Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Can the iPhone/iTouch platform be a next generation enterprise communication platform?

Now that Apple has released the iPhone SDK will there be a rush to adoption by business? Apple is trying very hard not to repeat the past mistakes of creating a closed Mac platform. The addition of a $100M VC fund for application development will certainly help. But is it enough?

According to the announcement this week, Apple will still control the conduit. All applications must be downloaded via iTunes. No software will be permitted to allow the iPhone to work with phone carriers that are not approved by Apple. In the US, we have one phone carrier to choose from … AT&T.

It seems to me that Apple has taken a first step, but a baby step.  If Apple is serious about adoption of the iPhone as a ubiquitous handheld business communication device I believe much more needs to be done. Here are a few suggestions.

First and foremost Apple needs to open the connectivity choices to any wireless carrier. Address security issues such as data encryption and secure access. The iPhone software needs to allow managed updates via company IT department. And finally very tight, seamless integration with Enterprise systems such as Exchange is required.

Although this is not an exhaustive list, in my opinion it would propel the iPhone to becoming the device of choice for the Enterprise.

Interoperability, sometimes it just works!

I just took ownership of my first “green” car … Toyota Camry Hybrid. It is quite an impressive vehicle with excellent gas mileage for a midsized car. My research has shown it would be a very sophisticated, technological savvy vehicle. The computer control system enables real-time monitoring and control of energy consumption. Switching back and forth as needed between electric battery and gasoline engine within a fraction of a second. I was very happy with my purchase considering just energy savings, comfort and safety.

What I didn’t realize is the degree of sophistication with Voice Activation, NAV, Bluetooth and cell phone connectivity. Multiple vendors and industries are involved with the above technologies. Yet Toyota was able to interface them seamlessly? The ease of connecting my Blackberry Pearl with the car’s Bluetooth was a thing of beauty. But the most amazing part was that I was able to transfer my Blackberry address book contacts to the auto’s address book wirelessly via Bluetooth. It is one thing to have basic connectivity, another to agree on a data transport via Bluetooth to capture the phone’s information. I wonder if a contact's address can go right into the NAV system to set the destination point?  Maybe next model year.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The DVD war is over, Toshiba surrenders!

The long awaited resolution of which technology will be the High Definition DVD choice of the future is here and the winner is ... Blu-Ray.  The slow adoption of high definition DVD has been blamed on the competitive war between the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray DVD camps. Some think that without a clear standard, consumers have stayed out of the market. Others expected a dual system that supports both technologies. Some dual-format devices have already been produced.

I think another reason exists for the slow adoption. Better choices. Why rent or buy a DVD when you can easily stream it via your cable, satellite or an on-line supplier. The cost is about the same, don’t need to leave your couch and you can get at least 5.1 surround sound. What is missing, the out-takes, extras, and alternative endings. For the vast majority of movies you want to watch how important are these features?

I am not planning on buying a Blu-Ray DVD anytime soon.