Archive for the ‘Power’ Category

The iPhone: the power and the danger

Monday, November 21st, 2011

My latest article for Christian Computing magazine is on the power and the danger of the iPhone. It can

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be read here: http://www.ccmag.com/2011_11/ccmag2011_11mcguire.pdf

Four Drivers of the Mobility Revolution

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Just over a week ago, I presented “Seismic Shifts in the Mobile Ecosystem” at Sprint’s Open Solutions Conference. The session was well attended and seemed to be well received, so I’d like to share some of the content here. I’ll set up the topic in this post, and then dive deeper in additional posts over the coming weeks.

The basic premise of the session was that there are four key drivers of change that have resulted in ten seismic shifts in the mobile ecosystem. These changes reflect the Mobility Revolution and create opportunity for businesses that can understand and capitalize on these shifts.

So, what are the four drivers?

The first one is

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mass market adoption of smartphones.

The second is mobile bandwidth being built into all kinds of products.

The third is ubiquitous broadband (wired and wireless).

The final driver is the emergence of real world interfaces between mobile devices and the real world, including NFC, compass, gyroscope, cameras, and other sensors.

ADP uses mobility to broaden their market

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

This week I spent some time with Amir Haramaty, Vice President of Sales for Xora. Amir likes to tell stories. I like stories, so I wanted to share a couple of them with you.

The first one deals with ADP. From their website: “Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NYSE: ADP), with nearly $8 billion in revenues and over 600,000 clients, is one of the world’s largest providers of business outsourcing solutions. Leveraging more than 55 years of experience, ADP offers the widest range of HR, payroll, tax and benefits administration solutions from a single source.”

What most of us know ADP for is payroll. ADP takes on the time tracking and payroll functions for its clients. This works great when the client’s employees report into an office everyday. But Xora approached ADP and asked how the company handles time tracking for mobile employees. ADP didn’t have a solution and this was limiting the company’s market growth potential.

Xora proposed a solution – the integration of Xora’s mobile worker tracking capabilities into ADP’s time tracking and payroll services. Xora’s system allows a worker to manually “clock in” when they begin their workday. Or Xora can use location information from the worker’s phone to automatically record when he arrives at the worksite. Xora’s software can also track the actual miles driven for job related activities, enabling accurate mileage reimbursements. All of this information is integrated back into the ADP software to enable the value of ADP’s outsourced solutions to be available to companies with mobile workers.

Amir specifically pointed me to a case study on R&J Construction, a nationwide custom building company. R&J has replaced their paper-based time and project reporting system with an integrated solution from Xora and ADP. R&J estimates this results in an additional 12 hours of billable time each week per worker. The company has also reduced vehicle mileage reimbursements by approximately $6,000 per month. R&J also has much more precise, accurate, and timely information about what workers are doing on which jobs, enabling much more accurate job costing leading to more competitive and profitable bids for new projects.

Now that’s capturing the power of mobility!

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Now playing: Abigail Washburn – The Lost Lamb

Capturing the Power: Week of 4/6/8

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Complete list here

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Now playing: Allen Levi – Frazier Fir In Florida

New York City Taxis

Friday, April 4th, 2008

In my last post I mentioned my trip to New York. I hadn’t been to the city in awhile, so my ride in from the airport was my first encounter with the interactive systems built into New York’s cabs. I was very impressed, so I was pleasantly surprised that one of Sprint’s partners at the Technology Summit could explain to me all the technical details behind the deployment.

First, let me describe the user’s perspective.

When I climbed into the cab, I immediately noticed a touch screen built into the back of the front seat, so it was easily reachable from any position in the back seat. The screen had about a 9″ screen that was plenty big for the viewing distance in the cab. It had a credit card swipe built into it as a secure payment option.

