July 18, 2011
Volume XXXV, Issue 11
Cloud-Based Videogames Will Put Pirates Out of Business
Excerpted from VentureBeat Report by Matthew Lynley
Ever wonder what the gaming world would be like without pirates?
That future isn't too far away, thanks to the advent of cloud-based gaming services like Otoy, OnLive, and Gaikai.
Cloud-based gaming companies run videogames on very powerful remote computer servers and then stream the game like a YouTube video to a computer. If a gamer has a half-decent Internet connection, they won't notice a difference in quality between playing on a remote cloud server or using their own computer or a home console to power a game.
If those companies have their way, gaming will only exist in the cloud in the future.
"We'll be there in 10 years - if that," said OnLive's CEO Steve Perlman.
That means that hard copies of games and digital downloads will become a thing of the past, along with retail stores like GameStop. And because they only live in the cloud, it will be almost impossible to steal those games and distribute them on the Internet for free.
Currently it's not that difficult to "crack" a copy of an existing game - like, say, "Call of Duty: Black Ops" - and create an "image" of the game for a tech-savvy gamer. Individuals can then distribute that image across the Internet, and anyone can play the game for free if they have the proper software to run the image. It's even easier to steal games for mobile devices. Stealing games for the iPhone is a little more difficult, because gamers will have to jailbreak their phones, but Android users don't even have to do that.
"Piracy in the mobile space is rampant, it's 90 plus percent for something like 'Angry Birds,'" said Rob Wyatt, chief scientist at Otoy - another cloud gaming provider. "It's even easier for games built on WebGL and HTML5 - every texture, shader and asset is loaded as a separate file, so it's easy to find the file and download it."
It's especially true internationally, where game piracy runs rampant. "Angry Birds" is one of the most pirated game in China, said Rovio's head of global brand advertising Wibe Wagemans. International companies also have a tendency to "rip off" content and art from those games because it's easy to break into a game and modify the content, he said. Those developers then publish a very similar game and distribute it, and usually end up making a good bit of money, he said.
Cloud gaming companies had a chance to come to prominence thanks to the recession, Wyatt said. The recession tightened the budgets of gamers everywhere, and that delayed the advent of the next console generation, he said. Had the recession not happened, the PlayStation 4 would be here by now. Wyatt would know, too, as he helped develop both the Xbox and the PlayStation 3.
"That next generation is seriously in doubt, both boxes are pretty much the same feature set," he said. "I don't think there's much need for a next-generation console - you're going to have one box, and you play it on any device like a television or a tablet."
There are two ways those services can charge gamers to play videogames. They can require gamers to pay the full price for a game - like you would in a videogame store like GameStop - or pay a monthly subscription like other online games like "World of Warcraft." OnLive, for example, does a mix of both: A large number of the games fall under a subscription while the newest titles require gamers to pay the full price.
The games industry has been pretty civil about hunting down videogame pirates. Activision Blizzard, which employs the IP Cybercrime investigation firm, has opted to issue warnings first, for example. The tactics are different from those used by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the organization that represents music labels, in cracking down on music pirates. The RIAA's tactics are much tougher, and the organization has been vilified for going after music fans and suing them relentlessly.
Cheating in online games will also become a thing of the past with cloud gaming, Wyatt said. Most online games are populated with a small group of people who use "man in the middle" attacks, which compromise a packet headed to a game's server that makes the character do something different. That can speed up a character's movement or make them instantly get a headshot without having to aim.
"Because it's in the cloud, you can't access the network," he said. "Spoofing packets is nearly impossible because of the speed of the transmission and because all the computing happens at the other end."
Report from CEO Marty Lafferty
The DCIA unequivocally supports rights holders in the licensing of copyrighted works and monetizing their distribution over broadband networks. And generally speaking, current copyright laws provide adequate means for the enforcement of those rights.
Consumers often lead the way in the digital realm, however, with their early adoption of new, more efficient delivery systems for which the entertainment sector has failed to develop new business models.
Where technological innovation proceeds more quickly than the ability of entertainment interests to stay current with new advancements, we advocate collaboration among rights holders, network operators, and software distributors and not turning to lawmakers in an attempt to slow the pace of change.
