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Hot Emerging Trends - Tablets + Cloud

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Category: My Life
Published Date Written by Jason Loo

This article highlights part 2 of my new bi-weekly series of articles on IT, business and technical view points. The contents are based on my observations and findings after working in the IT industry in Malaysia for the past 12 years.

#4 - Tablets

Tablet multimedia devices (notice i don't call it mobile PC) are becoming a norm and a rage nowadays. The first time i noticed this was on my trip to Singapore for a presentation. In the MRT, kids were using the Ipad 2 to watch animes, adults were listening to songs and browsing the Net and some were even working (presumably from their engrossed looks). In Malaysia, some of the corporate people have even started to ditch their laptops in the office and bring tablets on their business runs.

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This shows how far and wide tablets have come. Of course, this brings into view early efforts by Microsoft to introduce tablet computing to the world before the advent of the iPad. Somehow, Apple is always able to ignite the masses. The issue with Microsoft lies with its innovation and creativity which seems to stay within the boundaries of the computing world. For any company to succeed in redefining the market (as Apple had continuously done with iPod, iPhone and iPad), they must have the tenacity to see and complete the end to end picture. I remembered everyone wondered if the iPhone would succeed where many others have failed to do (essentially, to redefine the phone market).

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With the iPhone, not only has it managed to do so but it has also caused a revolution in the usage of data in the mobile world. Telcos everywhere are finding it harder and harder to satiate the appetitite of the masses on online activities such as Facebook, Google and the extremely hogging YouTube videos. Networks are being touted by telcos to be upgraded to 4G (or LTE) to enable faster and more cost-effective way of supporting the data usage. All this requires money to fund the infrastructure upgrade and this will definitely hit the bottomlines of every telco in the industry, even here in Malaysia.

Tablets now also have two major mobile Operating Systems to choose from, namely iOS (iPad2 and iPad2) as well as the more widely-adopted-than-Windows, Google's Android. Admittedly, I have seen a rush of devices running on Android. From market research reports, the fact that Android is the highest adopted OS in any mobile device is a sure fact. From phones to tablets, Android can be seen everywhere . .again more successful than the slow and less innovative competitors.

One point to note is the different sizes available for tablets nowadays. There is the 7" Samsung Galaxy Tab, 10.1" iPad2 and Motorola Xoom. My personal preference would be the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9". It depends on the preference of the owner of course. For me, my primary usage is browsing online, reading books and comics, watching videos and listening to podcasts.

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#5 - Cloud
Everyone is hyping about the 'cloud' nowadays. What is the 'cloud' refer to nowadays ? Cloud derives from cloud computing, loosely meaning a set of computers grouped together to perform certain functions or to be used as a platform to be rented out to customers. Amazon pioneered the idea of going all out to rent out virtual servers cheaply to customers. Its idea to provide a infrastructure as a service (or platform) enabled it to appeal to customers looking for cost-effective means of maintaining the existing IT capabilities while not losing the competitive edge.

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I have seen a lot of companies now including training providers in Malaysia which has started to rent this virtual servers for sandbox and student hands-on training purposes. In the old days, when training centre were playing catch-up on technology and thus have to upgrade their computers constantly. Now, i believe it has reduced burden on the costs. The same goes for in-house training conducted by some of the major consulting companies in which consultants have to be continuously upgraded in terms of knowledge, technical and functionally.

One of the most significant additions to the 'Cloud', would be the introduction of video conferencing on the cloud concept. I call it VOC now and essentially what it provides is the ability for any organization that needs to have face to face conferences with associates, management or even colleagues to actually have cost-effective means to hold such a conference. The number of participants could be few or large, depending on the needs.