The screen itself was generally split into three sections. (The picture at the right doesn’t perfectly match what I experienced.) The very top section was a collection of touch screen soft buttons for selecting content. The rest of the screen was split about 50/50, with the section on the right playing full motion video from a local news broadcast. After riding in the cab for about 20 minutes it became apparent that the content was repeating. At the very top of this video window was a banner ad that changed about every couple of minutes. These banner ads were interactive – clicking on them resulted in the advertiser’s content being brought up in the left pane. I didn’t follow any of these links far enough to see if they could result in transactions.

The left pane was for live interactive content. By default, this pane shows a map of the city, tracking the cab’s actual location. It would be really cool if the driver entered the destination and the passenger could track where they were relative to start and end points, but for now it just shows current location. Still cool. As mentioned above, clicking on a banner ad brings up the advertiser’s content in this pane. The previously mentioned content soft buttons also result in content being loaded into this left pane. Choices include weather, sports, business news, and Zagat’s content. I chose Sports to try it out and was presented with a list of headlines that I could click to read the news.

Given my normal white knuckle response to seeing my NYC driver weaving through traffic and construction, this device made my journey much more enjoyable!

Now let me tell the technology story behind the story.

At Sprint’s Technology Summit, I met the team from Walsh Wireless, a Sprint Business Solutions Partner (BSP) who has lots of experience with digital signage solutions integrating Sprint’s EV-DO network. They tell the complete story on their website, but here’s my shortened version.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission selected several vendors to deploy the interactive systems to the city’s 13,000 taxi cabs. Creative Mobile Technologies won the business for 5,000 vehicles, but they were facing some challenges with the wireless network deployment, so they turned to Walsh Wireless for help.

Here’s what’s built into that seat back to make it all work. Walsh Wireless solved the wide area connectivity with a standard Sprint EV-DO data card, but with additional engineering using amplifiers and high gain antennas to ensure consistent connectivity while moving rapidly through the city’s urban canyons. This is then used to provide the interactive content features, the credit card processing, and even a WiFi hotspot inside the cab. This hotspot had to be specially engineered to limit the reach and avoid interference between adjacent cabs. The video content is distributed three times a day and stored locally on a hard drive in the cab.

Cool stuff!

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Now playing: Mark Heard – We Have Let Freedom Ring

NextMail

Friday, April 4th, 2008

This morning I participated in Sprint’s Technology Summit in New York. It was a great event. Thanks Phil and team for doing a great job and thanks to everyone for showing up on a rainy spring day.

In addition to speakers and vertical-specific break-out sessions, there also were a dozen or so companies describing and demonstrating their capabilities. One of those companies, NextMail, has a really cool PTx (push-to-x) offering that is now fully integrated into Sprint’s Nextel Direct Connect offering.

With NextMail, you set up Direct Connect numbers mapped to e-mail addresses. When you DC that number, it is translated into an e-mail message with the voice message stored as an audio file. The GPS location data can also be included in the message, and there are a variety of options for returning the message. The demo I saw included a DC number set up to collect traffic delay information so that a centralized contact can keep track of traffic information coming from many different NextMail users.

Great stuff!

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Now playing: Mark Heard – What Kind Of Friend

Capturing the Power: Week of 3/30/08

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Complete list here

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Now playing: Jon Foreman – Southbound Train

Capturing the Power: Week of 3/23/08

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Bonus: Brian Suda provides 7 tips for designing for the mobile web

Slideshow: Rudy De Waele shares his views on Mobile 2.0

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Complete list here

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Now playing: Jill Phillips – Wrecking Ball

Capturing the Power: Week of 3/16/08

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Complete list here

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Now playing: Mark Heard – Back Streets

Capturing the Power: Week of 3/2/08

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Mobility is a wonderful thing. As mobility gets built into all products and services, businesses need to learn how to both capture the power of mobility and manage the dangers introduced through mobility. Here are some examples of how the power of mobility is being applied to create competitive advantage:

Complete list here

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Now playing: Krissy Nordhoff – Rapture (Carried Away)