The DCIA believes that meaningful, substantive progress in harnessing disruptive technologies for the benefit of all affected parties requires the participation of all three industry groups, while at the same time remaining committed to delivering ever-increasing value to end-user customers.
This week, we join the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) in its opposition of US Senate Bill S. 978, to amend the criminal penalty provision for criminal infringement of a copyright, and for other purposes, a bill currently being fast-tracked through Congress without adequate opportunities for critical review.
If enacted, S.978 would amend current copyright law to include not only the unauthorized replication and redistribution of copyrighted works, but also "public performances by electronic means."
Specifically, US citizens would be subject to severe penalties, including felony-length prison sentences, for making or offering ten or more public performances by electronic means during any 180-day period of one or more copyrighted works; if the total retail value of the performances, or the total economic value of such public performances to the infringer or to the copyright owner, could exceed $2,500; or if the total fair market value of licenses to offer performances of those works would exceed $5,000.
While the bill is intended to ensure that the unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material is deemed unlawful, similar to the ways in which unlicensed downloading and uploading already is - which we strongly support in principle - its wording is so inarticulate as to potentially expose people to serious punishment for widely accepted, harmless, and frequently performed behaviors.
The bill's sponsors, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) were woefully misguided in their introduction of this potentially very dangerous measure that would in many ways be tantamount to repealing the First Amendment.
In plain language, under this bill, if you streamed your videogame play, your child dancing to a favorite song, your poking fun of a recent movie scene, or your latest practice session on a musical instrument, and it was viewed by one or more friends, you could go to jail for up-to-five years and face a very large fine.
The measure's vagueness regarding value leaves it to copyright holders to assign monetary damages to such behaviors, and if they elect to prosecute, they can.
This bill comes at a time when progressive game developers, music creatives, and video programmers are increasingly encouraging players, listeners, and viewers to post user generated content (UGC) online. Such content producers are now going so far as to include this functionality in their games, offer separate elements for remixing of their musical tracks, and promote various interactive applets for their videos.
Making these activities a crime, in our humble opinion, would represent several steps backward for all participants in the distribution chain.
"While we believe in the rights of copyright holders," said the ECA, "this legislation's broad language would make criminals out of millions of Americans." The DCIA concurs and strongly urges DCINFO readers to join us in opposing S.978 as drafted.
Among action items that you can take is joining ECA's letter-writing campaign and its related working group Gamers for Digital Rights.
We agree with the ECA: there are already very strong copyright laws on the books to protect the intellectual property (IP) of rights holders. This draconian measure, which would unnecessarily criminalize millions of Americans and offers no benefit whatsoever to consumers, is not desirable by any right-minded person whether in the entertainment or technology sector.
The US federal government surely has more meaningful work to do than furthering this ill-conceived proposal. Share wisely, and take care.
Videogames Industry Grows Digitally
Excerpted from Digital Media Wire Report by Chris Marlowe
Spending on videogames went up to $5.9 billion in the US during the first quarter, an increase of 1.5% over the same period in 2010, according to market research firm the NPD Group. That's obviously good news for the entire industry, but it's worth noting that the amount that went toward physical copies of titles to be played on game consoles and PCs actually declined.
The overall increase is mainly in game rentals, subscriptions, digital full-game downloads, social network games, downloadable content, and mobile phone games. NPD found software sales dropped by 6% in 2010 and are down about 5.7% for the first five months of 2011 compared to the same period last year. Consumers spent $2.03 billion on new videogame console and PC software in the first quarter, compared to $2.26 billion a year ago.
When asked if NPD expected to see a trend of these digital videogame revenues continuing to increase at the expense of physical games, NPD analyst Anita Frazier told VentureBeat, "The space is evolving too rapidly to anticipate any future trends except for the fact that the rate of change is more on the sudden end of the scale than gradual."
First quarter is traditionally a slow sales period for videogames, as the industry begins building anticipation for its tentpole releases in the fall.
Ignite Technologies Helps Incorporate Video into Mobile and Social Media
TMC, in partnership with Interactive Media Strategies, this week announced that Ignite Technologies has signed on as a platinum sponsor of their Business Video Expo, in Austin, TX from September 13th to 15th.
