Our IBM jStart Emerging team celebrates it's 15th anniversary this year. Our team has worked on a variety of technologies though the years. We first started working on Java in the late 90's and then progressed to XML to (SOAP) Web Services to Web 2.0/Mashups to Big Data/Unstructured text analytics. One common theme to our team's work is provide solutions to our customers to address "real world" business problems. I like to call our team's work "applied innovation". Our team's mission is to take technologies and apply them in a unique way to address customer needs.
Here's an article that describes our team's mission and how we execute on that mission
Vijay Dheap pointed me to a couple of interesting BusinessWeek articles: Can Widgets Save the Television Industry? and IBM Roars into Business Consulting. The first article describes the increasing importance of web widgets, which can migrate content and media from a source website to other web pages, blogs, or onto the handheld screens of the users' mobile devices. The second article, about the increasing importance of business analytics and data mining plays into this trend, because now the big looming questions become: who is watching the content, and from where.
Jim Hsu IBM jStart Emerging Technologies Development
Recently, there have been several positive articles reviewing IBM Mashup Center 1.1. For example, Nelson King wrote in his article, "Put to the Test: IBM Mashup Center 1.1", that "it's not hard to argue that this [IBM Mashup Center 1.1] isthe most comprehensive and, in many ways, most effective mashupenvironment for the enterprise".
So how do you get a free trial copy of Mashup Center 1.1 to try it out yourself? IBM recently created a trial download on the IBM Mashup Center web site that you can evaluate for 60-days. Make sure you first review the Mashup Center system requirements.
If you rather not download and install Mashup Center on your own system, you always have the option of trying Mashup Center 1.1 on the Lotus Greenhouse web site. Once you log in to Greenhouse, simply select the Lotus Mashups application.
I would suggest all users start by going to the Mashup Center wiki where there is a copy of product documentation along with tutorials and videos.
John Feller IBM jStart Emerging Technologies Development Manager
I spent the past week in Chicago discussing Community Building andMash-Ups with a half-dozen of IBM's Financial Services customers. Just as it is good to get-away from the familiar to recharge one'soutlook, this week travels were enlightening for me to get away fromthe daily stream of technology scholarship and have a look at what ourfield teams and customers read and discuss everyday. ITdiscussions may presently be more about business and less abouttechnology, but they are not about Web 2.0. Customers are awareof iPods and YouTube and MySpace, but not Mash-Ups and Ajax and Wikisand iPhones.
They ask: What is Web 2.0?, What are my company's options deploying these technologies? How do I get started?
We all pay attention when we can personnally relate to Web 2.0 (oranything else for that matter). Mash-up or Situational Apps orQED Wikis seem, at first glance, to be little more than the latestgizmo. Ditto for Community Building experiments or CEOblogs.
Mash-Ups interest customers, both IT & LoBs, as theyenvision accessing back-end data without the need for an ITproject. IT execs agree that 60% of their app-developmentprojects won't be needed for as long as the time it took to buildthem. And business execs agree that they can make plenty ofuseful decisions by mashing-up two fields of data to create a thirdfield of information. The Blog and Wiki discussions gain tractionwhen we discussed blogs as a lower cost, more personalized one-to-manymodel of communication; wikis are intriguing as a many-to-many model ofcollaboration. Both offer lower-costs for implementationand support when compared to web sites and email streams and otherelements of MarCom.
At this stage of awareness (low) and customer adoption (lower), Iam convinced that Web 2.0 is a useful topic for connecting IBM's visionfor Innovation, On-Demand (open standards & systems), and even ourSoftware Group's recent acquistions, to technology trends in themarketplace that can enable the business objectives of ourcustomers. We must be cautious in the speed of our approach ascustomers are not ready to be Second Life-like or even ready topurchase a package of Web 2.0 from one of our IBM brands.
