Category Archives: Social Networks

Social Networks

The Cloud Fragmentation – How To Work Together

The Cloud Fragmentation – How To Work Together

Cloud computing is rapidly gaining popularity and all major players in the industry are noticing. It is obvious that this paradigm will be the driving force for business in the coming decade mainly due to the proliferation of the internet and the mobile market space. This growth is quite substantial and looks to be still in a great state of change where new applications and technology will still be developed and introduced, and in no small part thanks to social media. Social media is really the driving force for all these technology as it is the ultimate information delivery platform. Web applications and even consumer electronic hardware are being developed around social networking and media, and all the data and information circulating around its ecosystem are growing larger each day. A lot of experts would probably disagree with me here, but I think that this is the Data Gravity dynamic that we see at play here; the information and data around social networking and media has grown immensely that its mass is attracting new services and technology towards it.

As with every coin, there are two sides to this phenomenon – a good and a bad. The good news is that this growth is a big sign of progress and will only usher in new developments and better technology for the end user, leading to more choices and healthy competition. But the bad side is unfortunately also creeping along those lines. Diversity is not always a good thing because it leads to complexity, and that is really bad most of the time. What I am getting to here is fragmentation, the sheer number of choices leads to confusion and compatibility issues especially for data format critical systems used in business. It’s all well and good for the end user, but business executives and CIO’s will be scratching their heads and pulling their beards trying to figure out ways to get around this problem. When you have multiple systems and each using a different cloud service from a different cloud service provider, you are positioning yourself in such a way that it becomes inevitable that you shoot yourself in the foot. Sure it would be easy to choose one provider and stick with it, but in the long run you may need the services of another, then another, and eventually you would need for all of those services to work together. And then BANG, shot in the foot. Two things will happen, one is that you (the company) cope and still stand on one leg while the other heal, or crumple into the ground dazed and unable to get up.

Because of the perceived profitability of cloud computing, all major players in the industry are quickly bringing their own flavor into the cloud including Google, Microsoft, HP, Amazon, IBM, Cisco, and VMWare to name but a few. Some of these companies are pioneers in the field but they still lend to the overall fragmentation. What this essentially means is that not all of the services that these companies and those like them offer are compatible, in any way, making it almost impossible to switch providers when the need arises. You will see data lock-ins being more prolific as service providers try and retain the customers they have. So they will try to find ways to make it hard for you to transfer your data to other providers, effectively making you a long term customer and forcing you to avail of other services.

This problem can be attributed to the lack of standards in the field, which can also be attributed to the fragmentation. It’s a vicious cycle that could collapse if not looked into soon. Let’s take for example, cell phones with Bluetooth, no matter who manufactured that phone, you can bet that it will be able to communicate with a phone made by another manufacturer 100% of the time barring service outages. This is because of standard communication protocols, which is sadly missing in cloud computing. Sure, it still uses the common networking protocols for communication, but the services themselves and how they are programmed and set up is not made to work with other services by other companies. It would take a lot of man-hours and considerable technical knowledge in order to migrate services and applications to other providers.

By Abdul Salam

Top 25 European Rising Stars 2012 – Adpoints

Top 25 European Rising Stars 2012 – Adpoints

Top 25 European Rising Stars 2012 – Adpoints

……Adpoints Adds Points Advertising Videos Selectively in the Cloud

TV station…? Internet website…? Adpoints, to be sure, straddles both worlds. It might be a television channel to some whereas to others it is a cloud tool with a site of its own for selective ad viewing. It is located in Britain where it has earned recognition as one of the finest startups to come from the British Isles for being “cutting edge in our use of technology” as its CIO Jonathan Dunham explains.

adpoints-logo

The premise of the advertising startup is to provide intuitive ad-watching prizes for its subscriber base. It promotes four stages of amassing points as a reviewer of a catchy commercial on TV or the web.

These include:

*Watching a commercial.

*Replying to quizzes about the same.

*Paying a courtesy call to the ad site.

*Amassing the points.

