CEO Dashboards

Business Week writes: ” The dashboard is the CEO’s killer app, making the gritty details of a business that are often buried deep within a large organization accessible at a glance to senior executives. So powerful are the programs that they’re beginning to change the nature of management, from an intuitive art into more of a science. Managers can see key changes in their businesses almost instantaneously — when salespeople falter or quality slides — and take quick, corrective action.”

Grameen extends to Electricity and Water

WorldChanging writes: “The Grameen Foundation, which gained visibility with the Village Phone project, is expanding into the provision of electricity and water using the same village entrepreneurial model. Created by inventor Dean Kamen, the village power and village water devices will be low-cost, low-maintenance, low-complexity methods of providing critical utilities to people in the developing world.”

Dan Bricklin’s WikiCalc writes about the marriage of wikis and spreadsheets by the creator of VisiCalc.

“With (Excel), you get people playing e-mail volleyball with attachments all day long, so it’s grossly inefficient,” Mayfield said. “How do you track changes on a spreadsheet? What happens if you don’t have just two people going back and forth, (but) have a finance department of 40 people trying to roll up numbers.”

Bricklin’s answer is to make it possible for anyone using WikiCalc to enter data and for anyone else to edit that data and have those edits be reflected on everyone’s computers instantaneously.

“You could use it as an authoring tool without having anything more than a hosting account from your ISP,” Bricklin said.

For now, not all WikiCalc features are live. For example, the ability to enter HTML into cells and do dynamic calls for information from the Web is not yet available. But Bricklin said that most, if not all, features should be ready in the beta version later this month.

As a functional spreadsheet, WikiCalc is definitively not on par with Excel, those familiar with it are quick to point out. Yet the software can handle many spreadsheet-like functions, including presenting data in the tabular format that so many are comfortable with and calculating formulas in discrete cells. And that is what could make it accessible to large numbers of people.

Cellphone as Wallet?

Information Week writes in the US context:

The technology will likely make its debut in the U.S. in the next six to 18 months, says Osmo Hautanen, CEO of Magnolia Broadband Inc., a chip developer that puts “smart” antennas into cell phones sold by top service providers in Asia.

In fact, earlier this month Motorola unveiled its M-Wallet product, which will let people make purchases using their cell phones. Additionally, the technology will allow merchants to issue virtual loyalty or gift cards to customers’ phones. Motorola says the M-Wallet will work with almost any device or cellular network.

That means cell phones will become much more valuable not only because they’ll come with more capabilities, but also because they will contain sensitive information like payment mechanisms. “People will value and guard their phones the way they guard their wallets,” says Valentine. So, losing a phone in a taxi will a much bigger deal than it is today.

But before wallet phones become widespread in the U.S., there are technical barriers that cellular carriers have to work through. For one, they have to get good at mobile device management, which includes automatically updating applications throughout their lifecycle. And once third-generation cellular networks are widely deployed in the U.S., carriers will have a common communication layer that will allow them to deploy services like wallet phones.

TECH TALK: DEMO 2006: Chris Shipley Talks

Chris Shipleys opening remarks captured the essence of the state of technology. Here are some excerpts:

The distinction between consumer and business is fading, and fading quickly. I rarely differentiate between my personal and professional uses of computing, nor, I suspect, do you. In this, we are not unique or more sophisticated than other technology adopters. We are representative. We adopt the tools that allow us to be most productive, no matter how we describe productivity or where we use these tools.

We dont stop being business computer users at 5 or 6 . . . or 7 or 8 in the evening. We dont ask permission of an IT department when we find the right tools and services to get our jobs done more efficiently. We adopt what is right for us and we work and play when we need to.
Business and personal computing will become much less distinct. Software developers will no longer feel the need to dumb down products in order to sell them to the consumer market. Indeed, the inverse is true: developers will smarten up technology in order to make sure the products we buy as individuals also meet our needs as business executives.

At this DEMO podium some 18 months ago, I talked about the shift to service-based computing. Indeed, every bit of software introduced at this conference has been designed in whole or in part with communications or service-based components. It is only slightly premature to pronounce the passing of the packaged, stand alone desktop software, but I am quite certain that that day will arrive before DEMO hits another significant birthday.

At DEMO two years ago, we shined a spotlight on blogging, RSS, and other components that make up the market we dubbed social media. Today, we widen that circle to include an array of products that extend and transform social media into social browsing, social bookmarking, social search, and other social applications.

In fact, the cooperation and collaboration of many individuals — whether contributed as part of a defined group or as one persons independent contribution become the way clear to make sense of the massive amounts of data that besiege us on a daily basis. This move toward social computing in which people collectively and individually provide human filters to massive data sets begins to fully unfold here at DEMO this week.

Individuals are becoming overwhelmedWho needs a better search algorithm to find another 100 or 100 thousand needles in the information haystack? We can barely explore past the first page or two of search results as it is.

Who needs more buttons and features and options on just about any product? Can you seriously say that youve used all the capabilities of any of the software or devices that you already own? Do you really want more?
Needing no more new features, being unable to sift through any more search results, being overwhelmed by options, these individuals are going to stop or at least slow down the acquisition of new technology.

Theyll stop buying, theyll stop using.

Instead, they will wait for applications, devices, and services to deliver on the promise of their potential a promise that doesnt demand steep learning curves or a permission slip from someone in central IT.


This is the challenge I put to you today. How can we make computing more simple for the mass of individuals who represent new and widening markets for the products this industry creates? Im not suggesting that anyone dumb down technology. Quite the opposite. Im suggesting that as we simplify technology, we open it to new buyers and that we bring personal technology back from the brink of diminishing returns.

Tomorrow: The Best

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