First steps are to show customers how the tools and techniques ofpopular culture (RSS & Tagging, mobile phones, Social Networking)might relate to their businesses; then we must show them how to evolvetheir business processes to take advantage of these emergingcapabilities. Customers are interested in this approach as theysense by watching Google that Web 2.0 can level the playing field.
I had the opportunity to see Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and a 2006 Nobel Peace Laureate speak in Austin this past weekend.
IBM is teaming up with the Grameen Foundation to tackle poverty by enhancing Mifos, an open-source microfinance software platform. Microfinance loans help disadvantaged entrepreneurs start small, self-sustaining businesses. By streamlining the lending process, the software is making a difference in places like India, Kenya, Tunisia and Honduras.
I am glad to see IBM is doing the right thing by contributing technology experts and resources to the project. It looks like the lending is currently done through MFIs (microfinance institutions). I wonder if a peer-to-peer lending system like Prosper.com could further help people in developing nations? Both approaches are about helping others via small (under $200) loans and are decent ways to set aside some money and also lend a helping hand to people in need.
For those that have been reading this Emerging Technologies blog on a regular basis, you already should be aware that the IBM Emerging Technologies team has been defining, developing, incubating, refining, and validating Mashups technologies and tools over the past few years. Our team first started with a mashup maker prototype utility called QEDwiki and a feed server called MashupHub which later evolved into the enterprise-ready productized version called IBM Mashup Center. The IBM jStart Customer Innovation team worked with several customers such as Boeing and Carrefour to define "real world" mashups, figure out what worked (and what didn't), make refinements, and prove that indeed that a Mashup Utility such as IBM Mashup Center can add real business value to our customers.
It's taken awhile to produce a mashup solution with the key functions and features that enable our customers to address their business needs. But I believe that Mashup Center was worth the wait. Soon MashupCenter will be hosted as a free trial on the Web with whichnon-technicalbusiness people can use to experiment and build customizedmashupsfollowing the success of early corporate adopters and business partners such as Boeing, Carrefour, StrikeIron, and Kapow.
Even though the Emerging Technologies team has now seen the concept of enterprise mashup tools and utilities successfully become available within an IBM product, there's always more to do. We are just at the beginning of the formation of an "Enterprise Mashup Ecosystem" and, thus, new requirements and capabilities will be continually defined. As I mentioned earlier, the IBM jStart Customer Innovation team has worked with several customers to create Mashup prototypes and they have identified some mashup best practices and business usage patterns. The jStart team works with customers to evaluate whether mashup technologies could add value to their business. The jStart team is also able to share their experiences and observations of working with mashups over the past few years. Interested in getting more information? Want to figure out if "Mashup" technologies can solve a problem for you? Send an email to email@example.com .
John Feller IBM jStart Emerging Technologies Development
For developers looking for one site to get a quick glimpse of what is happening in the "Mashup" world, you should check out the newly launched developerWorks Community Space focused on Mashups .
The Mashups community consolidates information on mashup makers and utilities to createsituational applications, including information about mashup utilitiessuch as QEDwiki (IBM's Enterprise Mashup Maker) being developed by IBM's Emerging Technologies team.
Also, there is an Ajax community available which is one-stop shop for information on the Ajax programming model, includingarticles and tutorials, discussion forums, blogs, wikis, events, andnews.
Since Mashups and Ajax are closely related topics, I suggest you check out both communities on a regular basis. These communities just launched with an initial set of functions, but will continue to evolve to add more community functions later this summer. For example, these communities will offer public and private chat rooms for relationship building.
John Feller Manager, IBM Emerging Technologies Development
There's a lot of compelling reasons to automate driving. If the technology improves, we could see reduced traffic congestion, lower accidents and fatalities, better gas mileage, and even shorter transit times. Of course, some might argue that we give up too much control to technology or we lose the enjoyment of the driving experience. (I suppose a switch so I can engage the "auto-pilot" only during boring commutes might solve that particular complaint.) Hey, feel free to weigh on in this by posting a comment!
p.s. Like a lot of emerging technology, it looks like science fiction beat us to the idea.