Ignite provides secure and scalable Enterprise Content Delivery solutions that help organizations change the economics of communication with their employees, partners, and customers. Ignite's software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform enables companies to efficiently publish, deliver, and manage video and other forms of rich media.
At the Business Video Expo, Ignite will showcase a number of solutions, including: Video Delivery - to publish, protect, target, deliver, and measure high-definition video; Software Delivery - for computer system inventory, asset management, software delivery, and patch management; Live Streaming - enabling enterprises to provide high quality streams without adversely affecting their networks; Social Media - to help employees self-generate and publish video and easily make comments, tag, rate and share content across the enterprise; and Mobile Support - to easily deliver video content directly to any iPhone, iPad, or Android mobile device.
"Ignite's solutions fit perfectly with the charter of the Business Video Expo - which is designed to help organizations learn how to use video technology to build competitive advantage, communicate more effectively, and save money in the process," said Steve Vonder Haar, research director of Interactive Media Strategies, and conference chair of the Business Video Expo.
"We're looking forward to sharing their expertise, and their innovative technology with our attendees in Austin."
More information on Ignite's video, mobile, social media, and enterprise live streaming solutions is available online. Registration for the Business Video Expo is now open.
Free Webinar - Abacast's Blueprint for Profitable Radio Streaming
Much has been written lately regarding the business model for online radio streaming. Is it possible to make a profit, or just break even?
How can your sales staff easily sell and traffic digital inventory and generate incremental revenue?
How do royalties, CPM values, and sponsorships affect your ability to achieve profitability?
Join Matt Sunshine of the Center for Sales Strategy and host Michael Dalfonzo of Abacast as they share a specific blueprint for achieving profitable radio streaming. The blueprint is based on a proven formula that Abacast believes is the best digital sales and trafficking model in practice today for the majority of station groups.
Michael Dalfonzo has held nearly every position in a radio station including Station Manager, Program Director, Music Director and Air Talent. Before joining Abacast as Sales Manager, Michael was VP of Sales at Spacial Audio Solutions. Previous to that he served as Director of Industry Affairs at RCS and as VP of New Technology at the Seattle based Research Group. While there, he developed and brought to market Virtual Radio Programming which became the model for several other companies' hub and spoke program distribution systems.
Session attendees will receive an overview of the 3-R Selling strategy, as well as specifics in how to package, position, sell, and traffic digital ads in a scalable manner using today's streaming and ad trafficking tools.
Click here to register for this event.
The DCIA to Sponsor World Telecom Summit 2011
The DCIA is proud to serve as the exclusive media sponsor of World Telecom Summit 2011 from November 9th to 11th in Singapore.
The 2011 program will focus on topics that demonstrate innovation across the telecommunications industry, both on a commercial and technical level, to improve profitability and quality of next generation technologies and customer experiences.
Key topics likely to be discussed during this year's summit include: 4G/LTE Networks Deployment, LTE Challenge Management Approaches, Spectrum Challenges, 4G/LTE Regulation, M2M Utilization, Customer Experience Management (CEM), Social Media Implications & Applications, Subscriber Database Usage, Challenges & Administration of CEM, Convergence for New CEM, Cloud Computing, Regional Focus on Asia-Pacific, Cloud Revenue Streams, Network Optimization Strategies, Cloud Security Management, and Growth & Marketing Business Models.
We are expecting a highly targeted audience from around the world.
BitTorrent to Launch Paid Version of uTorrent
Excerpted from TechSpot Report by Emil Protalinski
BitTorrent this week announced that it will launch a premium client called uTorrent Plus this fall. The new client will be aimed at those who are looking for extra convenience and powerful new features.
The company made a point to assure users uTorrent Plus is an additional release and that it will not be replacing any of the company's current offerings. The free uTorrent client will continue to be available, and will receive the same level of commitment and development resources as it does now.
BitTorrent said it is not yet ready to release all the details, but did say that uTorrent Plus is designed for people who are looking for a single solution to find, get, and play content on any device. It will eliminate hassles with codec and conversion issues, struggles with device shifting, and so on.
