Service-enabling enterprise RSS

Phil Wainewright writes:

RSS needs a bit of help to become acceptable to enterprises. Originally designed for publishing information to the world, it has absolutely no inherent security, which is something of a barrier to enterprise adoption for business applications. The other problem with RSS is a proliferation of formats, which creates a significant disincentive to embark on a development project.

XML appliance vendor Reactivity is launching a box today that provides an off-the-shelf solution to the security problem, by adding access control and SSL encryption to feeds. It can also transform any suitable web services output into the RSS format for onward delivery, thus solving the current dearth of RSS support in most enterprise applications.

Mesh Networking

Jason Pontin writes:

Meshies believe that mesh networks will overthrow traditional networking and communications and create entirely new kinds of distributed software. For the purposes of this column, mesh networks (sometimes called mobile ad hoc networks, or MANETs) are local-area networks whose nodes communicate directly with each other through wireless connections. It is the lack of a hub-and-spoke structure that distinguishes a mesh network. Meshes do not need designated routers: instead, nodes serve as routers for each other. Thus, data packets are forwarded from node to node in a process that network technologists term “hopping.”

Mesh networks will be big business. There are billions of networked devices and embedded processors in the world; many more will be built. The best way to connect all of them will be through mesh networks. But the most disruptive business impact of meshes will be this: telecommunications companies do not own them. Meshes profoundly diminish the organizations that own and manage communications backbones.

But I believe that the most intriguing aspect of mesh networks is their cybernetic qualities. That is, mesh networks are adaptive systems that resemble biological systems (we recently wrote about MIT mathematics professor Norbert Wiener, the founder of cybernetics). Many meshies like to say that they draw their inspiration from the behavior of swarming bees or ants.

Corporate Facebooks

Minority Rapport writes: “I have found companies are unwilling to create social networks like this for their companies for fear of the legal implications if users posted inappropriate information. Of course, major companies do mostly have company directories, but they are far from having the social component of facebook. Bringing facebook to companies would enable employees to identify other employees in the company working on similar projects or who have whatever needed expertise. ”

Telecom Rising?

Om Malik writes:

The telecom industry’s long-awaited turnaround may be under way. For the first time since the bust of 2000, companies are taking risks and making investments, broadband prices are beginning to stabilize after years of freefall, and, most important, demand for high-bandwidth data services is starting to rise.

Driven by the growing popularity of Internet-based services — including voice-over-Internet-protocol phone services from companies such as Vonage and Skype, newly launched services like Google Talk and Google Video, peer-to-file-sharing, and digital-music services from Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), and Yahoo (YHOO) — bandwidth is in high demand. That, along with the growing number of consumers connecting to the Internet with DSL and cable modems, means good news for telecoms such as Level 3 Communications and WilTel that have endured years of losses.

TECH TALK: Internet Tea Leaves: Defining Themes (Part 2)

Server-based Computing is what Google has highlighted more dramatically than perhaps any other company. For Google to win, they have to almost be the anti-Microsoft. What the desktop is to Microsoft, the Web is for Google a CommPuting Grid as a platform for delivering services.

Russell Buckley lays out a future a few years hence: You’re out shopping, with your mobile phone, obviously. Your mobile has taken over as your primary means of making all voice calls – using Google Net’s VoIP, naturally. Why would you use anything else, when it’s free and works everywhere? You don’t even have to search for a good connection like those old GSM phones. Your phone has also become your primary means of accessing the internet, again via Google Net, obviously. Your phone is a thin client, with most storage and processing done on the web. Most people don’t have even a PC anymore. If they want to do work that involves a keyboard and a bigger screen, they just pop their phone into the nearest docking station and away they go. With the added advantage that the phone has ensured that the screen layout, favourite apps, bookmarks and files are all available exactly as you’d want them.

The opportunity is still open for the Google of the Emerging Markets (GEM) and I dont think it will be Google. History has demonstrated that every time there is a platform shift, there is a new winner. We are now on the threshold of just such a platform shift along with a market shift. The next five years will see a billion users from the emerging markets get on the Internet and they will do so via their mobile phones and network computers. While companies like Microsoft and Google with their entrenched positions and cash reserves do have excellent chances of winning the hearts and minds of these new users, I believe that in five years, we will have a different company one that is perhaps just starting up today.

The key drivers for building out GEM will be around leveraging user-generated content, the two-way, multimedia capabilities of the phones, capitalising on the shift from search to subscriptions, and capturing and monetising the users attention. Think of this as the publish-subscribe web, where everyone can be a publisher. I can take photos or short videos from my mobile phone, and then publish them on to a server for sharing with friends and family. They would have set up subscriptions on content published by me and would be alerted immediately (on their mobile phones) of the new content that has been published.

The fact that everyone we know and want to reach can be reached instantly opens up a new world of possibilities it is very different from todays world. In countries like the US, the computer connected to broadband networks is still the centre of the world. That is why I believe this new world will first happen in countries like India. Here, the mobile phone has rapidly emerged as the one device which is available with everyone we know. But the phones are still mostly the voice-SMS devices. This will change with the emergence of 3G networks and better, cheaper phones. India can, thus be, the showcase for tomorrows world.

Tomorrow: Endgame

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