1. Mobile Search with related advertising opportunities remains the investment rage amongst Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. Apple's iPhone campaign fueling this fire (stock up 80% since announcement in Feb. 2007).
2. How to get started, not Why is the theme of the customer discussion. A shift from the spring due to notable F500 investments such as News Corp acquisition of Dow Jones (parent of the Wall Street Journal) and Microsoft offering $300mm for just 5% of Facebook. Agreement that there is something to this notion of Community Building or Social Networking. Starting inside the enterprise to harness collective wisdom of employees, with a goal of improved innovation, is compelling. Existing business processes and right mix of staff are inhibitors to taking advantage. Is the benefit in early adoption or fast-following?!
3. Not much of a wow factor in related tools: blogs, wikis, feeds etc as judged to be the basics but not project justifiers.
4. Positive reception to IBM's own related experiences: Jams, Think Place, Technology Adoption Program, and quantity of internal blogs, wikis etc. A concerted offering would be valued by marketplace.
5. Mash-ups of enterprise data could be a big winner; need cohabitation story with portal capabilities.
6. Appear Bigger than You Are via Web 2.0 (YouTube, Community Building) is an attraction to mid-market customers.
7. Mid-sized firms attracted, increasingly so, to hosted apps by likes of Google (e.g. Google Pack, NetBooks)
8. Web 2.0, as the friendly face of service-enabled architectures (SOA), is not yet obvious to customers and to sellers. Remains a tough, internal sell from IT to its business sponsors.
9. Information Security is top of mind, well beyond a traditional IT control point: 'If I move outside of enterprise with Web 2.0, how would I handle InfoSec and legal hurdles?'
10. Not much Web 2.0 budget in '07 and being budgeted for TBD projects in '08.
The Mashup Starter Kit is a preview of a new Web 2.0-based mashupplatform that empowers business professionals to rapidly get theinformation they need, no matter where it resides. This toolkit enablesusers to assemble their own Web 2.0 mashup applications, solvingbusiness problems without aid from information technology (IT)specialists.
The IBM Mashup Starter Kit includes QEDwiki and the IBM Mashup Hub technologies. The IBM Mashup Hub is a mashup server that stores RSS, ATOM, or XML data feeds and allows them to be merged, transformed, filtered, or otherwise manipulated. QEDWiki is a mashup creation tool that allows non-programmers to create business applications. QEDwiki and Mashup Hub have been discussed many times on previous blog postings here. What is significant with this announcement is that you can now download the QEDwiki mashup maker and Mashup Hub on your own personal workstation and access your enterprises data feeds. Software-as-a-service solutions for mashups will continue to be available from IBM and others. But now, we've addressed the problem that Mashup solutions on the "Internet" can't address because they can't access data within your enterprise's firewall.
You can still access on-line (SaaS) versions of QEDwiki,Mashup Hub, and DAMIA (DAMIA has now been absorbed into the Mashup Hub editor) to get familiar with the tools. I then suggest you download a copy of the Mashup Starter Kit (it's free after all!). With the Mashup Starter Kit you have the ability to create your own mashups using your own personal or enterprise data sources.
Give it a try!
John Feller Manager, IBM Emerging Technologies Development
IBM Mashup Center has the power to "unlock the data silos" by letting users build mashups with data from a variety of enterprise data sources. But what I find exciting is the extensible plugin model that allows new data sources to be made available. Check out this developerWorks article to learn how to write your own MashupHub plugin, with plenty of code examples provided. The image below is from a sample plugin for using a translation webservice.
Jim Hsu IBM jStart Emerging Technologies Development
What do you think of this new direction for Laszlo? Post your thoughts in the comments.
