Wednesday, November 30, 2005

IP TV drives major build out in Canada

SaskTel uses CRS-1 to roll out IP TV. A CRS-1 is no small investment, so it is interesting to see that IP TV being a key driver for this sort of advanced SP network upgrade.

Huawei reaches foreign sales milestone

This is an impressive story by any standard. But what I would sorely love to know is what were their expenses and what were their profits.

But Huawei is privately held... so we don't know. / By industry / Telecoms - Huawei reaches foreign sales milestone

(PS: Yes, I work for Cisco... )

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Wired Magazine: Barometer of Industry Health?

Mark Evans counts the number of ad pages in Wired and wonders if the tech industry is really coming back.

IP dynamics in Italy?

IPTV making in-roads in Europe, especially in Italy. Smaller Italian SP
FastWeb has been providing VoD and other TV services for a while. Are we seeing more competition in Italy?

A nation of (online) shopkeepers

Interesting study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which highlights the rise in on-line selling by individuals. Essentially, the Internet is showing signs of become a giant on-line yard sale.

This is something we obviously talk a lot about here at Cisco, how the Internet is powering so many changes in society. For the most part, we don't see it because the Internet is already such an ingrained part of our lives, we now take it for granted.

The study also highlights how broadband users tend to buy and sell more stuff online. Well sure, that makes sense as it is faster and easier to do so with a high-speed connection.

Need to see what is going on in China

Regardless if we are talking about oil slicks, SARs/avian flu outbreaks... or even well known telecom companies, if there is one issue that could potentially hamper China's ultimate rise to superpower status, its transparency

Monday, November 28, 2005

China to launch commercial satellite for Nigeria

Interesting to track China's continued business development in various emerging markets, especially in Africa. This is a trend that is also being witnessed in the IT market.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Can the world keep up with Bill Gates?

He is battling malaria, a pressing but neglected global healthcare crisis, and his company has just made a major assault into the home entertainment market. Has Bill Gates just solidified his position as the most relevant person in the world?

Blogging for Fame and Fortune

Nice look at the $$$ behind blogging by Mark Evans.

Northern Telecom..and Tech :: Blogging for Fame and Fortune

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What do you call a group of PR people?

Groupings of animals come with great names and it is sometimes fun to discuss them. We all know that fish come in “schools” and seagulls in “flocks” (especially if you are a fan of 80s music!)

Some of the more notable groups are:
A murder of crows
A mischief of mice
A convocation of eagles
A pride of lions

But what do you call it when a group of PR people gather (as we are oft to do?) Here is my contribution to the on-going development of the English language. A collection of PR people? A schmuck.

Used in a sentence: "Oh look, chasing that journalist is a schmuck of PR people!"

News @ Cisco: Palestinian and Israeli Students Come Together for IT Learning in Cisco Peace Academies Initiative

Can technology play a role in building peace?

Interesting to note that increased economic activity (which can certainly be facilitated by IT) is but one suggestion for on-going building stability in troubled areas.

Economist starts at home

In its "Business This Week" section, the Economist leads on the home front by covering Microsoft's and Cisco's moves into home entertainment. Sony's foray into spyware distribution is also highlighted.

The home is hot right now and companies are racing to find new ways to entertain couch potatoes.

(Just saw the fantastic movie "Good Night and Good Luck.” I'm glad Edward R. Murrow never lived to see the day when the hot new industry is building entertainment technologies that arguably help to create in society "a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information...used to distract, delude, amuse, and isolate us"..his gloomy foreshadowing of the decline of television news and intelligent discourse in general)

Business this week |

Tackling Indonesia's Challenges

With all the excitement around BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China), I think one country that has gotten lost in the shuffle in Indonesia. Although if you read this Q&A the Indonesian Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Aburizal Bakrie hardly makes a strong case for his country.

Tackling Indonesia's Challenges

Cell Phones For The People

Yes, China and India are huge markets, but there are many other markets around the world with a huge potential upside for the IT industry, the trick is knowing how to benefit from these markets.

As best as I can tell, handset makers like Nokia and Motorola have done very well by not shying from highly price-sensitive markets and tailoring products for them.

It’s a gutsy move that can only bring good things. It puts powerful tools of modern technology into the hands of the people who most need them. If you poke around, you can find dozens of stories of people in very poor parts of the world using a cell phone to make their lives better. It isn't just hype, it is the promise of a better world through IT becoming a reality.

Nokia and Motorola have proven that with a little imagination, doing good and doing good business are possible in very early-stage emerging markets (I would call China and India late-stage emerging markets.)

I think there are companies who are hesitant to develop special products for early-stage emerging markets. I hope they follow the example of Nokia and Motorola.

Cell Phones For The People

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wired 13.12: Why Gas Is Good for America

$5 gas??? Are you crazy??? That's it??? I'd love to see it higher!!! C'mon people, let's get some $10 gas going and really see some cool stuff get invented.

OK, DRM is moribund technology and Sony's proved it, but let's get some Silicon Valley innovation happening in terms of overall energy use. I just don't mean in cars (although the winners and losers there are pretty clear.... GM anyone?)

But IT should step up to. Love to see PC and PDAs that run on a fraction of the energy they use now. Same for routers and network gear. May seem like small potatoes compared to what cars and factories burn.... but remember, a watt saved is a watt earned.

