HorizonWatching: Top Ten Friday Gadget Posts From 2009

On Fridays I usually publish a post on some type of current gadget or prototype of an innovation.  The idea is to have a little fun on Fridays, but also take a time to think about how these innovations can make our lives easier in the future.   

Here’s my top ten favorite Friday Gadget posts from 2009

  1. Friday Gadget: ProDigits – The Partial Hand Solution – A Bionic Hand solution that works
  2. Friday Gadget: Solar Impulse Plane – A plane that runs on solar power
  3. Friday Gadget: The Recon Scout Rescue Miniature, Mobile Reconnaissance Device – A small robot with camera and sensors for disaster relief
  4. Friday Gadget: City-Sheet e-paper concept  -  epaper will become a reality someday.  This is one idea how we’ll use it.
  5. Friday Gadget: High Speed Robot Hand – Research into sensors, using a robotic hand.
  6. Friday Gadget: i-Real Personal Mobility Device – Say goodbye to wheelchairs.
  7. Friday Gadget: Disaster Relief Quadcopter Robot – Deploy a communication network in an instant with miniature helicopters
  8. Friday Gadget: The Snuza Halo – Protecting babies in their cribs
  9. Friday Gadget: The Hummingbird Robot – Research is progressing into smaller and smaller flying robots.  The nano helicopter is around the corner.
  10. Friday Gadget:  Terrafugia's Transition Car Plane – Great idea for those who live in rural areas with big ranches and farms.

So there you have it.  I’ll be continuing to feature feature these types of posts in 2010.  Come to the blog on a Friday and you will usually see a Friday gadget post.

The Scientist: 2009 Top 10 Innovations

It’s been a tough year for every industry, and the life sciences are no exception. Yet companies and academic laboratories across the globe have developed innumerable new products designed to take your research to the next level. But with many lab budgets tighter than last year, which technologies are worth the investment?  via www.the-scientist.com

The top ten innovations listed in the article are

1) Pluripotency from proteins. New technique uses protein-induced stem cell technology and the specialized cells derived from it to reprogram cells to an embryonic-like state.

2) Quick pathogen ID. Breakthroughs in pathogen detection and testing basic mutation rates in viruses, forensics, and other applications

3) Manipulate cells using light. Tagging proteins to watch cellular events unfold and then manipulating those events with the molecular-level precision.

4) A camera that quantifies. The Evolve camera makes imaging data quantifiable and reproducible by measuring images in units of photoelectrons.

5) Zinc fingers create knockout rat.  ZFN technology from Sigma has numerous applications in basic research, agriculture, and possibly medical therapeutics.

6) All-in-one microscopes. New microscopes from Olympus combine illumination systems, microscopes, movable stages, and cameras all into a simple little box.

7) New sequence capture tool. New tool called HybSelect uses DNA microarrays to narrow in on regions of the genome that play an important role in a particular disease.

8) New measure of metabolism. The new XF96 Analyzer provides a comprehensive picture of cellular metabolism and how that process goes awry in disease.

9) New recipe for protein expression. Highlights a trend towards synthetic genes

10) Cell culture in 3D. $35,000 Benchtop BioLevitator combines an incubator and a centrifuge into a single unit. It is one of the first 3D cell culture systems.


Business.com: 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study

BusinessCOM SM Report Business.com recently released their 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study.   The objective of the study was to assess current trends in the use of social media in North American businesses.  

The results of the study were based on the 2,948 valid responses to Business.com’s survey during August and early September, 2009 and the report provides an interesting view into where businesses are finding value in social media across different activities and sites. 

The report is organized into two sections. The first section discusses how business people utilize social media today to find business-relevant information.  The second section covers corporate social media initiatives, benchmarking experience with social media for business (both respondent and company), top social media activities and how companies judge social media success today.

Highlights

Nearly 65% of respondents reported using social media as part of their normal work routine, including reading blogs, visiting business profiles on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn or using Twitter to find information and/or communicate about business-related matters

Among those using any form of social media to find business-relevant information, the most popular activity is attending webinars or listening to podcasts (69%) followed by reading  ratings/reviews for business products or services (62%). The least popular activities are saving business-related links on social bookmarking sites (28%) and participating in discussions on 3rd party web sites (29%).