I try to summarize trends or generational differences on the Internetor Web by suggesting the following at every one of my customerpresentations:
"Everyone in this room, regardless of your own age, grew-up in a worldwhere 'knowledge is power.' We studied and worked and work todistinguish ourselves from the group. This is not the perspectiveor approach of our children. As evidenced by their schoolwork andsocial behaviors, they perform in groups (History is studied withEnglish with team-oriented projects, for example). Because of theavailability of data and information via the Internet, theygrow-up in a world where 'eveyone knows' and shares with friends andfriends of friends: Google, Wikipedia, MySpace, YouTube. This next generation of workers will expect thier managers to beaffiliators, community builders, communicators, connectors of peopleand information more than directors who have the mostinformation. Now is a good time for us to enable the sharing ofinformation and ideas throughout our own organizations."
More from Artem and Vladimir's notes from the road:
Siberia, Russia. For many westerners this place is as mysterious as it is remote. For many decades the idea of coming to Siberia from the United States was not even feasible. However, with the world becoming flatter not only virtually, but also in tangible reality, more and more foreigners find that the former Soviet center of scientific research is far more accessible and, for the most part, welcoming. Thus, the IBM Customer Innovation Team knew that the Web 2.0 tour would not be complete without delivering the IBM message to somewhat ascetic but very bright minds in Siberia.
IBM team had several meetings and presentations in Novosibirsk -- the center of Siberia. However, the day spent at Novosibirsk State University (NSU) was by far the largest.
NSU meeting saw many seniors and professors in attendance. The meeting kicked off with Jim Smith and Artem Papkov delivering a presentation on Web 2.0 overview and its role in the latest development of the Internet. The presentation was accepted with a lot of enthusiasm. However, the audience had questions regarding making widgets and mashups freely available to public. There was some skepticism regarding safety and security of such approach. Jim explained that today keeping information to itself is a loosing approach and sharing of information is significantly more beneficial. He has also pointed that creating widgets that access one’s data makes it easer to control how the data is being used.
Next, Artem Papkov and Fiodar Zboichyk talked about the evolution of widgets, mashups and visual programming in general. One of the questions that the audience asked after the presentation concerned the security of mashups and widgets. The audience was eager to know if there is a way to ensure that a component brought from the outside may not hurt the client environment it is running in. Artem described some efforts going on at OpenAjax consortium and, specifically, how SMASH may be used exactly for that.
Ed Elze, Sam Thompson and Vladimir Stemkovski took the proverbial stage next and delivered a presentation on IBM Mashup Center and showed a demo of the product. The presentation was a wild success! There was no all out cheering but the IBM team could see that the audience was impressed with the technology and was delighted to discover that IBM is on the forefront of the technology and the latest Internet trends. The audience jumped right into asking a lot of technical questions, such as, if it is possible to create new feeds from a database table or, if it is possible to add the IBM Mashup Center to an existing web application. Vladimir has demonstrated how a new feed could be created with the help of IBM MashupHub and confirmed that since the IBM Mashup Center is just a web application it could be easily added to an existing application. Another question that was asked concerned publishing widgets and feeds for public use and tools that one could use to achieve that. Sam has mentioned that IBM MashupHub is just the tool for the job.
After a short break Vladimir Stemkovski has demonstrated IBM MashupHub functionality and showed how easy it is to create a new feed out of a relational database table. Students and processors like the slick user interface and had several questions to understand the MashupHub functionality better. For instance, one of the students asked if the IBM MashupHub could create feeds that take parameters. Vladimir has demonstrated how it is possible to achieve using SQL variables and the tool’s web interface. The audience also asked if feeds could be used for changing content of a database, which, as Vladimir explained, is not possible.
On the wave of overall seminar’s success, Keyur Dalal has brilliantly delivered a presentation of IBM’s social network initiatives such as Beehive and Lotus Connections. Answering questions, Keyur had to explain that social networks are not a fad but reality and that IBM reaps huge benefits by allowing people go outside of their organization to find solutions to their problems.
Overall, the seminar was a huge success and allowed students of the Novosibirsk State University to learn about Web 2.0 and initiatives that IBM has launched in this space.