Wired 13.12: Why Gas Is Good for America

Boing Boing: MPAA/BitTorrent post-mortem: a torrent or a trickle?

This isn't what I had in mind.....

Boing Boing: MPAA/BitTorrent post-mortem: a torrent or a trickle?

Sony Plays The Blues As Bloggers Turn Up The Volume

If I'm going to look for a silver lining in this whole fiasco, I'd say that hopefully this acts as a catalyst to get some real thinking behind how to best distrbute digital content, music, movies, books... whatever.

Hopefully the dark days of suing start-ups and tricky technologies are behind us and we can concentrate on new business models that legally puts digital content into the hands of the comsumers in a reasonable way, and at a fair price.

InformationWeek > Sony XCP > Sony Plays The Blues As Bloggers Turn Up The Volume > November 21, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Building Brands In China

The argument here is that Chinese companies are starting to build up their own brands. Yes, that is true that they are behind the US and Europe in terms of building brands, but Chinese companies have been extraordinarily adept at recognizing the value in a brand... whether it is building up a home-grown brand or searching abroad and trying to buy up a known brand.

I think what is more interesting is the use by Western companies of a broad, vaguely defined "Asian" vernacular when trying to communicate their brand (yes, I know Asia is a series of very very diverse people and cultures, I'm talking about an "Asian" vernacular in a very general, ill-defined sense.)

What do I mean? How many times have you seen martial arts, manga, Hindu gods, Asian-looking characters (or even English words written is some form of Asia-looking characters) used to express some sort of cutting-edge or even "exotic" characteristic of the product or service in question.

I think this will only increase as Asian companies become more and more prevalent in the Western market. But what will change is our relationship with this vernacular. I think it will no longer appear "exotic", but become more and more familiar to us to the point that we won't recognize them as being Asian in origin.

Building Brands In China

Here are some further thoughts on brands from Asia and emerging markets.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cisco Systems and ZTE Corporation to Collaborate in Asia-Pac

There is a popular misconception that Cisco has somehow been "run out" of China by the likes of Huawei. Total rubbish. China is a tough market, no doubt about it, and there is not one single straight-forward way to succeed there. That is why it takes several routes to market in order to really make your mark there, especially for a foreign company.

The cooperative agreement with ZTE highlights that Cisco knows it needs to take several routes to get to the right destination in China. ZTE has the local knowledge, Cisco has the gear... great combo.

Cisco is also making good use of its cash in China. $250M have been invested in start-ups there as Cisco attempts to create, and learn from, a whole constellation of new innovative Chinese companies.

News @ Cisco: Cisco Systems and ZTE Corporation to Collaborate in Asia-Pac

Silicon Valley and Intelligent Design

Most of the design that goes on in Silicon Valley is intelligent, but Intelligent Design is not. I'm not going to get into the faith or the politics behind ID, it is really not of much interest to me. What is important, however, is the quality of education in the Valley and in the US in general.

Many SV CEOs have made a passionate plea for the improvement of public education in this country, if the US is to remain competitive on a global scale. Silicon Valley is based on innovation and the relentless pursuit of the next big idea. At its foundation, the basis of that pursuit is math and science education.

By introducing a philosophic/religious theory as "science", we are chipping away at that foundation. Turning an intellectual pursuit such as science into a non-intellectual issue of faith will re-align our entire relationship with science, which could have far reaching negative implications for the health of innovation in Silicon Valley and in the US in general.

Countries around the world are focused on improving the capacity for innovation among their societies, and that is a very very good thing. It will spur global innovation and increase an idea's time to market. What will be bad is if the US abandons the pursuit of real science and drops out of the innovation race.

Silicon Valley Watcher--Former FT reporter Tom Foremski and team reporting on the business of Silicon Valley at the intersection of media and technology

Israel's technology industry

Interesting story on Israel in the Economist. This particularly caught my eye:

The small size of Israel's home market is also, paradoxically, an advantage. While a British start-up, say, will look to its home market to get started, Israeli firms cannot. Accordingly, they look to America for customers, so that Israeli start-ups function as “mini-multinationals” from the off—and are instantly exposed to the world's most competitive high-tech market.

Although India is obviously a much larger market, I've heard a similar explanation describe the success of the IT market there as well. India tends to look outside of its borders in many respects and IT is no different. When it came time to develop an IT industry, entrepreneurs at the time knew they had to be international-facing from day 1.

Israel's technology industry | Punching above its weight |

Monday, November 21, 2005

Green IT

I saw an ad for Ford the other day and they were talking about how innovative they will become and how fuel efficient they will make their cars. Well, innovation and fuel efficiency comes to Ford... Better late than never.

So for one reason or another, being green or talking green is starting to make good business sense. How long will this last? Probably not much longer than a couple of icebergs in a rapidly warming ocean, but let's enjoy the green-talk while it lasts.

My question here is that, it seems to me that the IT industry has generally been pretty good about being green. Sure, a lot a hazardous chemicals are used in the development of products, but there seems a concerted effort on the part of the industry as a whole to use and dispose of these chemicals responsibly.

I've heard rumors of motherboards being broken down under hazardous conditions in Africa, but haven't found a lot to back that up.

Green... Another example of IT industry being a head of the curve?