Major Findings

  • Over 1900 participants in the study indicated that they work for a company involved in social media initiatives. 92% are directly involved in planning or managing these initiatives.
  • On average, these individuals spend 18% of their time in any given week working on these initiatives.
  • 71% of the companies surveyed have less than two years of experience with social media.
  • The average company in the study is currently involved in 7 different social media efforts.
  • Top activities include – maintaining company related accounts and profiles on social media sites (70%), followed by monitoring company-related mentions on social media sites (60%) and maintaining one or more company blogs (60%).
  • 66% of social media initiatives are driven by marketing, followed by 23% by customer support and 8% by product development departments.
  • On average, companies use four different metrics to measure their social media initiatives – web site traffic, engagement with prospects and customers, brand impact – basically awareness and reputation, quantity and quality of leads
  • 80% maintain a presence on Facebook.
  • 56% have a company account on Twitter.
  • A typical company in the study, maintains a presence on three different social media sites. 
  • 47% of companies in the study upload content to one or more content sharing sites. So, although they may have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube, some companies may not be regularly sharing content. Over commitment to many social media initiatives at any one time has been sited by numerous case studies as a driving factor behind poor social media performance.  
  • YouTube is the leading business content sharing site; used by 65% of those in the study that share content online.

Report’s Table of Contents

The report table of contents below can give you a feel for the type of information in the report:

  • Beyond Chatting with Friends: Social Media as a Business Resource
    • Who Uses Social Media as a Resource for Business Information?
    • Most Popular Social Media Resources for Business
  • Most Useful Social Media Resources for Business
  • Current State of Corporate Social Media Initiatives
    • Respondent and Company Experience with Business Social Media
    • Top Corporate Social Media Activitie
    • How Companies Judge Social Media Succes
    • Initiative Detail: Managing Business Profiles on Social Media Site
    • Initiative Detail: Participating in Q&A Site
    • Initiative Detail: Using Social Media Monitoring Tool
    • Initiative Detail: Sharing Business Content on Social Media Sites
    • Initiative Detail: Business Content Bookmarking on Social Media Sites

The full report can be downloaded via the following link:  http://www.business.com/info/business-social-media-benchmark-study

Pew Internet: Adults on Social Network Sites, 2005-2009

According to an October 2009 Pew Internet report titled The Democratization of Online Social Networks, 46% of online American adults 18 and older use a social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, or LinkedIn.  This is up from 8% in February 2005.

Highlights of the report include:

  • 79% of American adults used the internet in 2009, up from 67% in Feb. 2005
  • 46% of online American adults 18 and older use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 8% in February 2005.
  • 65% of teens 12-17 use online social networks as of Feb 2008, up from 58% in 2007 and 55% in 2006.
  • As of August 2009, Facebook was the most popular online social network for American adults 18 and older.

Of adult SNS users:

  • 73% have a Facebook account
  • 48% have a MySpace profile
  • 14% have an account on LinkedIn
  • 1% each on Yahoo, YouTube, Tagged, Flickr and Classmates.com
  • 10-12% are on “other” sites like Bebo, Last.FM, Digg, Blackplanet, Orkut, Hi5 and Match.com

Read more in Amanda Lenhart's presentation, which is available for download on Slideshare.

Global Location Trends Annual Report

Global Locations Trends A few days ago, IBM's Global Location Trends report-October 2009 was released. 

IBM’s Plant Location International services have been around for 50 years.  This IBM team provides advice to companies on their location decisions, covering all sectors and types of business functions.  Over the years, this team has acquired extensive expertise and knowledge on what shapes corporate investment decisions.  The team also works with government agencies worldwide for economic development and investment promotion in their efforts to improve and market their locations to investors.

Highlights from the 2009 Global Location Trends report include:

  • The economic recession clearly affected global investment activity: a decline of 25% in jobs created through foreign investment.
  • Various 'hot-spots' among the emerging markets were severely affected, as companies postponed or cancelled larger, risk bearing projects.
  • Stable, mature markets performed relatively better than the emerging markets, still attracting the smaller, consumer oriented projects, and being a safe choice for many consolidation projects (although the majority of these also showed overall decreases).
  • The widening of global investment continued. Despite the overall decrease in total investment, companies extended their search for markets, talents, and cost efficiency to new corners of the world. In particular, Africa continues to increase its share of global investment.
  • First indications for 2009 show that the above trends continue up until recently. Q3 and Q4 however clearly show signals of increasing activity. This is unlikely to lead shortly to similar numbers of new jobs as in recent record years, but shows that companies are beginning to change their focus to growth strategies again.