Basically, it is almost like another survey out there but with an exception: the client has the power to select either the advertisement or hours in which to commit to viewing. Unlike typical television, the technology immerses itself into cloud computing as the selective venue of choosing promotional content. The only downturn is that the Nectar Adpoints package that came up October 8 of this year operates on invitational basis, though this may change. There are also other subscription details on the table to gamble with like providing emailing details and owning an Adpoints card.

Though Adpoints bestows viewership control to the T/A, who has a guarantee that the site will not favor some advertisers? The answer is that, as the homepage states, the software will just holistically hint on relevant commercials from all over the Big Spider for the T/A to grapple with at their own time. It enhances interactivity, by virtue of making the promotional videos not only fun to watch but also refreshing for the audiences that go on to review them and gain points.

How does it compare with YouTube’s TrueView? The one for YouTube is a little commercialized though it also works on the cloud. It usually concentrates more on how ad placers manipulate their pay per click budgets. If a viewer opts not to pay any attention to a given clip, then it gets without saying that the ad creator gets a blackout of information but correspondingly does not pay for the click. Alternatively, if there is a click, he or she pays the medium for this. In short, the click means that viewers have found the clip creative, a cross-line that one also finds in Adpoints’ viewership. The only difference here is the fact that Adpoints targets the end-user more than the advertiser. The former will even have to create a write up, based on a quiz regarding the watching experience.

But does the advertiser benefit at all? Arguably, Adpoints maybe a T/A’s boon, if there is anything like Target Audience on the variegated Internet, but it also helps ad placers to master their products’ true ratings. If a visitor comes and selectively chooses a certain commercial before reviewing it, the provider of the product maximizes on the feedback. This, according to the ad startup might help to improve on the product through this indirect feedback, right from the horse’s mouth.

There is also a commercial edge to AdPoints’ campaign that might appear subjective to some and cognitive to others. This is the quizzing phase whereby the visitor encounters dual queries, all of which are proposals by the creator of the advert. A promotional gimmick? Cognitive minds, on the other hand may say that there is logic in leaving the querying to the advertiser who knows best the Achilles Heel of the product. For example, they may target the comparative merit of the merchandise against another to establish its weak point and improve it later.

Adpoints says that its commercials that are on air at a given moment attract a 52 percent direct viewing attraction. The firm also says that 90 percent of answers from the T/A has so far aided companies to improve on their customer outcomes. The publishing part is a score because it relies on cloud technologies like monetization. This helps to provide points and turn them into cash, in transit, through the sites of Adpoints and the given ad provider.

The team behind the British startup, Adpoints, is Terry Hunt and Jason Froggett, in the Chairman and CEO positions respectively, among others.

By John Omwamba

A Quick Guide For Cloud Computing Companies

A Quick Guide For Cloud Computing Companies

Cloud Computing Companies That Don’t Understand Marketing

A recent small business cloud survey from Microsoft found that about two-thirds of small businesses relied on a single “IT guy” or small IT consulting company to provide them with most or all of their IT advice. As for the owners and decision makers who didn’t? Most of them did their own Internet research.

This is a big problem for small and medium cloud startups. My anecdotal experience has shown that an awful large number of cloud computing companies aren’t taking the SMB IT channel seriously. As far as I can tell, they think they can make more money going direct. That may be true on a per-sale basis, but it’s definitely not—at least for most companies—in the aggregate.

Additionally, many cloud companies don’t seem to appreciate that most small business decision makers don’t know what “the cloud” really means. When they go online looking for an answer to their software woes, they just want something that works. By focusing on “cloud,” cloud computing companies risk going unnoticed by all but the most savvy of decision makers.

