IBM jStart Emerging Technologies Development
Everybody's favorite technology guru, David Barnes, is back with another installment of his popular YouTube video series, where he explains and demystifies cool new web technologies. In this case, he demonstrates using BigSheets to sort through 300,000 Twitter posts.
Recently, the IBM jStart Emerging technologies team created a mashup application which highlights how services from StrikeIron can be easily added to web-based applications.
This IBM Mashup Center mashup application enables a call center representative to capture a sales lead from an incoming call, enrich the information provided by the call with data obtained from a series of StrikeIron web services, then communicate information about the lead to a sales rep or business partner that is located close to the call using StrikeIron's SMS or IVR voice web services.
Even though your company might already have an existing call center application, how difficult or expensive would it be to modify that application to add additional content? By having an application built within IBM Mashup Center or by having services available in widget format, it is a fairly simple process to add widgets to a Mashup Center application or to an existing web page. For example, I can add the StrikeIron service widgets which provide Gale Web Domain or Midnight Trader Financial news to an existing web based application. These widgets would provide an application user with additional insight into a particular customer's company.
The mashup application implements the following scenario:
1. The call center rep enters some information captured from the user (his/her name, his/her company, his/her company's stock ticker symbol and main web site URL and clicks the "Submit" button.
2. Other widgets located within tabs on the page are invoked to gather additional information about the caller's company. Below is a screen shot of Gale Web Domain and Midnight Trader Financial News widgets. These financial information services are available from StrikeIron's web services catalog.
3. The location of the caller's company and the call center firm's sales reps and business partners who are located in the state are shown on a map. The user clicks one of the sales rep or business partner map icons to get more detailed information about the sales rep or the business partner. At this point, all the information is now available in order for the call center rep needs to make a decision such as "assigning" the sales lead to a business partner or one of the firm's reps by sending them an SMS message or by sending them a voice message using the StrikeIron IVR web service.
Here's a video which shows the entire demo in action:
If you want to know more about how to utilize the StrikeIron widgets that have been built for IBM Mashup Center, please contact the IBM jStart team.
IBM jStart Emerging Technologies Development Manager
The New York Times website is hosting an interesting data mashup based on rental data from NetFlix.
Mashup fans will appreciate the elegant visualization. Mouse over the map to see the most popular titles for each zip code. Adjust the slider if you want to see beyond the top ten.
You can also choose a specific movie using the "Previous" and "Next" buttons. (Or use the Alphabetical slider). The title is displayed to the left along with thumbnail graphic and synopsis. The popularity of the selected movie is displayed as a heat map, with red spots being where lots of Netflix members have added this title to their queues.
They've cleverly integrated a link in the synopsis to point to movie reviews on their NYT website. And the NYT site has some nice Web2.0 features, like adding comments, sharing, etc. They've also improved their friendliness to casual visitors, as I was not prompted to login as the NYT site frequently did in the past.
There's clearly a massive amount of data behind this mashup, but rather than being overwhelmed, the UI allows us to make sense of it. That's a hallmark of a good data mashup, so we can all learn from their example.
So what else can we do with it? If you happen to live in one of the twelve available cities (or have lived there in the past), you can check out your neighborhood or old haunts by looking up your zip code(s). You might be reminded of some movie titles you missed in the theatres and might be tempted to see on DVD (great for Netflix). Maybe you'll check out a review or participate the NYT web community (great for NYT, particularly if new patrons are moved to register an account).
Getting back to the business side of things, Netflix could use this data to improve the efficiency of their internal operations, although they probably have a lot more data and a different mashup is probably better suited to this end.
As we move into 2010 and beyond, I think we will see well-crafted mashups pop up in more places. As they become commonplace, mashups may lose some of the novelty, but that's a good thing. Whipping out my flip phone in 2010 impresses few people, but it was not so long ago that such actions were the sole domain of Captain Kirk and his intrepid band of adventurers.
Happy 2010 to everyone!
Since it's a new year, I thought it would be a good time to showcase a new emerging technology from the IBM Emerging Technologies team. The technology is called Big Sheets and it is an insight engine for line of business professionals that allows you to get insights from web-scale data (really large data sets.) The "Big Sheets" name was derived from the thought that users can use a "spreadsheet metaphor" in a browser to analyze large sets of data. In essence, it provides a big data worksheet and thus the name "Big Sheets" came about for this project.
The web is exploding with data and business professionals want to access that data to get better insights to their business. Customers have lots of structured data stored within their enterprise, but customers also have the desire to access unstructured information on the web. By building on top of the Hadoop infrastructure, Big Sheets is able to process large amounts of data quickly and efficiently.
Here's a video which provides you with a closer look at the Big Sheets technology.
IBM jStart Emerging Technologies Development Manager
The Widget Generation Plug-in for IBM Mashup Center is now available. It allows end users to create simple widgets in the same manner as that can create feeds.
This trial technology preview allows users to easily create views of feeds they create without writing code. Users can customize widgets such as changing colors, size, feeds, and data feeds. The widgets created using this tool can then be posted on a variety of platforms such as on the Mashup Center palette, OpenAjax runtime, blog pages, or web pages by simply using the "Get This" button which is by default at the bottom of each created widget.
This plug-in code needs to be installed on top of an instance of Mashup Center 2.0. If you don't already have the Mashup Center 2.0 package, you can download a free Trial version of Mashup Center.
Here's a few screen shots of the Widget Generation Plug-in so you can get an idea of what is offered with this technology preview.
The first screen shot shows that there are a wide variety of widget types to choose from (Feed reader widget, Photos widget. Java applet widget, etc.) It is possible for you to add your own widget template to this list that your Business Users can use as well.
Once you have selected a widget type for a particular data feed that you want to visualize, you can easily customize the widget by changing colors, titles, widget size, and data feeds. These changes require no programming ability at all. A business user can easily create a widget that he/she could then propagate to multiple web pages.
Give the widget Generation Plug-in a try. If you have questions, you can post you question on the Widget Generation Plug-in forum.