Hot Technologies

Information Week writes:

Researcher Gartner Inc. on Wednesday identified the technologies it believes will have the greatest impact on businesses over the next 10 years, naming such hot areas as social-network analysis, collective intelligence, location-aware applications and event-driven architectures.

Under Applications Architecture, event-driven architecture, a form of distributed computing, was expected to reach mainstream adoption in five to 10 years. EDA involves the packaging of discrete functions into modular, encapsulated, shareable components, some of which are triggered by the arrival of one or more event objects, Gartner said. EDA is currently being used in financial trading, energy trading, supply chain, fraud detection, homeland security, telecommunications, customer contact center management, logistics and sensor networks, such as those based on radio-frequency identification, or RFID.

YouTube’s Growth

MarketWatch writes:

Two things seem to be at work. The first is the incredible desire people have to share video clips with each other. That’s now apparent.

What’s not so apparent, unless you actually have tried to use the various video sharing sites, is that nobody — and I mean nobody — made it easy until YouTube.

By merely combining a pent-up demand with ease-of-use you get the YouTube phenomenon. It’s brain dead simple, but I’m telling you that is all there is to it.

The hardest part of the process is the user managing to get the video onto a computer where it can be uploaded to YouTube. Nowadays with digital camcorders and still cameras that shoot .MOV files it is not that hard and most cams come with software to make it easier.

Then comes YouTube. The first thing you notice about YouTube is the lack of barriers to entry. You can sign up quickly and upload anything in any format right away.

Better Mobile Interfaces

BBC News writes:

So the wheel is best for lists, the keypad is better for numbers, and other controls are better for other functions. How do you fit that all on a phone?

The answer may be simpler than you think. The phones of the future will perhaps sport the user interface some believe is the best set of controls ever designed – a touch sensitive LCD screen where the buttons should be.

This virtual keypad will mean that whatever mode the phone is in, you get a different set of controls.

“You don’t always need or want 12 keys, you might want a scroller, or a wheel, or a joystick, or a navigator, or one key, or three keys,” said Nina Warburton of Alloy Product Design.

Youth Drive Media Shift

BBC News writes (in the UK context):

The “networked generation” is driving a radical shift in media consumption, says UK telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Sixteen to 24 year olds are spurning television, radio and newspapers in favour of online services, says the regulator’s study.

The 2006 Ofcom report also found that increasingly households are turning to broadband and digital TV.

Mobile Games

Business Week has an article on what makes a great game:

It’s vital to ensure that the player understands exactly straight away what they have to do. You can’t assume they understand ‘game logic’ that walking mushrooms are for jumping on, or that it’s good to collect stars. Obviously a familiar activity such as pool or a big movie brand can help with this, but anything else, from platform jumping to camel-bouncing needs explanation. Spell out exactly what has to be done and what buttons are required to do it, preferably show with a video or tutorial level. Dont imagine the player will read the help section.

This doesnt necessarily mean one-button or even single-thumb but you simply can’t have a control system that gets in the way of instant gratification. Ideally the game should be playable on a four-way joypad without recourse to keys (unless its pressing keys in sequence), but it could equally involve something more creative such as using the camera as motion sensor or speaking into it.

TECH TALK: Mobile Internet: Imagine

Let us peer into the future and imagine what a world with publish-subscribe capabilities via the mobile would look like.

There is a bookstore near my house. To know their specials, I have to actually go to the store or pass by it so I can look at their banners. I am keen on knowing when they have business or childrens book sales, and about new arrivals. At the same time, I do not want to give them my email ID or mobile number because I am worried that they will spam me. What I would like to be able to do is to subscribe to one or more RSS feeds from the bookstore. Subscribing puts me in control.

The bookstore would simply publish the incremental information periodically and subscribers like me would receive it on email, SMS or via an RSS aggregator on the PC or mobile. If the bookstore starts spamming me (indirectly) by publishing items that are not relevant, I can simply unsubscribe. I also want some static information from the bookstore like store location, timings and phone number. This information should be easily publishable by the store without the need for an intermediary.

Let us take another example. I am travelling and stuck in a traffic jam. I should be able to share the location and real-time information about the traffic from where I am. People who would have set up subscriptions to receive traffic alerts would immediately know about it. That all of us have mobiles makes it easier to publish and receive the information.

Here is a third example. My sisters children go to a Montessori school near our house. On rainy days, the school may decide to shut down. This is a decision made about an hour or so before the school starts. The school today tries to call up parents and tells them not to send their kids to the school. There has to be a better way to do this. Imagine if the school can publish the fact that the school is closed for the day, and parents can receive this info in a few minutes of the school publishing it.

There are many other examples from day-to-day life that we can think of. The key underlying point is that the combination of publish-subscribe and the mobile web can create a world where the latency between events happening and people knowing about them can be reduced. India can be at the forefront of the creation of this world.

Next Week: Mobile Internet (continued)

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