Here are few more marketing tips cloud computing companies might want to consider:

  • Develop a serious channel program. Pronto. Don’t be stingy with your margins, and be sure to include promotional and informational materials support, as well as any additional marketing support you can spare. Finding the consulting companies that serve the types of businesses you want to target and call them. Explain exactly how partnering with you is going to grow their businesses. And remember: These are seasoned IT guys, so keep it real.
  • Participate in online cloud and IT communities. CloudTweaks, of course! But also places like Spiceworks, VarGuy, SMB Nation, and Redmond Channel Pro. Get involved with conversations and comment on relevant stories and blogs. Besides catching the attention of real people, it can help dramatically with pingbacks, backlinks, and your SEO efforts.  
  • Keep an active blog. Search engines love new content. Plus, having a constant flow of relevant and interesting content greatly enhances the chances of backlinks and climbing up the Google PageRank ladder.
  • Look for guest blogging opportunities. The same sites mentioned in #2 (plus many more) often accept guest posts from IT companies. Publishing companies always need content, so research their audiences, put something together, and pitch! The worst they can say is no—and you can still post it on your own company blog.
  • Go to shows and events. Even if your can’t afford a booth, going as an attendee is a great way to meet people and make connections. There are a ton of low cost (or even free) IT and cloud events, so take advantage of them. This may be the Web 2.0 era, but you still can’t afford to be antisocial if you want to succeed in the marketplace, electronic or otherwise.

By Robert Shaw

Top 25 European Rising Stars 2012: Zyncro

Top 25 European Rising Stars 2012: Zyncro

Top 25 European Rising Stars: Zyncro

Stay Socially Zynchronized in Enterprise 2.0: Yours Zyncro

Zyncro is a Spanish cloud startup, with its base in Barcelona. It has spanned its reach to seventeen other nations (with individual subscribers in a total of 27 nations) and its active fan base has reached 140,000. Its latest mark of success came during the awarding ceremony by a sponsor, EuroCloud, which places it as the most important startup extending solutions in the European cloud for the year in early October. So what could be so ‘golden’ about an entity that has just come as an addition to the Enterprise 2.0 wave?

Zyncro traces its success to being an Enterprise Social Networking platform. The company has drawn a whitepaper, that it claims to be the initial such paper commentating on the topic of entrepreneurial networking. The manual provides the fundamentals, the how-to’s, management guide on interactive corporate intranets, details on departmental networking and the sharing basics of the Enterprise Social Network.

The key to the windfall of success that has visited upon Zyncro is its software which is on Software as a Service dispensation, to use a cloud buzz word. It provides corporations with a flexible tool that can adapt easily to other corporate networking requirements, rather than generically. According to the site, the tool enables data “exchange” securely, flawlessly and collaboratively within an organization. It also synchronizes with other sharing platforms that already exist in-house, to improve the social interactions of enterprise at the mid and high levels.

Other providers of Enterprise 2.0 like Yammer, which has millions of subscribers, will find this offering different in the aspect of functionality. Its Application Programming Interface has the ability to sync with other open-ended software programs in the market and scripting languages like JavaScript. If a company has a site that only operates under a given set of applications, the management can easily synchronize the virtual activity of that existing stat with the service provision of Zyncro. Users can even go a step further, especially on the PaaS platform and develop an original tool that has a foundation in Zyncro. This makes the latter less of stand-alone tool but a flexible interface for widespread integration with existing or native applications. The only drawback, with reference to Yammer, is that the latter has bagged direct synchronization with Microsoft desktop products like Windows Office 365, while Zyncro needs to write these programs into its interface after launching.


Hyper-connecting a corporation using the cloud as an economical stepping stone, for easy management and accessibility of data is the major concern of the Enterprise 2.0 dispensation of Zyncro. There are charts and graphical representations on the startup’s site that depict this hierarchical and pedagogical interconnectivity. Different departments interact and collaborate, while managers and employees discuss issues through the right channels. The ROI of an entity can rise when there is interaction between the staff and the managers, to make productivity an organizational effort that utilizes investment resources that are core to the company. Micro-blogging also earns a mention on how organizations can cooperate through their sales, finance, management and IT departments, among others, by posting daily activities online. These are some of the infographics that Zyncro presents as primary to a company’s breakthrough using an interactive technology as the bridge.

The Website

At first glance, the Zyncro site looks lackluster but on further investigation, one begins to filter the underlying professional outline. There is, for example, the forum segment that provides details about how to use the products of the startup. The forum demarcates several selections where one can share information including that of a group, activity and department. As a model of the Enterprise 2.0 wave, Zyncro, through its forum ensures that people understand both the broad terminology of the term and the specific software from the firm itself.

