The demise

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The once safe place to be was the server and the software that powered business. The more I speak with businesses, the more I now know that incumbents (software) are being ripped out quicker than the speed of light. The heart of business is now bound for the cloud.

If you are an incumbent then you’d better be building on the cloud, today. The tide has shifted already and your boat may have sailed for the last time.

The beacon of light

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iOS 7.0 is a completely redesigned operating system. The surface changes are so blatant that many have overlooked tons of new features hidden under the hood. One of those features is iBeacons. These are tiny, low-power devices that can be used for a whole new category of applications, opening up venues for App Store competitiveness and untold enterprise app opportunities. This time, there may not have been a shot heard round the world, but a revolution did just take place.

Consider this. Isn’t it strange that your smartphone can know your location all the way down to nearest few meters, but it isn’t smart enough to know that you are sitting at your desk reading this? That’s the problem iBeacons and its partner technology, Bluetooth Low Energy, solve. iBeacons are a simple means of adding the indoor context to your smartphone’s vocabulary. It’s a way of telling your smartphone where you are indoors and what’s nearby.

In principle, the new possibilities that this allows are practically limitless. Restaurants can know which table you are sitting at. Retailers can know exactly what clothing display you are looking at. Museums can know that you are looking at one masterpiece as opposed to another. Apps that are installed on your phone can provide you with contextually relevant information inside small indoor spaces. And that’s just the beginning.

Imagine going to a bar and never having to fight for the bartender’s attention. You just select a drink, pay, and someone brings it to you. Imagine going to a store, grabbing your goods, and simply leaving. If iBeacons can communicate with your phone, and they can recognize you from others in a small space, then you ought to be able to use your smartphone to make frictionless mobile payments anywhere you go. Some thought this would be the domain of near field communication, but it looks like Bluetooth Low Energy will snatch up that role.

Right at this moment, many startups are forming around the use iBeacons. They anticipate the beginning of a new age of indoor mapping and apps that are even more contextually aware. The only conceivable barricade to their success is the somewhat closed nature of Apple’s iPhone and the lack of a practical means of notifying customers of the many iBeacon aware apps that will surely become available.

In order for any app to communicate with iBeacons, it must be installed on a mobile device. This creates a chicken and egg problem for developers. Their goal is to use iBeacons to get more users, but that also means users need to have the app in the first place. If too many businesses start building their own iBeacon-aware apps, it can create fragmentation on a massive scale that might make people look the other way.

Besides, who really wants to download a bunch of different apps to handle ordering at different restaurants? Wouldn’t it be better to have a single, universally accepted app to handle that, an app that would be useful at every restaurant you go to? People are already quite resistant to downloading apps for websites they like to visit. How is it any different when it comes to places in the real world that they like to visit?

It is clear that someone has his or her work cut out. The company that establishes these universally accepted platforms stands to make a lot of money from iBeacons. Whether such a standard will come to be adopted truly remains to be seen. It is possible that we will end up with something like Android, with all kinds of players attempting to make their stamp but nobody truly dominating. Some might say this is a good thing for the market, but for average everyday users it most certainly is not.

I think the responsibility also lies with Apple. They need to rein in some of the fragmentation that is most likely to result. Apple Maps would be a good place to start. If Apple can handle all of the indoor mapping of places that use iBeacons, and they can do it in the best possible way, then third-party developers won’t be so tempted to create dozens and dozens of applications that are truly islands unto themselves. That’s the world of Android. It’s a world I choose not to live in because, simply put, it sucks.

And if Apple is anything like the company I know it to be, they won’t allow it.

Is there anything left for Blackberry?

BlackBerry should consider selling its assets to a single buyer. The technology (the phones, the OS, BES) will be difficult to split up and sell off. Everything is so inextricably linked (something BlackBerry management boasted of) it doesn’t make much sense to unravel it all. There’s very little magic still left in mobile hardware anyway. Instead, the mobile battle will be won by those who own the mobile personal cloud, and all of the services tied to it (for Apple, iOS, iCloud, iTunes, Siri, Passbook, Maps; for Google, Android, Google Now, Google Maps, Go). BlackBerry simply doesn’t have an ecosystem to speak of, no matter how good its phones are, or how innovative its OS is.
- originally posted on Pandodaily

To buy a Wahoo KiCKR indoor bike trainer, or not

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Warning, this maybe a fairly long post as I want to capture all my thoughts and posts from other sites that I have done in one place. It may also change over time due to me updating and adding and or removing stuff. So buckle up and grab a few coffees.

Now to set the scene. I’m an avid bike rider as of late last year. I currently ride a Felt F1 with full Dura-Ace which I’m loving. So enough of my shit, lets get to this.

Does this make NFC dead?

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Several months back I has made a comment about NFC, well, maybe more of a reference about it.

I think more now than ever that this technology is harder to justify. The problems are slowly becoming evident but I wont bore you with that, but instead lets look at what Apple have just release in iOS 7.

The technology they have employed, which is just extending it from the Mac, is called AirDrop. This allows the user to instantly create a Peer-to-Peer ad-hoc network between another person, either over Bluetooth or WiFi. Sure, most people would think that this is just to share a contact or a file. At the end of the day it’s just data. But the premise is still the same should a transaction need to take place.

The current players such as Samsung require you to ‘bump’ your device – which is a little unnatural. Even using NFC requires you to either touch or be a few centimetres away from the device – be it another phone or terminal. Tapping still feels a little unnatural in my view.

To top it off Apple currently has, as of WWDC, around 600M iOS 6 devices out there which would give a huge leg up over the other players in the market. And if you connect the dots, Apple will has a very mature platform in which they can quickly turn-on this services. A huge advantage given the massive fragmentation and slowness of Android upgrades.