Nokia CTO Interview

[via Om Malik] Exceprts from a Business 2.0 interview with Nokia CTO Pertti Korhonen:

The wireless convergence we have been talking about is finally here. I think you are already seeing 3G [third-generation] networks go live, and next year you will see speeds go up to 3.6 megabits per second. And soon after we will have networks that run at 14.4 megabits per second. Those are DSL replacement speeds.

I think music, imaging, and camcorder-type features are going to be the key drivers in the near future. I think when you bring in things like blogging, it could have some major impact. We bundle our Lifeblog application on Series 60 phones, and it lets you send photos to your blogs. But I think the key is sharing of photos and videos instantly — that’s really the big opportunity.

Information Future

The Mindjet Blog (Francois Lavaste) has a summary and mindmap of his speech given at the Future in Review conference:

The less known challenge for technology is to make information more MEANINGFUL. I believe this is actually the next wave in information technology and software. Companies that will deliver on this benefit will be hugely successful. What I mean by adding meaning to information is composed of:
Putting the information in context
Exposing the relationships that exist within the information
Making the information easy to navigate
Ensuring the information is concise to enable users to see the big picture
Leveraging the power of visualization
Making the information actionable
Bringing information to life for each individual user and team.
Users need flexible, visual interfaces that have the potential to unlock the data and to enable them to act on it. I believe MindManager actually delivers on this promise better than any other productivity application I am familiar with. This is why Mindjet has a great opportunity to change the way we work and help us be more productive.

Conclusion: The next wave in software will be centered on adding meaning to information; making software applications work the way we think, visually, with our right brain. Mindjet is playing a major role in making that revolution happen and we are just beginning.

Developing a Sustainable Edge

Knowledge@Wharton has an interview of John Hagel III and John Seely Brownby Kevin Werbach:

Werbach: You have a new book out, The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends on Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization. Let me start by asking what the only sustainable competitive edge is for business?

Hagel: It is the notion that increasingly executives need to think about strategic advantage in dynamic terms as opposed to static terms. While traditionally strategic advantage was based on geographic distance or core competencies, which were typically defined as static, increasingly the only sustainable edge has to do with the capacity to accelerate capability building. Companies must be able to build distinctive capabilities more rapidly than anyone else. What we focus on are management techniques that are emerging to help build that kind of dynamic strategic advantage.

Brown: It’s not just management techniques but also a set of tools that can facilitate people at the edge being able to perform serious new work, because in this rapidly changing world, you need a constantly evergreen set of capabilities. Your sustainability depends on your ability to develop these capabilities before anybody else.

Hagel: In fact, the title has multiple meanings, as anyone who knows John Seely Brown and myself will appreciate. We are never content with a single meaning. “The only sustainable edge” certainly has to do with the notion of competitive advantage, but it also has to do with the view that the ability to develop capabilities involves operating at the edge. Of course, “edge” has multiple meanings as well. It means the edge of the enterprise, the edge of business processes, geographic edges in terms of emerging economies, demographic edges in terms of younger generations coming in with different mindsets – it’s a whole set of edges that create the opportunity for accelerating capability building.

Brown: The point is that by being able to listen deeply and participate on the edge, you can pick up things before anybody else picks them up, and you can use that to accelerate your own capability building. This implies that it is not just corporate training that is important but rather rich participation with partners who are at the edge as well. One of the questions we ask ourselves is, how do you learn as much from a partner as you learn from creating something yourself. This puts a new spin on why distributed collaboration around the world might be critical in creating this sustainable edge.

Universal Navigator: The Next-Generation Browser?

Dan Farber writes about Joe Firmage:

Joe Firmage has spent the last five years and around $13 million, mostly his own money, trying to create the next generation of Internet navigation and a public/private partnership to build rich media content and a directory. His company, ManyOne Networks, has developed a browser (a variant of Mozilla) called “Universal Navigator” that adds new edge-caching technology to speed display, even for slow dial-up connections.

Universal Navigator is focused on three areas, Firmage said during a brief presentation the Future in Review conference. First, dealing with the data chaos created by having a billion channels; second, taking advantage of 3D-rendering found in offline game consoles to build rich media experiences; and third, a new governance model built on the public broadcasting model.

He showed off an example of an information portal about the Earth within the Universal Navigator, and said that ManyOne and partners would create other taxonomies and portals for topics such as health, sports and business. The Earth portal has rich, 3D graphics and an index for easily navigating up or down or across related topics. He showed an example of content created for the browser that combines satellite imagery and data about the recent devastating tsunami.

User Requirements for Mobile Messaging Devices

Ferris Research Weblog says there are two: “push technology and a useable keyboard.

You simply need to look at the success of the RIM BlackBerry platform, the current king of the hill when it comes to mobile email.

The BlackBerrys push architecture makes synchronization a thing of the past. If your BlackBerry is powered on and you have network coverage, your device is in sync. This is a very good thing because synchronization is a concept that non-technical users have never really wanted to deal with, and frankly never will.

Once you have push, some type of keyboard is absolutely essential. SMS from a numeric keypad maybe fine for the kids but it’s not for most professionals. Unless youre comfortable conversing with your colleagues exclusively in the Internet shorthand of leet, a QWERTY keyboard is a must to compose responses to the emails that have been pushed to you.

TECH TALK: Shift-Ctrl: Singapore

I visited Singapore June 13-16 for CommunicAsia. It was almost two years since my previous visit. The decision to visit was made easier by the incredibly cheap airfares round-trip to Singapore from Mumbai on Jet Airways was available for Rs 14,000 plus taxes. (Ironically, my Mumbai-Chennai round-trips are now more expensive!)

Along with my colleague (Veer), I stayed at New Park Hotel in Little India. Most other hotels I checked were full. (Presumably I wasnt the only one making use of the cheap airfares, though I guess it was probably more the CommunicAsia crowd.) On all my previous Singapore trips, a must-visit destination was Mustafa Centre for shopping.

This time around, as I made the trip to the Singapores Shopping Mecca, I could not help feeling that the excitement of shopping there was missing almost everything (including my favourite Kellogs cereals) were now available in India. Over the past couple years, Indian retail has been slowly coming of age as malls have proliferated and with them have come the availability of the international brands. In fact, as Veer remarked, even the ads in Singapore seemed very similar to the ones in India!

Among the Indian friends I met, one common point of discussion was the possibility of returning to India. As one of them put it, Singapore is now stuck between China and India China has taken the manufacturing, and India is now taking the services. For most of them, making India home once again was a possibility that was no longer an impossibility. Todays India at least in pockets offers very good quality of life and very competitive salaries. Work being done in Indian companies is also moving up the value chain. And all said and done, home is home. Yes, many challenges remain. But now, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

There is also a sense I got from the people I spoke to of wanting to participate in what is being seen as Indias transformation. The next 3-5 years are ones where there is an expectation of a revolution perhaps like China of a decade ago. There is a keenness of wanting to participate in it be an agent of change.

And so, as I walked the aisles of the expo and attended the sessions of CommunicAsia, I could not but feel a sense of dj vu. In 1996, I was sitting at Internet World in Singapore and wondering how the Internet could help change the lives of NRIs (Non-Resident Indians). Now, with cellphones proliferating to more than 50,000 new users a day in India, I started to wonder how these new technologies could change the lives of MRIs (Mobile Resident Indians).

Tomorrow: Singapore (continued)

Continue reading