Zyncro qualifies as a European Rising Star because as an entrepreneurial workspace, it traverses programming shortcomings by integrating API and scripting languages. Secondly, it has already managed to create a territory for mid-and-high-tier companies through its interactive tools that have an affinity with the most advanced enterprise interaction platforms in the market today. It helps companies using intranets and private clouds to benefit most from internal interactions in their midst. Currently, its clientele base consists of well-known corporations in Spain and continental Europe.

Previous Mention: DoxOut

By John Omwamba

Solving Problems On The Cloud Part 1: Netflix’s Example Of Strategic Problem Solving

Solving Problems On The Cloud Part 1: Netflix’s Example Of Strategic Problem Solving

Technical, marketing, and personnel, are all problems you may be facing in the cloud today.  To deal successfully with these issues we must avoid the common mistake of fixating on the immediate issues surrounding the problem and start taking steps to move the roadblocks out of the way. Netflix demonstrated this when they avoided a prolonged cloud outage courtesy of their friends at Amazon.

Cognitive science defines a problem as an obstacle in the present that is blocking a goal in the future. That’s a reasonable explanation but it’s not enough to solve anything. Let’s break it down a little more. A problem can also be well defined or poorly defined. The first step is to define the problem in a concrete proactive way.

Netflix had a problem. When their users want to watch a movie they don’t want to wait until Amazon fixes a cloud outage.

This issue could result in a serious loss of business. This observation is a good description of a problem but a poorly defined one. Transforming a problem description into a well-defined problem focuses our attention toward the best possible solution and keeps us off the path of murky and unclear solutions that find us staring at our screen fixating on issues we can do nothing about.

Moving Towards a Solution: Crafting a Well Defined Problem

A well-defined problem is one that leads to specific steps that can be realistically applied towards a specific end. At some point the professionals at Netflix transformed their ill-defined problem, outages upset customers who may cancel services, to a well-defined problem, how can we anticipate cloud outages so we can switch to another zone before our customer’s service in interrupted? Their answer was to develop Asgard technology that produces code that changes and manages Amazon resources better than the console provided by Amazon.

This seems simple enough but only because thinking through the problem description resulted a more concrete direction to solve what became a well-defined problem. We can imagine that in reality there were dozens of possible solutions. The Netflix team had to choose wisely lest the problem continue or even worsen. Still, this type foundational re-ordering of the problem is a solid first step toward solving any issue.

During the last week of October Asgard was put to the test as Netflix faced an outage. Within 20 minutes service was restored.  As we are put to test when it comes to problem solving skills, let’s make sure we begin with a well-defined problem before we begin processing scenarios. Next time we will discuss the Gestalt approach to restructuring a problem to add another tool to our problem solving tool mind set.

By Don Cleveland

Interactive Education Via Cloud: Welcome To The Brave New World

Interactive Education Via Cloud: Welcome To The Brave New World

Interactive Education Via Cloud: Welcome To The Brave New World

Nowadays it’s possible to trace the route a learner takes to and fro campus in a jiffy. It is not physical stalking that matters, here, but the technology. One will only need to profile a piece of travel communiqué on a social

networking site by the given student to a friend, to know his/her whereabouts. This is because for everything one does, the intranet or profile that they subscribe to observes them too. Though this data about a profile does not get overboard, the email company, the datacenter or the network where the information passes gleans part of it. Networks are playing the role of Big Brother, everyday, assessing clients’ behaviors and knowing how many times they have visited their private cloud.

In other words, the brave new world of cloud computing is bringing education into the social sphere. Though in most countries, especially in Europe, it would be criminal to gather specific data about someone, it is no crime, however, to map profile details. For example, a college can use its cloud intranet to trace the time Tom, Dick and Harry usually log in to the school’s e-library and the time they spend there. They might also monitor their sleeping times, which might affect their education in a way, courtesy of the messages they remit over their networking accounts to their friends.

In the light of the above examples, here are two elements that will continue to define the educational scene via the cloud.