It's not yet clear if this project has something to do with codename Chrysalis, a new BitTorrent client that went into alpha back in March 2011. Either way, if you want to stay up-to-date on the latest news, participate in invite-only betas, and reserve your spot to get the new uTorrent Plus first and with special discounts, you can sign up at utorrent.com/community/labs/plus.
Earlier this month, the BitTorrent protocol turned 10 years old. There are numerous BitTorrent clients available for multiple computing platforms, the most popular of which is uTorrent Version 3.0., which adds many new features, was released last month.
In January 2011, the company revealed that BitTorrent and uTorrent hit 100 million monthly users. On an average day, 20 million users from over 220 countries use either of the two BitTorrent clients, available in 52 languages, and 400,000 new clients are downloaded every day.
New Service Offers Music in Quantity, Not by Song
Excerpted from NY Times Report by Ben Sisario
Daniel Ek, the 28-year-old co-founder and public face of Spotify, the European digital music service, paced around the company's loftlike Manhattan office on Tuesday afternoon, clutching two mobile phones that buzzed constantly.
After nearly two years of stop-start negotiations with record labels, Spotify was preparing to finally open in the United States. With less than 48 hours before its planned start, however, the company still had not completed its final major label deal, with the Warner Music Group.
Yet Mr. Ek said he was confident that there would be no delay, and that Americans would soon be able to experience what has made Spotify the world's most celebrated new digital music service. He was right. By Wednesday afternoon, Spotify's deal with Warner was signed, and on Thursday, as scheduled, it will become available in the United States.
"We've made it easier to listen, and we've made it easier for people to share," Mr. Ek said. "Hence, people tend to get more into the experience, and they tend to find new music and build larger collections that they want to take with them. And therefore, they also pay more for music."
If Apple's iTunes ushered in digital music's first phase as a large-scale business, then Spotify and other services like it could be its future. Rather than selling individual tracks to be downloaded, subscription services sell monthly access to vast catalogs of music, with whatever songs a listener wants to hear streamed directly to his computer or mobile phone.
Spotify will be offered in the same three-tier plan that it has in Europe: a free, ad-supported version; a basic ad-free version for $5 a month; and a premium service for $10 a month that adds access on a mobile phone, higher audio quality and other perks.
At first, Spotify's free version will be available by invitation only, given out through current users or by the company to the thousands who have requested the service on Twitter and through its Web site. (Paid subscriptions will be available right away.)
With its lightning-fast interface, easy integration with Facebook and "freemium" business model, Spotify has quickly become the most popular such service in the world. Begun in Sweden in 2008 and until now available in only seven European countries, it has signed up 1.6 million paid subscribers and more than 10 million registered users in total. It also has been one of the fastest-growing investments in the new digital boom, having recently raised $100 million in a round of investment that valued the company at $1 billion.
But Spotify faces a number of challenges in the American market. While the company had relatively little competition in Europe as a subscription service, in the United States a number of similar companies have gotten a head start, including Rhapsody, Rdio and MOG. Like those services, Spotify allows its premium users to save a certain number of tracks to their phones for offline use, in the subway or on the plane. And new cloud services from Apple, Google and Amazon promise to make people's music collections available anywhere they go.
Whether the company makes a profit is another question. It lost $26.5 million in 2009, but it has not reported on its financial performance for last year.
Spotify's speed offers the company one significant advantage over its American competitors. (It achieves that speed partly through using a peer-to-peer network, which lets a song play almost instantaneously.) But its crucial selling point has been its free access, which the company believes can lure in new users, who then get attached to its playlisting and social networking features and will be enticed to join.
That reliance on free access, however, has also worried American record labels and some analysts, who fear that it could cannibalize sales from other sources, like iTunes.
"What Spotify seems to be doing is solidifying a perception that music should be free," said Mark Mulligan, an independent media analyst in Britain. "It's one thing to download from BitTorrent and keep looking over your virtual shoulder to make sure no one sends you a cease-and-desist letter. It's another to be streaming music freely from a service that you know even the labels are advocating."
Those concerns held up Spotify's negotiations with the labels, and in April the company made concessions to the labels' concerns by placing restrictions on the amount of time its free European users could spend on the service. For the first six months, a free user is now limited to 20 hours of listening a month; after six months, the limit becomes 10 hours, and no song can be listened to more than five times in a month. American users will be subject to the same limitations.
