Monday, August 30, 2010

Google Voice: Free Talking Encouraged

Google recently announced its new Internet telephone service as part of its ever growing quest to build its empire of technology. This service allows Gmail users to make free phone calls in the U.S. and Canada. There is nothing new about this technology, as Skype and Vonage have been doing this for years, but the price (free) may bring a new wrinkle in the competition. Plus this product, if successful, could lead to other add on and complimentary products. At a minimum it certainly increases the value of Gmail.

Read the article.

(submitted by Tom)

New Dehli Crowdsources Traffic Enforcement

New Dehli residents are using Facebook and other social networking tools to allow citizens to file complaints against bad drivers. In over 2 months residents have uploaded over 3,000 pictures showing people breaking various traffic laws. This has led to 700 citations that have gone out based solely on Facebook postings. Use of social networking tools as part of law enforcement brings a whole host of interesting legal issues, but it is certainly an innovative way to dealing with a problem of scale.

Read the article.

(submitted by Helen)

Do Groups Kill Innovation?

This Wharton article looks at how groups may actually impinge on innovation. Working off a paper developed by two Wharton professors titled "Idea Generation and the Quality of the Best Idea" this article synthesizes the highlights of the study. The authors argue that a hybrid process where people brainstorm individually before coming together as a group nets more and better quality ideas than simply putting everyone in a group brainstorming session. According to the authors the hybrid process allows for more critical evaluation of ideas. In a world where innovation has become a central tenant of business the study of how to maximize or enhance innovation is quite helpful.

Read the article.

(submitted by Walter)

Corning's Breakthrough Technology

Corning Inc., a world leader in glass and ceramics production has recently brought an invention to market that has the potential to be a core piece of future technology devices. Corning's Gorilla glass, invented in 1962 but waiting until now for a practical purpose, is a super-strong hard to break glass. This glass can be used as a protective layer over touchscreen cellphone and digital devices, as well as flat screen TVs. This product is setting Corning up for a windfall of potential profits. Not bad considering this is a product who has spent 45 years sitting on a shelf, but in a matter of three years it has become a $170 million a year business with unlimited potential.

Read the article.

(submitted by Mike)

iPad for Business

This Wall Street Journal article looks at how the iPad is quickly making its way through the ranks of corporate environments. One reason for this smooth adoption trend is all the logistical challenges were solved with the iPhone. IT departments in combination with Apple have been slowly/steadily integrating support for the iPhone over the last few years. Given that the iPad runs the same OS as the iPhone corporate integration is far more seamless. This lets users and companies focus on productivity Apps. For example, Mercedes-Benz is loading a credit-application App so that potential buyers can start the application process while standing near a vehicle. The article cites examples from Bausch & Lomb and Kaiser Permanente as well. The long battery life, quick startup, and platform stability allow for a wide variety of potential usage in the corporate environment.

Read the article.

(submitted by Rosanna)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Microsoft's Internal Podcasting Network

This article is a behind the scenes look at Microsoft's internal podcasting network called Academy Mobile. With a workforce of 92,000 employees, keeping everyone trained is a significant effort. However, that effort has been significantly enhanced with the creation of this new network of podcasts. Users are incented by a rewards program for participating in the program either by creating podcasts or interacting with them. The success of the program is measured by number of podcasts created going from 2,000 podcasts created in 2008 to 9,000 in 2010. Correspondingly podcast views went from 100,000 in 2008 to over a million in 2010. Perhaps the most significant piece of this program is that it has been a largely grass roots effort that has seen tremendous success and staying power. The only question unanswered is what devices users use to view these podcasts, presumably it is not the Zune.

Read the article.

(submitted by Mike)

Combining Social Data and Enterprise Analytics

This article discusses how companies should integrate social data, enterprise analytics, and enterprise data to create total information awareness for business. The author notes that every organization has customers, prospects, competitors, and stakeholders, all of whom use social media. Yet access to all this data is siloed and relatively unsophisticated. He argues that companies should integrate social media into enterprise analytics systems to bring total enterprise awareness or as he calls it a "socialization of data" about a company's customers. This is a very interesting approach to enhancing enterprise analytics.

Read the article.

(submitted by Walter)

E&Y Uses Virtual World for New Hires

This article describes how Ernest & Young has employed virtual world technology to teach new hires how to perform an Inventory Observation assignment (much like we are doing here at ATK). In their research, E&Y discovered that one of the advantages of the virtual world environment was that they could replicate a job performance environment and experience. The intention was to have the new hires learn from their virtual experience before actually being sent out to a client's site to perform the job. Furthermore, new hires who went through the training felt more confident than those who had gone through the traditional instructor-led training. They speculate that was because the virtual world required users to apply the knowledge they had learned versus simply taking a test.