Ubiquity in networking

The emergence of social media has had a strong influence on the way learners interact. At first this was just a social platform for exchanging personal information. However, it has turned into an educational setting where learners can exchange notes from each other. They can also display their resumes there for the employers to see them. They can also stay updated, all the time, about developments in the learning institution from independent sources rather than the authorities. Knowing, for example, from a third-party source that the top management is changing hands at a college soon can help a student prepare for the transition even before the official announcement.

Identification details will enhance personal accessibility of learning materials

A student with a user ID will get greater access to an institution’s pool of online resources than another who does not have one. If there is a question about a schedule that learners may have forgotten about, they can find it on the register, online. One can even resolve personal choices that reflect the psychological pressures of staying in an educational setting. For example, if one feels conscientious about the way he or she uses their pocket money, they only need to use their ID to enter into a tips section of their school’s Internet and find out what suggestions experts are offering on running a student’s budget successfully. Thus, having recognition in the cloud is helping in getting handy information.

Though all the elements above show a preference for knowing the profile information of the learners, in the long run it does not amount into compromising identity. It helps institutions to create analytical trends about their individual students for a more harmonized educational model. Chiefly, it aids students to access texts and enhance their decision making power, while at the same time boost their social life because they have a cloud identity.

By John Omwamba

Embrace Cloud, But Not At The Cost Of Your Ecosystem

Embrace Cloud, But Not at The Cost of Your Ecosystem

There is this great quote from the famous Hollywood flick, Spider-man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The current biggest industry on this earth, the IT sector, has recently come to terms with this much-used scripted quote as New York Times published a story on ‘Power, pollution and the internet’. This report exposed an issue which was mostly unseen or unnoticed by the industry champs. Here comes the question of cloud computing vs. environment efficiency.

What is the common notion about the energy efficiency of cloud computing? Ask the folks around and you will be amazed at their answers. Most of us perceive cloud service as something really brilliant when it comes to energy consumption. Cloud is like socialism. All private properties merge into a single one. To put it in a simple way, if all the Americans stop using their own vehicles and start using public transport systems, it will save the fuel consumption up to a great extent. So when you are checking the latest tweets from your smart phone, companies are using Gmail or Google Drive instead of using their own individual servers; it must be cutting the energy consumption.

But things are not that simple with cloud. It’s true that with cloud, individual usage of servers has seen a steep decline. Google, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, banks are taking care of your important business and personal data by storing it in their own servers. In fact, technically, they are securing data of millions or zillions of users like you. So those millions or zillions of users are not consuming that amount of electricity which could have been used in the absence of Google or PayPal’s servers.

Now, let’s try to paint a picture of those cloud giants’ thousand square feet long servers or data centers. It’s not a small IBM server, but a mammoth size data center with thousands of huge servers dedicated to millions of users. To maintain that mammoth thing work properly without any slow down or sudden crash, you need to create an endlessly running backup support. No rest, no switching off, no holiday for those data centers. And this endless service is possible only at the cost of an incredible amount of power supply. If I go by the numbers then it’s nearly “30 billion watts of electricity” the whole global digital warehouse consumes at large.

So ‘introspection’ is the ultimate call of the hour for all the cloud giants across globe.

By Durba Sengupta

Cloud Infographic: The Modern Office

Cloud Infographic: The Modern Office

Cloud Infographic: The Modern Office

Freedom from the office and the promise of working from anywhere has been an illusion for many years. However, this illusion now seems to be closer to reality than ever before. Automattic, the hosting company for WordPress.com servers, knows the future is now. They have 123 people that operate like self-employed workers, taking advantage of cloud and mobile apps to communicate across 26 countries and 94 cities. Everyone works from home. 

The global slowdown has put pressure on all aspects of our society and the IT department is no exception. Company-provided mobile devices are also declining in favor of a BYOD (bring your own device) approach…

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microsoft Infographic

Infographic Source: Microsoft

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Cloud Computing and Finland Green Technology

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New Report Finds 1 Out Of 3 Sites Are Vulnerable To Malware

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