European users complained loudly when those restrictions were introduced, but Kenneth Parks, Spotify's managing director for North America, who led most of the label negotiations, defended the changes.
"It's still an amazing experience that's free for the rest of your life," Mr. Parks said. "It has not diminished the magic of what Spotify is about, and millions and millions across Europe, and soon the US, will validate that."
Spotify argues that by offering virtually all available music free, and sharing advertising revenue with record companies (the major labels own about 18 percent of the company), it removes the appeal of piracy, and consumers who had been lost to the industry can be lured back.
For Mr. Ek, Spotify's success is directly attributable to its ease of use as an alternative to illegal downloading, which in his native Sweden had almost completely overtaken the market when he and a partner, Martin Lorentzon, founded the company.
"At the time you could only buy DRM music tracks for 99 cents," he said in his slight Swedish accent, referring to digital rights management, the system of restrictions used by iTunes and other digital retailers.
"At the same time, I could steal a file which cost zero, had no restrictions whatsoever and had better sound quality," he said. "The illegal, pirated product was actually better than the one you purchased. So our view is, 'How do we create a better product than piracy?' "
Another concern for labels has been the size of Spotify's royalty payments, which are computed in fractions of a cent per stream, an order of magnitude less than the royalties associated with downloads and CD sales. (Download royalties vary, but in general record labels and artists collect about 70 percent of the retail cost of a download, which is typically $1.)
That means that song has to be streamed many times for it to make as much money as a download, but labels say that as Spotify has grown, those streams have started to add up.
Last year, Spotify paid about $60 million in royalties; that made it the second-largest source of digital revenue for European record labels, after iTunes, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.
"Spotify are currently one of our top digital partners globally by revenue, and that is with them only being open in seven European territories," said Simon Wheeler, the director of digital for the Beggars Group, an independent label group whose artists include Adele and Vampire Weekend. "I expect them to be second or third place this year for us."
Many analysts and music executives say they believe that Spotify's greatest advantage in the United States is Facebook. The service is already closely integrated with Facebook, so that users can easily share songs with friends and play with features like drag-and-drop playlists.
Spotify is also one of several digital music services that has been in talks with Facebook to help it develop an extensive media platform that could instantly raise its profile here.
Spotify declined to comment on those talks. But Mr. Ek said he was not concerned about the company's ability to build up to a large scale in the United States.
"We want to make it simple for people," he said. "If you want to take your music with you, you shouldn't have to worry about 15 different sync programs or anything else. It ought to be as simple as pressing play and it works. And ultimately when you get to that point, that's when people are prepared to pay. People are prepared to pay for convenience."
Citrix Systems Purchases Cloud.com for Over $200 Million
Excerpted from Digital Media Wire Report by Lindsey Compton
Citrix Systems, a provider of server and desktop virtualization, is purchasing open source cloud computing company Cloud.com
Cloud.com, which was funded by Redpoint Ventures, Nexus Capital, and Index ventures, is being purchased for between $200 million and $250 million, TechCrunch wrote.
The purchase comes just two years after the start-up received $20 million in investment. Cloud.com offers companies their own private structure, similar to Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), meeting the needs of its customers like Tata, Zynga, and other undisclosed companies with huge infrastructure demands.
"As the industry moves into the Cloud Era, Citrix is committed to leading the charge with powerful solutions that make the cloud more open, more secure, and more personal," said Mark Templeton, President and CEO, Citrix Systems.
"We are delighted to welcome the Cloud.com team to the Citrix family to focus our combined efforts on helping customers of all sizes make a difference in business, and in the lives of their customers and employees."
Unified Communications to Push Mobile Cloud Sales to $39 Billion in 5 Years
Excerpted from Computer Weekly Report by Jenny Williams
Mobile cloud services sales are expected to reach $39 billion by 2016 as businesses increase spending on cloud-based unified communications, according to Juniper Research.
The Juniper report, titled Mobile Cloud: Smart Device Strategies for Enterprise & Consumer Markets 2011-2016, shows spending on unified communication services - such as messaging, managed e-mail, collaboration, conferencing, and IP telephony - will increase over the next five years.