To find out more about IBM's Plant Location International team or to download the Global Location Trends report, visit the  IBM Global Location Trends website

Economy – Pickup in 2H09?

As I continue, like so many others, to look  for a job, the report from the National Association for Business Economics yesterday morning came as music to my ears.  The panel of 45 economics expects economic growth to rebound in the second half of 2009. And almost 75% of the survey respondents expect the recession to end by the end of 2009.  I thought I would provide a quick summary of their predictions in the table below:

GDP Growth

-1.8% in 2Q09, +1.2% for 2H09, -3.7% for FY09, +2.7% for FY10

Deficit

$1.7T in 2009 falling to $1.4T in 2010

Jobs

9.8% unemployment in 2009 down to 9.3% in 2010

Housing

Sales and housing starts to hit bottom in 1H09

Disagreement about timing of price bottoming out

Spending

Thrifty behavior to stay

Credit

Obtaining credit remains difficult despite actions from the FED to alleviate crunch

Next 5 years

Potential economic growth between 2.5% and 3%

 

More on the Impact of Social Media for Marketers

As Facebook is also dominating my kids’ Internet interactions,  I wanted to follow up on Bill’s blog about social media among consumers with some information from an additional survey on social networking led by Nielsen.   The key point of this study is that participation in “member communities” which include social networking and blogging venues now exceeds email participation and is growing over three times the rate of overall Internet growth.   Two thirds of the world’s internet users visited a social networking site in 2008.  Social media now accounts for almost 10 percent of Internet time, leading by Facebook.   Interestingly, Facebook greatest growth has come from 35-49 year olds and it has added twice as many 50-64 year olds as those under 18.  Growth is strong outside the US as well.  The study goes one step futher, showing the consequences of this shift for marketers:

Publishers need to understand that the willingness of consumers to generate opinion and co-create content represents a big opportunity to increase audience and engagement on their own sites.  They should instigate functionality that enables communities and conversation and participate in the conversation on social network sites. 

For Advertisers, the rise of social media is decreasing portals importance as the value of online real estate is increasingly measured by time spent, rather than pages viewed.   A key reason why advertising on social networks has not been as successful as on the more “traditional” publishers is because social networks serve a dual role as both the suppliers and consumers of content – advertising should not be about interrupting or invading to the social network experience so it should be part of the conversation and messaging should become more authentic and be about adding value.    The search for a model is even more urgent now that social media has broken out of the youth demographic.  The messaging will have to be built on the principle of two way conversation rather than a push model.

For more information:  http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/nielsen_globalfaces_mar09.pdf

CIOL: Top Trends in India for 2009

India is a big part of the future of the IT industry.  I think we all realize that.

I was looking for 2009 trends lists that were specific to India and came upon the CIOL website.  CIOL is short for Cybermedia India Online LImited.  The CIO website http://www.ciol.com focuses on the Information Technology industry within India.  It appears that CIOL has become a popular Internet destination for IT professionals, vendors, solution providers, CIOs and CEOs of Indian enterprises.

The website had a Special Report that provided 2009 outlooks on a number of IT segments.  In many cases, CIOL invited executives from Indian IT vendors to provide their own views of what the important trends will be in the India IT industry during 2009. 

Below you'll find that I've summarized the relevant trends posts on CIOL by by major IT trend category. 

CIO Challenges

Mobility

Security

Outsourcing

Enterprise Technologies

Networking Trends 

Storage Trends 

So those are a bunch of trends posts that CIOL published.  After reading them you can get a good feel for what is important in India during 2009.   If anyone reading this has other good sources of 2009 trends in India, please provide them in the comment section below.  Thanks!

Springboard: India IT Market To Grow At 14% in 2009

Springboard research recently published a list of top trends expected to impact IT spending in India in 2009.  In their press release, Springboard predicts that India’s IT spending is expected to grow at an annual rate of 14.1% in 2009, down from 18.1% growth in 2008.  Springboard says that IT spending in verticals like retail and real estate will be hardest hit, while the advent of 3G and a largely protected financial system will help sustain growth in the telecom and banking/finance verticals respectively.  In addition, government stimulus initiatives to spur economic growth and increase spending on public security and national defense, coupled with rural sector initiatives should include outlays for new technology in the years to come.