Read the article.

(submitted by Theresa)

Company asks Customers to "Be the Buyer"

Clothing company ModCloth, whose target demographic is 15-35 year old women, is using social media to determine what products get produced. Customers vote through Facebook/Twitter and only designs that garner enough votes will move forward. This is unique because it is reducing (eliminating) the role of the buyer. This direct feedback from customer to designer helps to eliminate unsold stock. The company also runs a "Name It and Win It" contest where users submit names for new products and if they win, they receive the product. ModCloth is winning on 2 fronts here; first the improvements on their supply chain and second building an active and engaged customer base.

Read the article.

(submitted by Tom)

And the Winner is...iPad Contest Winner Announced

It is with great pleasure that we announce Parag Shah as the winner of our first iPad contest. Parag wrote a very detailed and comprehensive “editorial” on how the iPad could be used in business. He included visions for both the short term and long term. As an added bonus Parag just entered the Scholars program so he will have the ability to give us an inside look at how the iPad is being used in the academic environment.
Click here to read his submission.


Also, we would like to take this opportunity to let you know that in our continuing effort to drive innovation and seek breakthrough ideas for improving our team based performance and delivery we are going to sponsor another iPad contest. This time it is going to be a team based contest. We are currently finalizing the details and will announce it shortly.


Sincerely,
Joe Raudabaugh, Bob Haas, and Sumit Chandra on behalf of the Tech Advocacy Community

Monday, August 2, 2010

Stop the Madness: Another Microsoft Mobile OS?

Yes Microsoft has further complicated their mobile OS offerings. We recently reported that they are paying developers to create Apps (read the article) and that Windows Mobile 7 won't have multitasking capability (read the article) You may recall that in all the Windows Mobile 7 hoopla they announced that it would not be backwards compatible. So now Microsoft seems to have backtracked a bit and is going to be providing backwards compatibility through another smartphone OS. It remains unclear why backward compatibility was not put just put straight into Windows Mobile 7, but at the end of the day it is doubtful this will matter by the time these OS's are released another couple million iPhones and Droids will have been sold. However, the real opportunity cost here is the inability to translate the mobile OS to a tablet device.

Read the article.

Pirates are Alive, Well, and Thriving: $10 Billion Worth

No not the pirates on ships sailing the ocean looking for vessels to rob, but rather software pirates. Software piracy is estimated to cost the software industry $10 billion in lost revenue. This article describes the lengths Microsoft goes to in order to combat piracy. This includes a team of 75 investigators, lawyers, and analysts along with a CSI type forensics lab that work with local law enforcement agencies to break up counterfeit rings. These rings are not one or two people copying software in a garage, they represent large scale criminal syndicate organizations most often located in China and India. This is one of the byproducts of the brave new digital world.

Read the article.

(submitted by Tom)

The iPad (and Kindle) Goes to College

For those of you with kids either in college or entering college this Fall here is an article about adoption of the iPad on college campuses. The article describes how Oklahoma State and Illinois Institute of Technology are evaluating and integrating the devices into the curriculum. Similar treatment was given the the Kindle last year, the results of which are included in the article. Two trends to watch here. The first and most obvious is will these devices replace textbooks. Second, can these devices be used to drive greater learning amongst students in academics. In other words can these devices go from static book replacements to devices that enhance collaborative learning.

Read the article.

(submitted by Sumit)

Outsourcing to Wyoming

The town of Ten Sleep, WY (population 300) just got into the outsourcing business. No not tech jobs as might be expected, but rather teaching English. This teaching center provides English lessons, predominantly to classrooms in Asia, 24X7 through high-speed Internet connections. There are nearly a dozen of these centers in small towns across Wyoming employing 700 educators and the goal is to expand to 3000 educators. This is an interesting development on many fronts, not the least of which the creation of new jobs in a market that previously did not exist.

Read the article.

(submitted by Judi)

The Innovation Disconnect

This article, written by ATK's own Bob Haas and Christian Hagen for the MIT Sloan Management Review, describes the disconnect between technology innovation goals and budgets. Citing ATK survey data of business executives and board members they found that innovation budgets have shrunk over the last 10 years. Another key finding was that IT departments seem to be losing credibility. These findings match other articles reported here about the pressures on IT departments including keeping up with consumer devices to the relevance of the CIO.

Read the article.

(submitted by Christian Hagen)