Windsor Holden, principal analyst at Juniper Research, said enterprise spending on cloud-based unified communications reflects smartphone and tablet device adoption in businesses to provide employees with mobile access to corporate networks and synchronized documents.
Juniper said enterprises are still concerned about data security to secure access and storage of data. Holden added that enterprises must consider data outages and broadband connectivity issues surrounding the use of mobile cloud services.
"Data outages have the potential to impact severely on cloud-based services unless data redundancy is improved," he said.
Data outages are more crucial if businesses depend on cellular broadband networks, said Holden, adding that improvements are still needed concerning data redundancy measures offered by mobile network operators.
He also advised companies to categorize data being put into the cloud as part of its risk assessment as well as considering the physical location of servers storing data.
"Businesses don't need all data to be shipped to the cloud or every employee being able to access it," said Holden.
CloudFlare Raises $20 Million in Second Round
CloudFlare, the web performance and security company, announced today that it has raised $20 million in funding led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Existing investors, Venrock and Pelion Venture Partners, also participated in the Series B funding round. The company will use the financing to continue to build its world-class team and expand its infrastructure to fulfill CloudFlare's goal of making the Internet faster and safer for everyone.
"CloudFlare is in a unique position to transform the online experience for users around the world with the rapid and widespread adoption of its platform," said Scott Sandell, General Partner with NEA who joined CloudFlare's Board of Directors. "They have built what is effectively an Operating System for the Internet, and they are already demonstrating that their technology can have a meaningful positive impact every day on hundreds of millions of people using the web."
CloudFlare's growth has been nothing short of staggering since its public launch in September 2010. Today, the service powers 7 billion page views per month, an increase of 280 percent in just the last 60 days. More than 10 percent of the Internet's users worldwide passed through CloudFlare's network in the last month. CloudFlare has stopped 2.1 billion attacks against its users' websites, while legitimate visitors to those sites have collectively saved 2,000 years worth of time they would have otherwise spent waiting for pages to load.
"CloudFlare now has the team, technology, investors and resources to realize our vision of powering a faster, safer Internet," said Matthew Prince, CEO and co-founder of CloudFlare.
With 12 data centers worldwide, CloudFlare has built an intelligent, global network that automatically optimizes the delivery of web pages so visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance. CloudFlare also stops threats and limits abusive bots and crawlers from wasting bandwidth and server resources. CloudFlare's proprietary technology automatically detects and shares information about attacks across the community. This means that as the community of users grows, the network gets smarter and the level of protection and performance provided rises.
Piston Cloud Computing Raises $4.5 Million for Open Source Cloud
Piston Cloud Computing, a software company developing commercialized OpenStack software for businesses, has raised $4.5 million in funding. The round was led by Hummer Winblad and True Ventures, with Divergent Ventures and others participating. Lars Leckie from Hummer Winblad, and Puneet Agarwal from True Ventures will join Piston's board of directors.
"There has been tremendous interest from large enterprises to deploy OpenStack and opportunity for companies like Piston to deliver secure, private cloud solutions based on the open source cloud operating system."
Launched by NASA and Rackspace in 2010, OpenStack is the fastest-growing open-source project in the world, with over 1,100 contributors and 82 participating companies, including Rackspace, NASA, Citrix, Intel, Cisco, Arista Networks and Dell.
"OpenStack has seen unprecedented market traction in the last year. There is a growing demand for a cost-effective, standards-based cloud solution suitable for enterprise and we think Piston's team is best suited to deliver it," said Lars Leckie, of Hummer Winblad. "We are really excited about the technology they are building."
Piston's co-founders came from the technical teams at NASA and Rackspace (NYSE:RAX), and helped to create the OpenStack project in 2010. Piston's CEO, Joshua McKenty, was the Cloud Architect of NASA's Nebula Cloud infrastructure, the precursor of OpenStack's cloud computing component, and holds an appointed seat on OpenStack's Policy Board. Piston's CTO, Christopher MacGown, was a Technical Lead at SliceHost, acquired by Rackspace in 2008. In addition, the team has recruited some of the best talent from the OpenStack community, including core contributors from NASA and other participating organizations.