India's Top Ten IT Trends

Here is Springboard's list of the top 10 trends in IT spending for India in 2009

  1. Arrival of 3G unlocks enormous opportunities for IT vendors
  2. Cost concerns will drive a key focus on IT infrastructure consolidation
  3. Economic pressures to drive SMBs towards outsourcing and SaaS
  4. Start-ups and smaller firms become more important accounts for IT vendors
  5. Virtualization will gain traction in medium and large sized enterprises
  6. IT outsourcing will be seen as a catalyst to HR retention and cost reductions during the economic squeeze
  7. Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry to transform further with new technologies
  8. Online advertising markets to gain momentum with the emergence of niche social networking sites and regional portals
  9. The Public Sector will buoy IT spending
  10. Green IT will be fueled by cost efficiency benefits

Springboard’s executive brief, “India IT Market Predictions 2009,” is available for free download at Springboard's Research Central (registration required)

India's Top IT Services Vendors

Springboard also recently released a report on the IT Services market in India.  Springboard says that the US$4.8 billion Indian IT Services Market is a highly fragmented and competitive marketplaces.  The top three players, IBM (market share 10.8%), Wipro (market share (8.7%) and TCS (market share 6.1%), took up a quarter share of the market.  According to Springboard’s research, the market in 2008 saw an overall increase in the average deal size of contracts where buyer enterprises are not only using IT vendors as technology providers but as business partners, providing them with means of competitive differentiation.   More information can be found at Top 10 Vendors Grabbed 39% of India’s IT Services Market in 2008, Says Springboard Research

NMC: 2009 Horizon Report for Higher Education

The 2009 Horizon Report was recently released at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.  The annual Horizon Report is a collaborative effort between the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the ELI.   Each year, the report identifies six emerging technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on higher education in the next one to five years.  In addition, the report presents an overview accompanied by examples and suggested readings for each technology. 

The areas of emerging technology cited for 2009 are:

Timeframe:  The Next 12 months…

  • Mobiles (i.e., mobile devices).   New interfaces, the ability to run third-party applications, and location-awareness have all come to the mobile device in the past year, making it an ever more versatile tool that can be easily adapted to a host of tasks for learning, productivity, and social networking.
  • Cloud computing.  Inexpensive, simple solutions to offsite storage, multi-user application scaling, hosting, and multi-processor computing are opening the door to wholly different ways of thinking about computers, software, and files. 

Timeframe:  Next 1-3 years….

  • Geo-everything (i.e., geo-tagging).  Many devices can automatically determine and record their own precise location and can save that data along with captured media (like photographs) or can transmit it to web-based applications for a host of uses.  The full implications of geo-tagging are still unfolding.
  • The personal web.  Using a growing set of free and simple tools and applications, it is easy to create a customized, personal web-based environment — a personal web — that explicitly supports one’s social, professional, learning, and other activities. 

Timeframe:  4-5 years…

  • Semantic-aware applications.  New applications are emerging that are bringing the promise of the semantic web into practice without the need to add additional layers of tags, identifiers, or other top-down methods of defining context.
  • Smart objects.  While the underlying technologies that make this possible — RFID, QR codes, smartcards, touch and motion sensors, and the like — are not new, we are now seeing new forms of sensors, identifiers, and applications with a much more generalizable set of functionalities. 

For more information, you can download the 2009 Horizon Report or view the Web version.

Verizon: 2009 Top 10 Tech Trends

Verizon Business issued a press release back on December 10, 2008 with a list of 2009 trends.  The press release, Verizon Business Helps IT Leaders Set Sights for 2009, provides a list of 10 trends Verizon says will be hot during the difficult 2009 economic environment.