Chris Spencer and Jim Hsu IBM jStart Emerging Technologies Team
Over the past year, there's been a large growth of widgets being made available from a variety of companies and organizations. In a way, widgets are now considered mainstream. My wife knows I've been working in the area of web 2.0 and web widgets for awhile, but she's not really into technology. But yesterday, she forwarded me an article about how non-profits/charitable organizations are now getting on the widget bandwagon. So even she's now seeing things about web widgets (gadgets) in regular publications that she reads. The article talked about how the Ad Council, the leading producer of public service advertisements, has kicked off the Exponential Action Network (EAN) initiative where users will bepresented with a list of participating Ad Council causes and beprompted to choose as many as they would like to support. Eachselection will generate an individual widget that can be prominentlydisplayed on the user’s social networking profile, blog, wiki andpersonal homepages.
For example, the Autism Speaks organization has been promoting the Autism Awareness Widget so users will have an opportunity to become further engaged in Autism Speaks' advocacy efforts. So if you have a charity or organization that you'd like to promote, you might want to consider building and sharing widgets to make your message available to more people.
John Feller IBMjStart Emerging Technologies Development Manager
Brian Fioca from ONLamp.com posts an interesting articleregarding the scaleability and performance of PHP vs. Java. Inresearching his article he talked at length with "Owen Byrne, cofounderand Senior Software Engineer at digg.com" to learn how he addressed any problems they encountered during their meteoric growth.
Byrneasserts that "none of the scaling challenges we faced had anything todo with PHP," and that "the biggest issues faced were databaserelated." The article also makes some simple recommendations on Apachetuning and MySQL database configuration strategies to address commonproblems.
Fioca concludes with the following assertion:
It turns out that it really is fast and cheap to develop applications in PHP. Most scaling and performance challenges are almost always related to the data layer, and are common across all language platforms. Even as a self-proclaimed PHP evangelist, I was very startled to find out that all of the theories I was subscribing to were true. There is simply no truth to the idea that Java is better than scripting languages at writing scalable web applications. I won’t go as far as to say that PHP is better than Java, because it is never that simple. However it just isn’t true to say that PHP doesn’t scale.
David Barnes has another wonderful YouTube video out on his IBMetinfo channel. I recommend clicking the yellow "Subscribe" button from YouTube if you find these videos interesting. In this latest tutorial, Chris Gruber describes a translation mashup using the plugin described in the previous blog post.
Jim Hsu IBM jStart Emerging Technologies Development
A listing of four articles in the 'C' section of the 18 September 2007 NY Times:
1. Joining Google (Google Pack), IBM contributes word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software to the OpenOffice.org.
2. Yahoo purchases email provider, Zimbra, for $350mm (mostly in cash).
3. Google, via its familiar AdSense model, is now auctioning ads on web pages viewed on mobile phones.
4. MySpace planning to customize ads to members based upon their profiles and interactions.
Aside from the on-going flood of Web 2.0 activity, what might be the connection of these initiatives?Pay the Customer First and the accelerating roll-out of Mobile Search aka mobile advertising.
We have IBM and Yahoo offering capabilities to customers that once cost hundreds of dollars per user in license fees. Now they're giving this capability away, up front, in order to attract targeted audiencesor communities (plus put a burr in the Microsoft saddle).
Google and MySpace demonstrate how they, and others, intend to take advantage of the communitiesformed when the customer is paid first with software (word processing and spreadsheets) or services (search).
What would it be like if television commercials understood and could serve ads to the specific individuals who watch particular programs. A game in our family during commercials is to guess who the sponsor thinks is watching the particular program based upon the type of commercials. Either broadcast tv will figure this out or we'll probably migrate to watching television on our HD flat panel fed by our internet connection.
Have you ever heard one of the Yogi-ism of advertising, 'I know that 50% of my advertising works; I'm just not sure which 50%.' This is to going to get better, meaning more relevant, for everyone. cperrien