"This is great news for OpenStack. We're excited to see investment in the community and a healthy ecosystem of both established and emerging companies engaged in the project," said Jim Curry, GM, Rackspace Cloud Builders. "There has been tremendous interest from large enterprises to deploy OpenStack and opportunity for companies like Piston to deliver secure, private cloud solutions based on the open source cloud operating system."
Piston Cloud technology is currently in limited beta, with a public release expected in Q4 2011. Companies interested in being part of Piston's early access program should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Cloud Computing Can Do for Start-Up America
Excerpted from Cloud Computing Best Practices Report by Neil McEvoy
With President Obama recently having to report dismal job creation stats, it's clear just how important it is that programs like Start-Up America are supported to succeed.
So our key question is what role can Cloud Computing play in supporting the initiative?
The author of a Canadian newspaper Globe & Mail article entitled Look Ma, No IT Department very nicely captured the first essential point about cloud computing: the ability to lower the cost of entry for entrepreneurs.
A suitable technology platform would enable any bright spark with the right idea to become the next Facebook, generating billions of dollars in new value, and where this might have cost $500k to build only ten or fifteen years ago, now you can do it for $50k.
$50k is still a lot of money but it brings the cost base within reach of family and friend financing, the most common form of seed funding, whereas $500k requires Venture Capital investors who are a lot less willing to support new entrepreneurs at this stage.
Of course these numbers aren't precise but they do reflect the important point, the trending direction of how much it costs to launch new e-businesses like this. Cloud computing has indeed driven this downward direction, making entrepreneurship more accessible.
The second point is to focus specifically on what the technology can do for governments and other bodies concerned with supporting entrepreneurs in creating these new ventures.
Governments administer the various processes, like obtaining permits and licenses to run businesses that are some of the many thousands of business workflows they implement to deliver services. How efficiently they do so is a key factor in the equation of enabling more successful start-ups, as they are notoriously bureaucratic.
Not only can they use cloud technologies to streamline these worklows but more importantly they can implement new models for doing so.
A simple example is the Reducing Barriers site of the initiative itself, where they're using a "crowdsourcing" tool to solicit feedback from potential entrepreneurs on how they could streamline the process.
It's exactly the right idea but it does need a lot more. It's very easy for these sites to have all the ideas pumped in, but that alone isn't enough. How you act on the ideas is the big question and this requires a broader technology strategy.
The key point is that the site is a centralized, one-off project. It's quite separate from the main process machinery of government, when really what needs to happen is that this innovative approach and use of technology be applied holistically across all the relevant workflows and departments.
For example, Kloudtrack provides such software that is operated via the cloud, which has been tailored for this scenario and called 'Deal Flow'. The result is an application set that the Start-Up America partnership initiative would consider a 'Start-Up Platform'.
This achieves a quick, low overhead workflow for supporting a collaborative model for taking ideas from their initial concept right through the more complex stages like creating a business plan. By using a Cloud 2.0 approach it makes it easy for multiple stakeholders to be involved in this process, for example a business plan can be more easily routed around government agency departments who have relevant funding programs.
This double-whammy shows just how powerful the cloud trend is and how important it is to revitalizing our economy. It empowers more entrepreneurs and importantly it empowers governments to support them, Cloud 2.0 Applications enable high performance processes like Deal Flow.
Cloud Computing an Indispensable Part of Our Daily Life
Excerpted from Bikya Masr Report by Kapil Suvarna
If any of your office suites ditch you or find it expensive to buy, what do you do? Head to Google Docs. You start making your docs, ppts, and excel sheets - just with a computer and Internet connectivity, anytime and anywhere. Free.
This is cloud computing in today's technical parlance. A technology that offers to carry out your daily work, business, using "online software" with any computer via the Internet from any part of the world. There is no need to install any software on computers.
Cloud computing is a net of various services used just like Internet services but the mode of application and implementation is different from normal Internet services. Any online software, for example Google docs, Flickr, and others have a back-end network of services divided into various small independent functions which are installed on various different computers and network. The joining of these services virtually, gives us final product to work on, hence it's called "cloud computing."