You can read the press release for detail, but here is a summary of Verizon Business' list of 10 hot trends for 2009:

  1. Enterprise 2.0:  Web 2.0 is quickly evolving into Enterprise 2.0 as these rich capabilities are creating new business models for some companies and empowering new strategies for others.  Look for Enterprise 2.0 to help organizations take their game to the next level through enhanced collaboration, communications and sharing ideas.
  2. Work as Activity Versus Place:  Companies will continue to recognize the productivity-boosting benefits of enabling mobile teleworkers or at-home teleworkers.  Telework, including new high-definition virtual meetings, will create an increased focus on work as an activity versus a physical location.
  3. Doing More with Less:  Businesses and governments everywhere are looking for ways to do more with less.  In 2009, it's all about productivity.  Companies can choose which functions to keep in-house and which to hand off to a third party.
  4. Visual Communications:  Video will continue to play a starring role, as companies make the most of their IP connections to create a culture of collaboration. From the boardroom to the desktop to the laptop to the mobile phone, more collaboration will take place, as companies increasingly embrace the cost-savings, productivity and environmental benefits of virtual meetings versus business travel.
  5. Unified Communications Integrated Into Business Processes:  With UC now at the forefront of business communications strategies, companies are making decisions about voice telephony that will help them achieve greater collaboration and productivity.  What's next:  UC integrated into automated business processes, where human and machine intelligence commingle in an IP world to drive even greater business growth.
  6. Ready, Set Go IPv6:  IPv6 will be a necessity for companies to achieve mobility and scalability with increased efficiency and ultimately move their businesses forward.
  7. Getting SaaSy:  Buying computing resources a la carte will help companies control costs while attaining the security, performance, scalability and reliability required for the enterprise.    
  8. 360 Security:  Three hundred sixty-degree security, mandatory on any IT checklist, requires that the flow of data be protected in and out of the corporate network and through the extended enterprise of widespread and mobile customers, partners, suppliers and employees.
  9. Eco-Responsibility as Sound Business Strategy:  Companies will evaluate eco-responsibility along with their technology investments as part of an overall business strategy.   Corporate social responsibility is becoming increasingly important in how companies are viewed by their employees, customers and investors.
  10. Cutting Through the Compliance Clutter:  In 2009, expect more, not less, with IT in the hot seat for ensuring IT systems are fully compliant and all the right controls are in place.  "Smart" tools will allow an organization to quickly review whether its partners, customers and suppliers, which form an extended network, are complying with relevant standards and regulations, a critical consideration in today's increasingly connected world.

Number 2 and 4 seems to be potential big trends as business travel is expected to be cut big time in 2009.   I am also interested in seeing how #5 develops this year.

As this is from Verizon, of course it is slanted towards communications technology.  But that is okay as I think it is best to cast a wide net when trying to understand trends.  This list from Verizon can help us understand some  of the issues going on in mobile communications.  We can use this list to dive deeper into any of these trends identified above and make our own assessments.

eWeek: Five SMB/Midmarket Tech Trends to Watch in 2009

eWeek has weighed in with their annual list of top SMB / MidMarket IT trends to watch in 2009.  With IT budgets expected to be tight this year, eWeek says that small business owners must make wise investments in order to stay competitive.   And because of the focus on cutting costs and managing budgets, eWeek says that technologies such as cloud computing, virtualization and the latest notebooks/netbooks can be well suited for midmarket companies.

  1. Cloud Computing.  eWeek says cloud computing will continue to get traction, especially in the SMB marketplace.  
  2. Virtualization.   eWeek says because of the potential for cost savings, virtualization will be a key trend in 2009 for SMBs.  Plus, eWeek says, building a virtual infrastructure can often result in a higher availability of resources, better desktop management, increased security and improved disaster recovery processes.   
  3. Notebook/Netbook Adoption.  The attractiveness of notebooks and their smaller, less powerful cousins, netbooks, has grown as features such as battery life and structural durability has improved…making this a trend to watch in 2009.   
  4. Open Source Software.  While open source certainly hasn't become a dominant force in the midmarket space, as more SMBs adopt open source technologies for non-critical applications, it is likely others, particularly tech-savvy small business owners, will realize the cost benefit potential of open source technology.
  5. Online Social Networking.  eWeek says social networking has the potential to level the playing field for SMBs in a big way, but first need to understand what you want social media to do for your company.

Cloud computing is a trend I have been following for over a year and I'd have to agree that we will see increased interest from SMBs for not only SaaS, but Infrastructure as a Service as well.

The netbook trend is getting increased attention in the press.  It will be interesting to see how the mobile device market and the netbook market morph over time.

Online social networking is a trend that I think will get even more hype in 2009 as the focus moves from consumer (e.g. Facebook) related social networking to business (e.g. LinkedIn) related social networking.  With layoffs in the picture for 2009, people will be staying in touch even more via social networking sites.

To read the full article, go to the eWeek page:  Five Tech Trends to Watch in 2009