combine this with your personal and business social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook !!
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Jott is a free a voice to text service that makes staying organized and in touch easy. Jott allows consumers to easily and safely send emails and text messages, set reminders, organize lists, and post to web services with their voice. Since its introduction in late 2006, Jott has made world class voice transcription accessible to anyone with a cell phone.
Mentat is a free project-sharing service that can be used via a browser or supported device to track tasks and projects for yourself and in conjunction with other people in your network.
Individuals can use it for keeping track of personal items, like groceries, videos, errands, etc. Invite a household member or a friend and suddenly you have a group list that anyone can update, any time, or place. Companies can use Mentat for internal projects and customer relations (like bug tracking, for instance). Mentat also lets each user combine all of their shared projects into a single view, making a unique mashup of work projects and your own personal shared and private projects.

The Power of Family Oral History - April 19, 2008

Although I just started this yesterday, I've decided to backdate this entry to last Saturday, April 12, 2008. That's when my family had it's 3rd Annual Black History Party. The main reason I'm doing this is because of the life lesson that experience taught me. That lesson was the power of family oral history.

For a little background, my 8-yr old niece, Natalie, has been very interested in black history since she could comprehend the subject. As a result, her parents have been obliged to feed her curiosity through books, trips and everyday discussions. As a result of the fascinating stories this interest has uncovered, three years ago, our family started having these black history parties. The typical format is to set a topic that selected attendees would speak on in the hopes of sparking discussion and enlightenment among the guest. This year, the topic was education. I spoke on "When the Naval Academy Gave Up Jim Crow", others spoke on Historically Black Colleges & Universities and African American Fraternities and Sororities. Of particular note to me personally was the discussion led by my father on the struggle for educational equality in the deep south during the 1960's. He actually played a part in the operational activities of the Child Development Group of Mississippi (CDGM) in Biloxi and Gulfport, and broadened the discussion through references to Polly Greenberg's THE DEVIL HAS SLIPPERY SHOES.

Now this is where the Six Degrees of Separation theory proves itself:
  • I am the son of Gilbert Jackson ...
  • In the mid-60's, my father Gilbert worked as an activist in the Child Development Group of Mississippi and knew Marian Wright Edelman ......
  • During the same time period,Marian Wright Edelman, the first African-American woman admitted to the Mississippi State Bar Association, served as a lawyer for the CDGM. Edelman later in 1973, founded the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) ....
  • Marian Edelman is "a friend and intellectual soul mate" to former First Lady and current Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, who served as chairman of the CDF !
  • In 1992, Edelman and the CDF began its "No Child Left Behind" campaign, famously championed by President George W. Bush only three days after taking office in January 2001 !!

So I'm currently.....

  • 3 degrees from one possible future President of the United States - Hillary Clinton...
  • 4 degrees from the other two contenders - Barack Obama and John McCain...
  • 3 degrees from the current President of the United States - George W. Bush...
  • 4 degrees from former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush ....
  • and still have up to two degrees left to reach anyone else in the world !!!!!!!!!

Bottom line - I would never have known this without my father passing his oral history to us all during the family African American History Party.


If you are interested in contributing to America's Oral History, please participate in National Public Radios's PR's StoryCorps project.

So much to blog ....Entry for April 19, 2008

When I started this yesterday, I had a list of about five things I wanted to say on this blog. I then decided on a strategy to list topics as I thought of them and then only have one entry a day. Then later, I heard this great sucking sound. It was as if a vacuum reached into my head and started sucking out my thoughts....
LBS, Networking, Blacks at the Naval Academy, Changing jobs, today's Hawaiian party, bowling last night, etc., etc., etc,....
It seemed like "The Blog" wanted to know everything, and my purpose in life was to type it !!
Well, needless to say, my strategy went out the window. I don't quite know how I', going to do this yet, but the experience is already doing something to me :-)

Hello World ! - May 18, 2008

I've been toying with the idea of doing a blog for about six months now. Initially I didn't see how any of my contributions to the blogosphere would matter to the world. The importance of this view, however, waned as I became more and more absorbed by the power of Web 2.0. As my participation in these technologies (Facebook, LinkedIn, RSS, wikis, etc.) increased, I began to understand the uniqueness of my personal interactions. This made the idea of doing a blog important on a personal level. As my on-line network grew, I then realized that a blog is not really for the rest world. It is really a most effective means for conversing with you own personal, on-line network. So today, I start my blog and in so doing, I start my public conversation in earnest.