Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Digital Distribution as a Competitive Advantage for Media Companies

The trouble with the digital world

The issues confronting many media companies in the world of internet, in general, and news aggregation, in particularly, is well known by now. The traditional business model of setting up the infrastructure to serve a particular geographic region is no longer seem as a compelling advantage.

Physical distribution of digital content as an advantage

Just thinking out loud. At the most basic level, while internet is considered "virtual", there is still a physical/geographic limitation on the actual routing of bits and byte. For example, by providing coverage outside of homes and offices in a region, this would deter others from setting up parallel infrastructure. Furthermore, by linking into regional advertising base, a media company can provide very fine-grained data for advertisers which would be worth a lot more than just general IP based information.

In other words, could this be a form of digital distribution that is highly defensible?


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Controlling Data in the Cloud: Outsourcing Computation without Outsourcing Control

CCSW 2009: The ACM Cloud Computing Security Workshop

The cloud computing paper "Controlling Data in the Cloud: Outsourcing Computation without Outsourcing Control" by our security team with Fujitsu has been accepted by the workshop.

Paper Summary

Cloud computing is clearly one of today’s most enticing technology areas due, at least in part, to its cost-efficiency and flexibility. However, despite the surge in activity and interest, there are significant, persistent concerns about cloud computing that are impeding momentum and will eventually compromise the vision of cloud computing as a new IT procurement model. In this paper, we characterize the problems and their impact on adoption. In addition, and equally importantly, we describe how the combination of existing research thrusts has the potential to alleviate many of the concerns impeding adoption. In particular, we argue that with continued research advances in trusted computing and computation-supporting encryption, life in the cloud can be advantageous from a business intelligence standpoint over the isolated alternative that is more common today

New Cloud Computing Directions

Well, the really good stuff is at the end. They include
  • Information-centric security
  • High-Assurance Remote Server Attestation
  • Privacy-Enhanced Business Intelligence

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Seeking New Obsessions at Lunch Time

From Burning Man to chili pepper

When I joined the table, the conversation was on Burning Man and how participants frowned upon commerce/barter. It then drifted to the bartering spice trade between East and West. Logically, somebody next mused on the impact of Columbus landing in the America through the lens of chili pepper and the resulting culinary traditions around the world.

Human perceptions

With spices, the group got interested on the question of taste. In particular, unlike sight where three colors are enough to fully represent the human experiences via the RBG colors, taste has more receptors and we have not figured out how to fully represent it in a repeatable manner. Wine, for example, is magical in that precise way.

Seeking new obsessions

One person got pensive for a second and declared that it may be time to take on wine tasting because we at PARC spend a lot of time understanding and advancing specific domains. So, it would be the same process with wine tasting albeit more physically oriented.

To that idea, I, helpfully I think, suggested that tea, coffee, and cheese tasting should also be added to the candidate list.


Friday, September 11, 2009

User-Technology Convergence with Opportunity Discovery

Translating assets and capabilities into new markets and revenues

Companies often come to PARC to develop disruptive solutions for an existing or a new market. From the company's perspective, there is a set of assets and capabilities but internal processes is not always set up to look beyond one year.

PARC's Opportunity Discovery framework has been a favor tool for companies to systematically explore markets and options.


Here is a recent project we have developed for DNP of Japan. This should give you a flavor of what kind of work is involved with O/D


Thursday, September 3, 2009

What is Next for Internet, a 40 years Anniversary

Internet is 40 years old

September 2nd, 1969 marked the birth of ARPANET which converted to TCP/IP in 1983 into what we think of as internet today.

Speaking of which, the person behind TCP, Van Jacobson, sits a few doors down from me. And, no, I am not above name dropping.

CCN and Internet

But, more critically, Van is leading the Content Centric Networking effort which will address issues confronting all the internet stakeholders.

The traditional model is to connect devices via IP addresses. With CCN, it would be content based. So, instead of having millions of connections to a single website to watch an Olympic event live (and crash the site), the content can be propagated in a way that ensures high "perceived" throughput without actually requiring a new infrastructure.

Here is a video of Van talking about the content networking idea.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Social Media Today and Tomorrow

Social Media

It is no longer controversial to suggest social media is here to stay. From blogs, twitts, to Facebook and LinkedIn, PARC is actively participating in understanding and shaping what is to come.

I believe there are at least three interesting ways to look at Social Media and how they are impacting what we do today.

Disrupting Traditional Services

Dis-intermediation is an old concept from the dot com time. And, we are seeing it play out today in industries like newspaper. The woes facing the traditional newspaper is well known. The bundling of breaking news, fact checking, investigation, and editorials to attract a broad audience for advertisers is no longer compelling given the proliferation of citizen journalists and opinion makers through blog, twitts, and videos who in term break up audience into more targeted segments.

There is a lot of work on finding a new business model for the traditional newspaper. I think the litmus test for a new model is to think of how would the next (goodness forbid) "Watergate" would be exposed and discussed.

New Data and Interaction

It is also fascinating to consider how social media is creating a new layer of social fabric into our daily life. For example, some of my friends can only be found via Facebook these days. Conversely, with so much data and unverified facts flowing, how do I know who/what to believe? At a high level, what are the additional insight on social interactions that was not knowable until now where every user is generating discreet data as a primary source?

This is an area of much work at PARC.

Tomorrow's Social Media Today

Finally, with a combination of changing social norm and new technology, it is also changing the lens we will use to see the world. For example, how will the increasing power of smartphone play into this picture? There is a term "reality mining" that may make into the mainstream one day which describes what is possible given the explosion of personal social media and location data through the use of social media tools on smartphones. We have built quite a bit of technology on this front at PARC.

As for the question of the ultimate big brother or the ultimate personal assistant? Only time will tell.