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You can ask, what's the hype on this .. since some or all of the online messengers have this kind of capability. However, do remember that the infrastructure that is used to host these messengers are meant just for that purpose, messaging and not entirely catered for video conferencing at all. There was a friend who actually ventured out to work on his idea of having an online karaoke. i believe the concept was good and i know with coming technologies, it's gonna be a great service to offer to people online.
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What's next...
Well, there seems to be a use for tablets and growing use of cloud technologies recently, so why not combine both of them. Imagine a tablet that can run on multiple platforms, just need to load the particular OS from the cloud and voila! you can play games, run apps, or even perform programming in a tablet. Furthermore, in the office this tablets will be dockable just like traditional laptops. Maybe one day too, this tablets can plug into the office table and the employee just works away :)

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This tablets can then interact with 'connected' appliances e.g. cctv security systems, fridge, heater, window blinds, temperature and humidity. I imagine also a day when cars will come with docks for tablets that have GPS positioning systems as well as voice commands to interface with phones, mobile analytics as well as entertainment systems.

That's the future ... stay tuned for more hot tech trends from yours trulye . .hope this article has entertained you as much as I enjoyed writing it :)


Hot Emerging Trends - Development + Mobility + Social Media

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Category: My Life
Published Date Written by Jason Loo

This article highlights the start of my new bi-weekly series of articles on IT, business and technical view points. The contents are based on my observations and findings after working in the IT industry in Malaysia for the past 12 years.

#1 - Programming languages and tools

Technology has changed profoundly over the last decade or so. From C++, RPG and BASIC programming to Java, PHP and .Net ... there has never been a lull in the various programming languages available.

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Programming fundamentals have changed over the years, with more focus recently on parallel and multi-core programming as well as mobile development. This is due to the introduction of newer, more advanced chips and also the adoption of mobile devices as the next big wave of technology. Already, people are gushing over new mobile gadgets such as the Iphone, Ipad 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Motorola Xoom.

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With the ever strenghtening iPhone and iPads, it has become imperative that development companies have to cater to multiple platforms from Microsoft to Apple to Google. Later in another article, I will touch on what are these emerging platforms and its impact to the entire software + app development.

#2 - Mobility

As highlighted above, devices that are mobile especially smartphone usage has increased dramatically over the years. There is even news that telco profit margin might be squeezed further since the the demand for such devices is high, which means device prices could be increased further thus increasing the subsidies telco have to pay.

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Tablets also have a big potential to explode exponentially due to the entertainment appeal it has. In Singapore last year, I observed a lot of people holding iPad 2 in the MRT and watching videos, listening to music etc. It is becoming a fact of life now that people crave mobility. This could be seen from the success of Blackberry in the US. From a simple phone with a QWERTY keypad, it has helped a lot of business people to respond to emails or SMSes rapidly.

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However, technology is catching up and new OSes such as Android, Samsung and iOS is begining to show similar functionalities with their keypads e.g. Swype inputs. Processor speed have also increased tremendously (800Mhz to 1.2 Ghz), graphics have also improved (SoC, Tegra) and device screens have also enlarged further (10.1" tablets and 4.3" phones). With such powerful components in mobile devices, even Business Intelligence has been touted as a feature to be supported in mobile devices.
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#3 - Social Media

The social hype has been going on for ages now with the advent of Facebook and more recently, the announcement of Google+ for beta testers. The term social media, as its name implies .. refers to the concept of using socializing features to act as a media of communication. The type of communication could be in the form of information or advertisements.
What's more important here, as social media has evolved over the years, is that it's becoming an important tool for people to keep in contact with friends and family as well as for businesses to engage potential customers. There has even been a preview of smartphones from HTC that features a single Facebook button on the phone that connects directly to FB and utilizes its features.

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However, the impact of social media is still confined within the internet-savvy commmunity although there has been some growth in the usage of social media in traditional advertising. Riding along the wave of social media is the emerging social business hype. This basically surfaces the infinite marketing opportunities for a business in the Internet world.

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If you are selling to the next generation, consider social media as your business networking with customers. Here are a few tips from TopRankBlog :

a) Social media are the tools to help you connect and engage
b) Social media is an earned privilege. It’s not a right, but a rite of passage. We have to compete for that Like or Follow every single day
c) It’s not just about engagement, it’s about being engaging
d) There are three types of customers on the social web: Traditional Consumer, Online Consumer, Social Customer

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