The application is literally floating in the network, which needs no installation on your computer. Everything works remotely. To work on these types of applications, only three things are required - any computer, Internet access, and log-in details.
The actual seed of this technology was planted in late 2004, which gave people a new wave of innovation - unnamed and unknown. One could use "online applications" for their daily use without the need to install the applications on computers with a Internet connection. The ability to write/share, upload data to store or share in the form of pictures/videos, communication tools and business tools:
The prime examples which started the wave are some applications are still consistent or taken over by other companies to add in more features.
1) Due to technologies like Jotlive, Ajaxwrite,Think Office and Writely, which is now Google Docs, it's easier to make docs, ppts, and excel sheets online anytime, anywhere.
2) Google Calendar, which has made schedulers and diaries obsolete, but if there was no www.rememberthemilk.com and www.meetwithapproval.com this idea would have never seen the light of the day.
3) For uploading and sharing photos and to network Flickr, Facebook, www.textamerica.com started the fire. Text America fizzled out, while Flickr and Facebook are getting stronger as technologies open new doors. This enabled people without any knowledge of photo editing to edit pictures on Internet without any complexities incorporated in photo-sharing websites.
4) Today, YouTube has revolutionized the way video is seen and shared on Internet after "video egg" downed its shutters.
5) People depend on "DropBox" to store and send files, but www.yousendit.com and www.dropsend.com are still in the race.
Vision is the same; but ways to apply and use it are different. As the above tools got people interested, this technology started giving birth to a whole new era of advanced "cloud computing."
As the technology bettered with more tools emerging in market - possibilities increased by faster Internet speeds, more awareness, know-how of deploying these tools on cloud increased, more companies took initiatives in shifting their applications virtually and started using them for accounting, collaboration, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, invoicing, human resource management, and content management thus making this technology indispensable to humans.
8 out of 10 people would sweat at the thought of using an online copy of their basic favorite word processing software. Having said this, any person or any business has to be a little receptive in adapting to the "to the cloud," obviously depending on the needs and demand/supply sector.
Since installing and managing heavy applications eat-up computer resources as well as company resources, cloud computing could be an option worth considering which opens up a world of opportunities. Managing your daily work or business with any computer, Internet access and log-in details could be a way to float in the clouds with cloud computing.
Coming Events of Interest
TransmitCHINA Talks - September 14th-16th at the Great Wall of China. International leaders, thinkers, innovators, and creators will have an exclusive opportunity to hear a cross-section of preeminent thought leaders from some of the world's most innovative organizations in the digital and creative content ecosystem.
NY Games Conference - September 21st-22nd in New York, NY. The most influential decision-makers in the digital media industry gather at this event, now in its third year, to network, do deals, and share ideas about the future of games and connected entertainment. Lively debate on timely cutting-edge business topics.
Digital Music Forum West - October 5th-6th in Los Angeles. CA. Top music, technology, and policy leaders come together for high-level discussions and debate, intimate meetings, and unrivaled networking about the future of digital music. Digital Music Forum is known worldwide.
Digital Hollywood Fall - October 17th-20th in Marina del Rey, CA. Digital Hollywood (DH), the premier entertainment and technology conference in the country, once again welcomes the Variety Summit, which has been co-located with its past three DH events.
Future of Film Summit - November 7th-8th in Los Angeles, CA. An exclusive group of industry thought-leaders discuss the current state of the industry, and how film and transmedia deals will be struck in the coming years. This is a unique opportunity for creatives, producers, buyers, and film financiers.
Streaming Media West - November 8th-9th in Los Angeles, CA. Attended by more than 2,500 executives last year, SMW covers the entire online video ecosystem from content creation and management, to monetization and distribution. The number-one place to come see, learn, and discuss what is taking place with all forms of online video business models and technology.
World Telecom Summit 2011 - November 9th-11th in Singapore. The 2011 program will focus on topics that demonstrate innovation across the telecommunications industry, both on a commercial and technical level, to improve profitability and quality of next generation technologies and customer experiences.
Future of Television - November 17th-18th in New York, NY. Top television and digital media industry executives discuss the increasing importance digital media for the future of the television industry. Topics include viewer trends; programming for non-traditional platforms including online video, VOD, HD, IPTV, broadband and mobile.